Eyelash Trichotillomania: What You Need to Know

Do you have a constant urge to pull out your eyelashes? Do you feel a sense of relief or pleasure when you do it? If so, you may have a condition called eyelash trichotillomania. In this blog post, we will explain what eyelash trichotillomania is, how it affects your eyes and your mental health, and what you can do to overcome it. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this disorder.

What is eyelash trichotillomania?

Eyelash trichotillomania is a type of hair-pulling disorder, also known as trichotillomania or trich. It is a mental health condition that involves frequent, repeated and irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, including your eyelashes.

Eyelash trichotillomania is part of a group of conditions known as body-focused repetitive behaviors. These are behaviors that involve repeatedly touching, picking, biting or pulling parts of your body, often causing physical damage or emotional distress.

People who pull out their eyelashes may do it intentionally to relieve tension or distress, or automatically without realizing they are doing it. They may also have specific rituals or patterns for pulling out their eyelashes, such as finding the right hair or playing with the pulled-out hair.

Eyelash trichotillomania usually starts in childhood or adolescence and affects more women than men. The exact causes of eyelash trichotillomania are unknown, but they may include genetic, environmental, psychological and biological factors.

How does eyelash trichotillomania affect your eyes?

Eyelashes are not just cosmetic features. They also have important functions for your eye health. They protect your eyes from dust, dirt and other substances, and they help regulate the amount of light that enters your eyes.

Pulling out your eyelashes can cause various problems for your eyes, such as:

  • Eyelid inflammation or infection. Pulling out your eyelashes can damage the skin and hair follicles of your eyelids, making them more prone to inflammation or infection. This can cause redness, swelling, pain, itching or discharge in your eyelids.
  • Dry eyes. Pulling out your eyelashes can reduce the number of tears that lubricate your eyes, leading to dryness, irritation, burning or blurred vision.
  • Corneal abrasion or ulcer. Pulling out your eyelashes can expose your eyes to foreign objects or bacteria, which can scratch or infect your cornea, the clear layer that covers your eye. This can cause severe pain, sensitivity to light, tearing or vision loss.
  • Trichiasis or distichiasis. Pulling out your eyelashes can cause them to grow back abnormally, either inward (trichiasis) or in an extra row (distichiasis). This can cause your eyelashes to rub against your eye, causing discomfort, irritation or damage.

How does eyelash trichotillomania affect your mental health?

Eyelash trichotillomania is not just a cosmetic issue. It can also have a significant impact on your mental health and well-being. Some of the psychological effects of eyelash trichotillomania are:

  • Low self-esteem or confidence. Pulling out your eyelashes can make you feel ashamed, embarrassed or unattractive. You may try to hide your hair loss with makeup, false eyelashes or hats, or avoid social situations where your condition may be noticed.
  • Anxiety or depression. Pulling out your eyelashes can cause you to feel anxious, stressed or depressed. You may worry about your appearance, your health or your ability to control your behavior. You may also feel guilty, hopeless or isolated because of your condition.
  • Impaired functioning. Pulling out your eyelashes can interfere with your daily activities, such as work, school or hobbies. You may spend a lot of time pulling out your hair or trying to stop or hide it. You may also have difficulty concentrating, sleeping or enjoying life because of your condition.

How can you overcome eyelash trichotillomania?

Eyelash trichotillomania is a chronic and complex condition that can be hard to overcome on your own. However, there are some treatment options that may help you reduce or stop your hair pulling, or cope with its consequences. Some of the treatment options are:

  • Medication. Some medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or amino acids, may help reduce the urges, anxiety or depression associated with eyelash trichotillomania. However, these medications may have side effects or interactions, and they may not work for everyone.
  • Therapy. Some forms of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, habit reversal training, acceptance and commitment therapy or dialectical behavior therapy, may help you identify and change the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that trigger or maintain your eyelash trichotillomania. These therapies may also help you develop coping skills, self-esteem and support networks.
  • Self-help. Some self-help strategies, such as keeping a diary, setting goals, rewarding yourself, finding alternative activities, using barriers or reminders, or joining a support group, may help you manage your eyelash trichotillomania. These strategies may also help you increase your awareness, motivation and confidence.

FAQs about eyelash trichotillomania

Here are some common questions and answers about eyelash trichotillomania:

  • Will eyelashes grow back after trichotillomania? Eyelashes usually grow back after trichotillomania, but it may take several weeks or months. However, repeated or severe pulling may damage the hair follicles and prevent the eyelashes from growing back or cause them to grow back abnormally.
  • Why am I obsessed with pulling my eyelashes out? There is no simple answer to why you are obsessed with pulling your eyelashes out. It may be a way of coping with stress, boredom, anger, frustration or other negative emotions. It may also be a way of satisfying a sensory or aesthetic need, or a way of expressing your personality or identity.
  • Is pulling out eyelashes a mental disorder? Pulling out eyelashes is a mental disorder if it causes you significant distress or impairment in your life. It is classified as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a disorder that involves recurrent and unwanted thoughts or behaviors that are difficult to control.
  • Can you fully recover from trichotillomania? There is no cure for trichotillomania, but you can learn to manage it and live a fulfilling life. Recovery from trichotillomania may vary from person to person, and it may involve periods of relapse and remission. Recovery from trichotillomania may depend on several factors, such as the severity, duration and frequency of your hair pulling, the availability and effectiveness of treatment, and your personal goals and expectations.

Conclusion

Eyelash trichotillomania is a serious and challenging condition that affects your eyes and your mental health. However, it is not a hopeless or shameful condition. With proper treatment and support, you can overcome your eyelash trichotillomania and regain your confidence and happiness. If you think you have eyelash trichotillomania, or you know someone who does, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You are not alone, and you deserve to feel better.

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