Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder that results in hair loss. People suffering from trichotillomania compulsively pull hair out from their scalp, face, pubic region, nose, eye brows, eyelashes, and hair on any other part of the body. Excessive hair pulling can result in bald patches and sometimes may even lead to bleeding. Some of the associated symptoms of trichotillomania are distress, functional impairment, and social impairment.
This disorder is sometimes ignored by considering it an addiction, a habit, or part of obsessive compulsive disorder.
The traditional treatment for trichotillomania includes psychotherapy, habit reversal therapy, hypnosis (in some cases), counseling, and anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications.
Here are some of the latest medical breakthroughs in the treatment for trichotillomania:
1) The prestigious "Archives of General Psychiatry" offers breakthrough treatments for this hair-pulling disorder. The treatment employs an over-the-counter antioxidant called a N-acetyl cysteine. This medication is available in pill form. It was administered to fifty patients in a trial that revealed that more than half of the patients showed improvement of symptoms in twelve weeks. The medication is available in most drug stores and vitamin stores.
This antioxidant reduces the release of a neurotransmitter called glutamate that is responsible for the repetitive action of hair pulling. This finding also opened up a new path to investigate the cause of trichotillomania hair-pulling disorder, which includes studying the role of neurotransmitters.
2) The “linden method” may be the cure for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)-related conditions like trichotillomania. This method has a 97% success rate, may cure trichotillomania, and results may be seen within just thirty days. Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has endorsed the linden method of treatment for trichotillomania. This method does not use drugs. The psychologists, counselors, and linden method specialists help treat this hair pulling disorder.
3) The researchers at the Ansary Stem Cell Institute and the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that mice that were lacking a particular gene developed obsessive compulsive disorder. The researchers discovered that the missing gene was Slitrk5, which was linked to blood stem cells and vascular cells. The follow-up studies on mice in which this gene was disabled revealed that the mice exhibited obsessive compulsive disorder similar to some human beings. The study also showed that in these mice, the frontal lobe to striatum circuitry of the brain was altered like the brains observed in humans with OCD.
These studies could suggest a path for the treatment of several types of OCD-related conditions, including trichotillomania.
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