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© Dale Crosby Close for Mosaic


© Dale Crosby Close for Mosaic

A lot of research goes into creating our stories. Here are some of the resources we used to put together our story on compulsive hair pulling.

Whether hair pulling, skin picking or cheek biting, body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) blight many people’s lives. How can science help us understand and treat these distressing conditions better? In this feature for Mosaic, Sara Talpos explores the impacts of BFRBs.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, here’s some further reading. We’ve broken things down into key subtopics, but otherwise these links aren’t listed in any particular order – so feel free to dip in and out.

Exploring BFRBs

This booklet by the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors provides more information on the symptoms, causes and treatment of BFRBs.

This Bustle article is written by someone with lived experience of trichotillomania who wants to tell others what it’s like.

Sensory over-responsivity

This 2018 study found that people with BFRBs had greater sensitivity to sensory stimulation than individuals with subclinical BFRBs and healthy individuals.

Treating BFRBs

This 2017 study found that habit reversal training can be an effective treatment for young people with trichotillomania.

This study, published in 2015, explores the effectiveness of combining different types of treatment for trichotillomania.

This 2017 study found that adults who have trichotillomania and depression or an anxiety disorder exhibited unique differences that may have implications for treatment.

Support and advice

Trichotillomania Support provides information on treatments and self-help advice. It also has an online forum for advice and support from people affected by BFRBs.

The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors provides advice, information and a database of therapists and support groups.

This YouTube channel by a British vlogger called Beckie Jane Brown chronicles her experiences with trichotillomania.

Read more Mosaic stories on trichotillomania and sensory over-responsivity

In ‘Why I pull out my hair’, one person tells us what trichotillomania is like for her.

In ‘Why are so many of us over-sensitive?’, Emma Young explores what it’s like when a gentle glow feels like a spotlight and everyday sounds hurt your ears, and discovers that there may be an upside to being highly sensitive.

In the UK and Republic of Ireland, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.

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