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Expert Rev Neurother. 2011 Aug;11(8):1165-74. doi: 10.1586/ern.11.93.

Trichotillomania and its treatment: a review and recommendations.

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Child and Adolescent OCD, Tics, Trichotillomania and Anxiety Group, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3535 Market Street, Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Trichotillomania (TTM) is characterized as an impulse control disorder in which individuals fail to resist urges to pull out their own hair, and is associated with significant functional impairment and psychiatric comorbidity across the developmental spectrum. Onset in childhood or adolescence appears to be the norm, yet the research literature involving pediatric samples is particularly sparse. Efficacious treatments have been developed, in particular cognitive-behavioral interventions involving procedures collectively known as habit reversal training, yet relapse in adults appears to be common. Recent developments in pharmacotherapies for TTM and in combining cognitive-behavioral therapy approaches with medication hold promise, and efforts to examine their relative and combined efficacy are needed. Dissemination of information about TTM and its treatment is a critical next step in the field, since many affected individuals and families cannot find local treatment providers with sufficient knowledge to deliver interventions known to reduce hair pulling behavior.

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