Be a Friend to Someone with Trichotillomania

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Does a loved one have trichotillomania, a condition where they pull out their own hair? Do you get tongue-tied when they ask you for help or you see them pulling? Coping with someone who has this disorder can be challenging. Read below to find out how to be a good friend to someone with trichotillomania.


  1. Accept the fact that they have trich and you cannot cure them. This is the most important step. Even though you would love to be able to just wave a magic wand and make them stop pulling, you can't. You can help them, but you cannot make the condition immediately go away.
  2. Consider taking them to see a professional. This could be a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, as trichotillomania is a mental disorder. These people can help your loved one look at their thoughts in a new and helpful way (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Alternatively, your friend can talk with your primary care physician to see if they might benefit from medication or a referral.
  3. Do not use any of the following phrases:
    • Just stop!
    • Put your hand down!
    • That's disgusting!
    • There's more hair on the floor than there is on your head!
    • You're going to be bald.
    • Some people would do anything to have hair and you just pull out yours!
    • No one wants a bald girlfriend/boyfriend.
    • You look like a boy. (to a girl, of course)
    • These will not help, will probably make him or her feel worse, and may alienate you.
  4. Encourage them to keep promises. If the person promises you that they won't pull for a week, but they give in, be stern. They'll probably say something like, "I'm so sorry!" Don't tell them it's okay. It's not. You don't have to say, "It's not okay," but you have to get them to understand that they won't get away with what they did, or else their promises won't work-- ever.
    • If you are able, make a deal with your friend. How long they go without pulling will depend on how far they are in their recovery. If this is the first thing you have tried, you might consider giving them something for even going one or two hours. It may not seem long to you, but it is to them. If they are far along in their recovery, you might give them something for every week or month they are pull-free.
  5. Listen without taking action. If your loved one is having a bad day, don't try to fix it. Don't tell them they'll be okay. You don't have to be the counselor. All you have to do is be respectful and listen. If you're with them in person, give them a hug. You don't have to do anything but be present.
  6. Educate yourself on the disorder. There are so many stigmas attached to mental disorders; we will change that. You can learn more about trichotillomania at


  • Some possible prizes or rewards are:
    • Go out to eat
    • Have a sleepover
    • An extra dessert
    • A new sparkly pen, etc.
    • Game night
    • Movie night
    • Mani or pedi (that you do yourself)
    • For every day you don't pull, I'll do one chore for you.


  • If you are suicidal or need to talk to someone right now, please call the National Suicide Hotline at: 1-800-273-8255
  • If you believe your loved one is at risk for suicide, contact 911 immediately.

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