Trichotillomania is a disorder millions suffer from but most are unaware of

A disorder many people didn’t know had a name is more common than anorexia.


Trichotillomania, compulsive hair plucking, is a disorder that fifteen million Americans suffer from, according to the recent documentary Trichster – which is a startling number, considering many people have never even heard of it.

“Anorexia is between 1 and 3 percent of the population, and trichotillomania is between 2 and 5 percent of the population,” Trichster director Jillian Corsie, told The Huffington Post. “If you think about those numbers, there’s almost twice as many people who have this disorder that nobody knows about.”

The documentary profiles seven individuals who are challenged with the disorder and were willing to share about their experience. Part of the reason we don’t hear about this more, as Corsie explained to The Huffington Post, is that many don’t even know that their behavior has a classification. And these aren’t just the kind of people who appear on MTV’s show “My Strange Addiction.”

“People can go for years before they even realize that what they have is a disorder,” Corsie said. “The reason I made the film is because it is so common. It’s not just the people who MTV shows you. It’s normal people who we’re friends with, who we don’t know have this, or have been struggling with this for 10 years.”

 The Huffington Post reached out to hear from Facebook users who have struggled with either trichotillomania or dermatillomani (picking at the skin). Here are a few responses:

“I always thought that it was just me. I love my hair. I just can’t stop.” — Facebook user Yazmin LoGiudice

“I leave the lights off whenever I go to the bathroom at home. I don’t pick what I can’t see.” — Facebook user Jennifer DiSabatino

“I wish people would stop saying to me ‘Just quit doing it,’ as if it were that simple…” — Facebook user Laura Hanson

“One, that I don’t really WANT to do it. Trust me, I’m afraid I’m going to pull all my hair out one day and go bald. Two, growing my eyebrows out again was a huge success for me! Three, I also tweeze hairs out of my legs.”— Facebook user Lauren Vaught

“I’ve had dermatillomania almost my entire life and it’s terrible. And don’t even ask me me ‘Why can’t you just stop?’… I would if I could.” — Facebook user Kim Dupuis

“Trich is something I’ve suffered with on and off for eight years now. I used to think I was the only one. Now I know I’m not alone. Always keep fighting.” — Facebook user Madison Kay Nelson

See the Trichster trailer below.