Trichotillomania and Genes
At one end of the scale, hair pulling is a behavioural problem, at the other it’s a natural human stress response. A map of a country looks small and basic, but the same country seen from a pedestrian’s viewpoint, reveals detail, such as gardens and lawns. From an ant’s perspective, blades of grass appear enormous. Looking at a human being, we don’t see a community of cells, we see ONE person, but understanding the complex interaction of the cells, makes it easier to understand why part of us wants to do one thing (pull hair) while the rest wants to grow.
In seven years science progressed from identifying less than 10 genetic markers for medical
conditions, to now naming over 2,000. A genetic root has been found for one type of trichotillomania, but having the gene doesn’t mean that hair pulling is inevitable, only possible. A child who inherits the gene for trichotillomania is only ever-so slightly more likely to develop hairpulling than anyone else. The gene for trichotillomania is switched off, and only gets switched on under certain conditions.
Good lifestyle choices can change the course of genes.
Epigenetics has shown that cells change according to the blood. This is exciting science,
because our THOUGHTS affect the chemistry of our blood. Laughing and being with loved ones, feeling grateful for the gifts in our lives all produce positive hormones. Anxiety produces (as well as being caused by) negative hormones. Anxiety chemicals have such a strong effect that they can actually shut down the growth of cells. So, how we perceive the world controls our blood, which controls the genetics and behaviour of the cells. We can literally change the chemistry of our blood, with our thoughts. Each person who stops hair pulling, one HAIR at a time, helps to heal the trichotillomania community, one person at a time.
If we operate from fear, cells shut down or die; if we operate from loving thoughts and gratitude, healthy cells replicate.
We don’t have to be 100% in control of our own behaviour but we are responsible for and can control the majority of it. We live in a time of massive transformation and there is huge potential to improve our health care and well being within our lifetime. Hair pulling is neither of foregone conclusion nor a necessity even for someone with trichotillomania. The power is in our attitude.