Tricho­tillo­mania Support Online

Things That Help People Be Pull Free

We asked 19,111 people with trichotillomania:

What usually helps you to stop pulling ?”

Over 20% of people we asked, found that keeping busy helped to reduce their hair pulling. The next most successful was sheer determination, followed by doing something else with your hands. Being around other people was also found useful; with 15% of people we asked stating this as helpful with trich. Moving about, thinking positively, noticing the damage caused and using preventative measures such as false nails, hats and gloves were the next top-scorers.

The 20 most frequent responses were (in order of prevalence) keeping busy (22%), determination (17%), doing something with my hands (16%), being around people (15%), moving about (12%), thinking, noticing the damage caused, hat/glove preventions, family/partner/friend mentioning it, realizing I’m doing it, distraction, negative emotion as a result of pulling, relaxation techniques, doing another activity, taking a bath/shower, being happy, sleep, physical exercise, using the computer/going online, eat/drink/chew something.

Types of Helper

We categorised the results into the following groups, the list of words commonly used in each group is ordered so the most frequently quoted word appears first in each list.

Keep Busy


Busy, activity, occupied, action, project, hobby, productive, task



Stop myself, tell myself, control, force, forcing myself, make myself, determination, deciding, discipline, trying, try, concentrate

Hands Busy


Hands, play, fiddle, holding, putty, fist clenching, ring, ball, toy, clasping, thimble



People, someone, around people, public, company, social, somebody, interruption, anyone, anybody

Move About


Going out, away, walking away, getting up, moving, get up

Think Positive


Thought, thinking, remind, remember, self talk, forgive



Bald spot, looking in mirror, seeing, seeing the damage, no eyelashes, amount, seeing the amount, hair thinning, ugly, appearance, vanity, insults



False nails, acrylic nails, gloves, hat, cover, scarf, bandana, wig, cap, glasses, sock, plaster, band-aid, mittens, band



Friend, family, husband, boyfriend, parent, partner, girlfriend, son, wife, sister



Realising, snapping out of it, awareness, recognising, understanding, waking up



Mind off, change, changing, redirection, break, count, attention



Embarassment, guilt, mad, shame, fear, disgust, frustration, anger, regret, rage



Relaxation, playing my Growth CD, calm, deep breathing, yoga, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, reducing stress, breathing



Reading, writing, doing something different, cleaning, cooking, drawing, books, driving, dancing, craft, hobby, shopping, swim, cross stitch, paint fingernails, housework, bracelet making, watch a film, crossword



Shower, wet, hair wash, clean head, cleaning, water, shampoo, bath, swim

Being happy


Happy, good, positive, confidence, content, courage, smiling



Sleep, bed



Physical, exercise, working out, dancing, swim



Computer, typing, online, internet, website



Eat, drink, water, chew gum, alcohol, snack, putting something in my mouth, tea



Sit on hands



Love, hugs, cuddle



Hurt, achy, ache, sore, scratchy



Talk, support, discuss, admit



Yell, told off, shout, smack, external, restraint, threat



Time, clock

Short Hair


Short, shaving



Ponytail, brush, tying, band, braiding, comb, tye

Hair Cut


Hair cut, hair done, haircut, trim, new hair style



Holiday, vacation, trip

Avoid Mirror


Not looking in/avoid mirror/tweezers



Vaseline, oil, hand lotion, gel, ice, paint fingernails



looking forward to an event or occasion


The remaining helpers that were quoted by a few people we asked follow, listed in order of frequency: Medication, prayer, remove mascara and make-up, music, setting goals, diet, rewards, and not touching the hair or lash.

© Trichotillomania Support UK 2010