The phenomenon of trichotillomania, or hair pulling, has been
observed for centuries. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates
noted hair pulling as one of the many symptoms that the physician
was advised to assess as a routine matter. In our present time and
culture, & ldquo;pulling one& rsquo;s hair out& rdquo;
is more typically referred to in the context of depression,
frustration, boredom, or other emotional turmoil.
In truth, hair pulling is a highly prevalent behavior that may
be associated with significant morbidity.
Edited by experts in the field, "Trichotillomania" addresses the
importance of the study of hair pulling from both a clinical and a
research perspective. Documenting the clinical phenomenology,
morbidity, and management of trichotillomania, it discusses the
phenomenology of childhood trichotillomania, providing a
comprehensive description of its symptoms and sequelae. Of
particular value for the clinician are contributions on the
assessment of trichotillomania and a detailed cognitive-behavioral
treatment plan. The uses of medication, the place of a
psychodynamic perspective, the value of behavioral interventions,
and the role of hypnotherapy are also thoroughly discussed.
This discerning text further documents the significance of
research on trichotillomania for obtaining a broader understanding
of complex brain-behavior relationships. While recent research has
suggested that hair pulling lies on the spectrum of
obsessive-compulsive disorder, a range of evidence is presented
that indicates important differences between trichotillomania and
OCD. As such, attention by clinicians to hair pulling may be of
enormous value to patients, whose condition waspreviously
unrecognized, while leading to a better understanding of the range
of OCD-like disorders.
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