Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder so embedded in female culture that it has its own hip short-hand — “trich“. Tricho is greek for hair. Mania is – well – you know…
Trich is a common Impulse Control Disorder that drives a person to literally pull their hair out — scalp hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, nose hair, facial hair, pubic hair (ick!), ear hair (this one for the guys!) or other body hair.
We’ve all seen this nervous habit in young women and girls — nervously pulling out a strand or two and looking at it intently before starting in again. Though some studies show that there may be a genetic pre-disposition to this disorder, the fact that 75% of sufferers are female, together with the common accompanying psychological issues such as low self-esteem that are epidemic in young girls these days, may also indicate that the condition is “nurture” as much as “nature”.
In some rare and extreme cases of Trichotillomania, the person will actually chew the pulled-out hair roots and swallow them — Trichophagia.
Trichotillomania is mentioned together with finger picking or Compulsive Skin Picking because of the psychological issues they share in common.