Trichotillomania is an abnormality condition in which the sufferer has an irresistible urge to pull out his own hair. Due to the lack of ability in preventing themselves from performing a particular act, trichotillomania includes a group of psychological problems called impulse-control disorder. This condition is most commonly experienced by women than men and is commonly found in adolescents.
In addition to pulling hair on the head, there are also trikotilomania patients who like to pull hair in other parts, such as:
Eyes (eyelashes and eyebrows)
Face (mustache, beard, and jambang)
Hands and feet
A variety of fiddle and fidget toys can be employed in this form of therapy. Many of them are available online and some can even be purchased at baby stores, jewellery stores or hardware shops. Patients suffering from Trichotillomania should use toys that they like and that they feel comfortable with. Most of these toys should be items that one can do tricks with and that keep the hands busy and away from the site where pulling occurs. If you are suffering from this disorder you may be wondering what type of toys will be the one for you to start with. Playdough, silly putty or clay are the most popular fidget toys. They keep the hands busy as they can be moulded continuously and they are also easy to carry around as they come in small containers that can easily be slipped into your pocket or handbag.
For people who do not like the feel of putty, there are a number of other fidgets and fiddles that can be substituted as a competing response mechanism. Tube-like flexible bracelets called ‘tangle juniors’ are available in a variety of sizes that can be worn on your wrist or carried around. They come in different textures like smooth, shiny, bumpy and even fuzzy like suede or velvet. These fidget toys are favoured by children, and adults seeking something similar can use a charm bracelet or snake bracelet which is a type of a soft metal rope that coils and twists easily.
Flexiblox fiddlers are tiny plastic blocks held together by an elasticated string, it can bend in different directions making it ideal to use when the urge to pull strikes. Sensory stix also known as Krush-N-Flex are small plastic rods with soft bristles. Hair pullers love this toy as it provides relief and eases tension as they run their fingers across the bristles. Similar to these are fidget pencil tops as they also have the soft bristles but can be attached to the top of your pen or pencil. Another toy is the Isoflex stress ball which provides a sensation of squeezing which is what some sufferers feel relieves the addiction to pulling. All of these toys can be ordered online from USA or UK based stores like thetwiddler.com, tanglecreations, and the Trichotillomania Learning Centre’s online store.
Other substitute items that achieve the desired sensation can easily be found at baby stores, pet shops or even in your own home. Kinetic sand is a type of sand mixed with silicone that can be very relaxing to squeeze, squash or even just run your fingers through. Light up neon massage balls which are sold on street corners are a cheap but effective tool to discourage Trichotillomania, as are prayer beads and screws, nuts and bolts. Head massagers or head scratchers provide a pleasant light scratching sensation over the scalp and are a good substitute to discourage the fingers from returning to the scalp.