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Twisting hair into knots
Posted on: 10/22/2009
I twist my hair into knots sometimes small and sometimes big, but I do this normally when I'm stressed or worried about something. I don't have any noticable bald spots. Do I have trichotillomania? Or could this be an OCD?
This twisting of hair sounds like a tension-release impulse if you've already identified that the trigger is stress or worry. It can be stopped, but it takes your commitment to developing a different and more functional tension release. Trichotillomania and OCD are actual disorders that entail more than just hair twisting, you would be experiencing and exhibiting other things than just this. If it bothers you to have knots in your hair and you can become aware in the moment you start -- or better yet notice the impulse but have not started the twisting -- you can try various tactics. These include rating the intensity/severity of the impulse, charting the time it continues at that rating and then when it decreases etc; charting activity and feeling just preceding the impulse, whom you were with, what thoughts/images you had immediately preceding the impulse. This will help forestall that behavior and also shed light on patterns involved in your emotions or behaviors that play a role. If it is very frequent, intense, or has been going on a long time, you may want to get a counselor to work with you. And I would say to look at your stress and worry directly, then work on good stress management (good sleep, nutrition, exercise, family, friendship development, to begin with). Good luck!