Compulsive Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania)…you’re not alone

Unless you suffer from compulsive hair pulling (aka trichotillomania) it’s difficult to understand.

“It’s just a weird quirk,” others may think. Actually, it’s closer to an obsession…a harmful one at that.

It’s not uncommon for feelings of shame, anxiety, or guilt to arise. There may be noticeable hair loss on your scalp or eyebrows. All of these things can destroy your self-esteem.

It may even impact your everyday life.

Many find that it takes longer than most to do everyday tasks because they find themselves constantly plucking strand after strand of hair. Perhaps you’re doing it right now or at least “constantly thinking about those juicy hair follicles,” as many have described.

It’s normal for people with trichotillomania to constantly think about hair pulling.

You may be deciding whether or not to tell people about your trichotillomania. This is often a lose/lose situation.

Of the countless people we have interviewed, we’ve found that they either:

  • Keep their hair pulling a secret. The inability to tell others whilst constantly trying to hide bald spots and/or sparse eyebrows creates a sense of anxiety and guilt.
  • Tell others about it and find themselves being judged. It’s not uncommon to hear remarks like “Why do you do that to yourself?” or “Can’t you just stop thinking about it?”

You’re not alone. In fact, we had you in mind when designing Pavlok. But first, a little more about trichotillomania.

I use Pavlok because it can change your life…

I’ve battled trich for over 14 years and have tried many different methods to help me gain control of my habits. Pavlok has helped me immensely by raising awareness about when and how often I pull so I can track trends and gain valuable information about my behaviors.

– Jordan Fairchild

What is Trichotillomania?

Also known as “compulsive hair pulling disorder,” trichotillomania impacts millions of people, many of whom don’t even realize it.

A brief overview of Trichotillomania by therapist Kati Morton

Those with Trichotillomania may display noticeable hair loss in their scalp, eyebrows, or other areas, and people often go through great lengths to cover up these bald spots.

Recent research has suggests that this compulsive behavior may be caused by stress, anxiety, depression and/or additional mental disorders.

More importantly, researchers believe thattrichotillomania follows something called a “neurocognitive model.”

Essentially, this means that the areas of the brain that control habit–such as the basal or frontal lobes–play a large role in trichotillomania. This is important because if you can manipulate your brain’s habit centers, you can vanquish trichotillomania.

Enter Pavlok–the world’s first wearable device that uses science to destroy bad habits. It does this by working on the habit portion of your brain. Yes, the same habit centers that are linked to compulsive hair pulling.

Specifically, Pavlok can destroy the compulsion to pull your hair, as Naomi found out.

Pavlok has changed my life. I’ve been pulling my hair since I was 14…before then, I’d pretty much need to wear a hat. I’d wear a hat all the time whether watching the TV or going to work. Now that I have a Pavlok, I don’t need to wear a hat anymore because the habit is just gone.”

– Naomi

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How Pavlok Changed Naomi’s Life

How Pavlok Can Destroy Your Hair Pulling Compulsion

I’m Maneesh Sethi, the founder of Pavlok. Before we explain how Pavlok works, it’s worth briefly talking about the history of habit research.

It’s widely accepted amongst the scientific community that habits cannot be destroyed, only replacedfor the most part (this becomes important in a bit).

This means that if you want to say–quit smoking–you need to replace it with something else.

For example, perhaps you smoke in order to break up the monotony of a work day by stepping outside. When you’re feeling bored, perhaps you step outside and chew some gum instead. Do this enough, and it may replace your smoking habit.

What you need is need to destroy the habit, not replace it.

“But wait Maneesh, I thought you said you can’t destroy habits 🤔🤔🤔🤔

There’s one exception. I originally stumbled upon a study in 1970’s in which almost 70% of smokers were able to destroy their smoking habit. Compare this with Nicorette, the leader in smoking cessation, which has a success rate of 7.5%.

Intrigued by this study, I kept digging. I found dozens of other studies in which researcher subjects were able to destroy a multitude of bad habits–one of which was trichotillomania.

All of these studies had one thing in common: they used a mild electric shock in order to disassociate habits with pleasure. This was the initial inspiration behind Pavlok.

After a few years of research, designing, and building, Pavlok was born.

 

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How Pavlok Works for Trichotillomania

I know the phrase “electric shock” sounds scary, but don’t worry, Pavlok’s “shock” is more like being shocked by static electricity or snapping yourself with a rubber band. You also have control over the intensity of the device.

 

Using Pavlok for Trichotillomania is simple:

  1. Download the Pavlok app and follow the “5-day Aversion Course”
  2. For 5 minutes, create a “zap” at the same time you simultaneously pull your hair.
  3. Do this for 5 days.
  4. Any time you catch yourself pulling your hair, zap yourself.

If you’ve ever gotten way too drunk on tequila and found yourself nauseated at the smell or thought of it the next day, this is very similar. You’ll find yourself not wanting to pull your hair–some Pavlok users have told us this was the first time they’ve ever felt this way.

 

The video below elaborates on this method a bit more.

 

 

Here’s a brief video I made on how to use Pavlok for trichotillomania.

The method is simple…and it works. Take one user’s Reddit post for instance

It’s been about a month and I’ve pulled less than 5 hairs since the end of my first week. I have been fighting trich since I was about 12 and went through bad times where I wore giant winter hats in the summer to cover my patches, and had to wear a wig for about a year at my worst. […] Now I don’t even really get the urges very much, and if I catch myself rummaging through my hair I’m somehow able to stop myself, even when I’m nowhere near my Pavlok.

– Pavlok customer and former trichotillomania sufferer

It’s our hope that suffers everywhere are able to stop trichotillomania from impacting their lives. You deserve to end your compulsion, and Pavlok is here to help.

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Habits, Technology & Behavioral Change