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November 2014

On Trichotillomania and Its Hairy History

Author Affiliations
  • 1Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(11):1179. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.2284

The act of hair pulling has been observed for centuries and was accepted as meaningful and even encouraged at certain points in history in societies spanning the ancient Egyptians, early Greeks, and the Jains in India1; however, the term trichotillomania is now specifically reserved for the aberrant act of hair pulling or, more specifically, the compulsive urge to pull one’s hair in situations of stress and anxiety. It is a disease that is mysterious in nature and fascinating in its historical baggage.

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