Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Can my baby have trichotillamania?

From: Shannon

Subject: trichotillamania

Question: Hi I have had trichotillamania for 20 years. I have an 11 month old right now and she keeps reaching behind her ear to what looks like pull her hair. Is that a normal thing that 11 month olds do? I realized when she was born that I pulled my hair in front of her because I've just been doing it for so long I don't notice when I do it half the time.
I really made an effort not to do it around her but I know there have been times when she has witnessed it. Can she be developing trichotillamania this young? I read once a year old is the earliest kids show signs. What can I do to help or is this normal? I try to take her hand and give her a toy. What do you think?


Answer: Dear Shannon,

I doubt you can control this in your child anymore than anyone else. However, I strongly encourage giving her massages to lower her anxiety levels. Also, what does her doctor say? If you are not able to control it in yourself, I would not like for you to set yourself or your daughter up to believe you can keep her from exhibiting the same behavior. Some children pull their hair and some twirl their hair. It is not the worst disorder to have and there are now infant mental health specialist who can assist.

I encourage you to draw her attention to activities and toys that are appropriate for her age and distract her as much as is possible without stressing yourself out.

Best Wishes!

Kay