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TRICHOTILLOMANIA: New Hope for Recovery
Copyright 2006 INTEGRITY HEATH SOLUTIONS Treatments for Trichotillomania are both behavioral and pharmacologic. Medications have been variably beneficial, and work in select cases, but certainly not in the majority. Research studies tend to substantiate this. Isolated reports of success exist with a large number of medications, including SSRI antidepressants (ie Prozac, Paxil, Celexa …); Buspar, among others. Larger studies have not substantiated the success of medications overall, in the treatment of hairpulling. Medications are more likely to be beneficial in treating conditions underlying hairpulling, such as depression or anxiety, rather than the hairpulling itself.
Some success has been reported with cognitive-behavioral treatment. In clinical trials, a behavioral technique called “habit-reversal” training appeared to be effective. The treatment includes increasing awareness, developing new coping skills and new behaviors and maintaining motivation against hairpulling. Recently, an educator who is also an ex-hairpuller, has introduced a program that has been well received by children who are hairpullers, and their families. “Pull-Free, At Last! for Families™ by Abby Leora Rohrer, is a breath of fresh air for children who suffer from Trichotillomania, and their families.
For many children and their families, available treatments have been only partially effective or largely ineffective. Abby Rohrer, from her own experience in recovering from hairpulling and from consulting with families of children with trichotillomania, has developed a meaningful and potentially very effective program for recovery. Abby ‘walks the walk’. In her program, she connects deeply on an emotional level in ways that other programs have lacked. Parents will benefit from feeling the pain that their children are suffering with this compulsive habit. Just that ability to empathize with their children’s pain will help parents work through their own feelings of pain and frustration, and most importantly, to help empower their children to seek meaningful solutions. Abby’s wisdom integrates dynamics of addiction recovery in helping facilitate recovery and transformation in families. Hairpulling in a child is most often a symptom of other family issues and dynamics. Yes, becoming free of hairpulling involves family transformation! Abby skillfully guides parents in both obvious and subtle ways to shift family dynamics that support and empower each family member- and most especially, the child who is hairpulling. I appreciated Abby’s insights in connecting addictive behavior like hairpulling to abuses of power in the family system.
I can recall cases where parents, who feel helpless in certain situations, overcompensate by overcontrolling other situations. Abby helps parents to help their children learn to make choices and become empowered. Abby’s program for recovery from hairpulling constitutes a course of personal and family empowerment. This empowerment encompasses every area of life. Wonderful job, Abby! Abby Rohrer has a free parent guide available for download. You access it by signing up at www.parentsofhairpullers.com.
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