Tricho- is “hair,” in Greek, Tillo- is from ancient Greek for “to pull,” so Trichotillomania means a psychological compulsion to pull at ones hair, sometimes even pulling them out by the roots. It may be a simple nervous habit, with risk of going to extremes. But many people with it have underlying Depression and Anxiety, especially Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Diagnosis is made by noting patterns of patchy hair loss that don’t fit any other condition. Traction Alopecia, hair loss due to styles which require pulling the hair, would appear in logical places. Alopecia Areata involves patches of total hair loss, whereas the patches from Trichotillomania are not complete. See pictures below.
Treatment depends on how successful therapy is for the underlying psychological disorders.
Examples of Trichotillomania: