Although it may not seem particularly serious, trichotillomania can have a great impact on your life. Complications may include:

  • Emotional distress. Many people with trichotillomania report feeling shame, humiliation and embarrassment and experience low self-esteem, depression and anxiety because of their condition.
  • Problems with social and job functioning. Embarrassment because of hair loss may lead you to avoid social activities and occupational opportunities. People with trichotillomania may wear wigs, style their hair to disguise bald patches or wear false eyelashes. Some people may avoid intimacy for fear that their condition will be discovered.
  • Skin and hair damage. Constant hair pulling can cause abrasions and other damage, including infections, to the skin on your scalp or the specific area where hair is pulled, and can affect hair growth.
  • Hairballs. Eating your hair may lead to a large, matted hair ball (trichobezoar) in your digestive tract. Over a period of years, the hair ball can cause weight loss, vomiting, intestinal obstruction and even death.
Feb. 13, 2014