Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Seeking help is the first step in treating trichotillomania. At first you may see your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. He or she may refer you to a mental health provider.

These suggestions may help make your appointment easier:

  • Make a list of all the symptoms you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to hair pulling. Trichotillomania can cause both physical and psychological symptoms. Note what triggers your hair pulling, how you've tried to deal with the problem, and factors that make it better or worse.
  • Bring key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes and whether hair pulling runs in your family.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements that you're taking, including the dosage and how long you've been taking them.

To make the most of your time with your doctor, prepare a list of questions ahead of your appointment. Some questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What might have caused me to develop this disorder?
  • How do you diagnose this condition?
  • Is this something that will go away on its own? Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my symptoms?
  • What treatments do you recommend for this disorder?
  • What if I can't afford therapy?
  • If I decide to take medications, how long will it take for my symptoms to improve?
  • What are the side effects of the medications you're recommending?
  • How much improvement can I realistically expect if I follow your treatment plan?

Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.

Feb. 13, 2014