Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if you have trichotillomania. This may include:

  • Examining how much hair loss you have
  • Discussing your hair loss with you and possibly having you fill out a questionnaire
  • Eliminating other possible causes of hair pulling or hair loss through testing determined by your doctor

To be diagnosed with trichotillomania, you must meet criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM criteria for the diagnosis of trichotillomania include the following:

  • You repeatedly pull out your hair, resulting in noticeable hair loss.
  • You repeatedly try to stop pulling out your hair or try to do it less often.
  • Pulling out your hair causes you significant distress or problems at work, school or in social situations.
  • Your hair loss isn't due to another medical or skin condition or the symptom of another mental disorder.
Feb. 13, 2014