Everything You Need To Know About Trichophobia
By: Mason Komay
Updated November 23, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Elizabeth Strong
Are you afraid to get anywhere near a loose piece of hair, or worse, touch it? Are you terrified of the possibility of losing your own hair or growing too much of it? If so, you're most likely experiencing what's known as trichophobia. In this article, we'll be covering everything you need to know about it, treatment options, and why you have nothing to be ashamed of. Let's take a closer look.
What Is Trichophobia?
Trichophobia is defined by Most Common Phobias as "the morbid and irrational fear of hair and, more specifically, hair loss." Individuals who have trichophobia become extremely anxious, uncomfortable, and terrified by loose hair or clumps of hair. More often than not, this particular phobia stems from the belief that hair is inherently dirty or a gateway to contracting undesirable germs or diseases, as documented by ePainAssist. Due to this extreme fear, people who have trichophobia tend to regard hair with complete disgust. This fear can sometimes become so overwhelming to the point where it begins to interfere with everyday life.
If you're wondering whether or not you may be experiencing trichophobia, there are a number of indicators to keep an eye out for.
Indicators of Trichophobia
In many cases, the irrational fear of hair or the loss of hair does not occur overnight. Trichophobia takes time to manifest, and there are usually certain symptoms or telltale signs which present themselves. Additional information from ePainAssist affirms that the hereinafter behaviors indicate a budding or existing case of trichophobia, which include the following:
- Shaking or shivering at the sight of hair.
- Experiencing vomiting or other unpleasant bodily reactions.
- Avoiding hair.
- Refusing to cut one's hair.
- Keeping one's distance from institutions that cut or style hair.
- Experiencing rapid breathing or even panic attacks at the sight of loose hair.
Sometimes, trichophobia is merely an unpleasant manifestation of another aspect of one's own life or wellbeing. For instance, someone with a grave fear of loose hair might also suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or identify as a perfectionist. Health cites "overzealous cleaning" and "organization" as two of the top symptoms of OCD. Loose hair can be regarded as "messy" by many people and could, therefore, trigger trichophobia in someone who already takes neatness and cleanliness to what most people would view as an extreme level.
Individuals who have trichophobia are often aware of the phobia's considerable irrationality, yet they remain unable to help themselves. People with phobias are advised to seek professional or psychological help if their trichophobia becomes so extreme or intense that it interferes with their daily lives or ability to function properly.
Source: whatwolf via freepik.com
For quite some time, trichophobia has been a source of intrigue as people wonder about what causes it or what heightens one's susceptibility to this phobia. In some cases, individuals are more susceptible to phobias in general if someone in their family has an irrational fear or if they have frequently spent time around people who have phobias. Past traumatic experiences, extreme sensitivity, and other factors can also contribute to a person's likelihood to be impacted by the extreme fear of hair or hair loss.
Treatment Options for Trichophobia
If you or someone you know has trichophobia, there's no need to worry – it's manageable. In most cases, psychotherapy and a blend of certain medications help. Surprisingly, merely conversing about the fear of hair is also a way that can help as one works to rid themselves of trichophobia.
Neuro-Phonetic Linguistic Programming is one of several options that can be used to treat trichophobia. This form of programming prompts the afflicted individual to pinpoint the exact memory or incident which triggered their fear of hair. After this event has been recognized, the person is then encouraged to "float out of their body" and detach themselves from the traumatic experience which engendered their trichophobia. The Nero-phonetic Linguistic program greatly relies on the power of the mind and therefore prompts the phobic to associate their fear of hair as something in the past, which can no longer harm them.
Deep Thinking or Yoga are both exceptional options of treatment for trichophobia. Both of these exercises are designed to calm and steady the mind. Like any process, self-help takes time. Those who have trichophobia should not expect their fear of hair to completely vanish after one or even several sessions of meditation or yoga. Taking the first step is what counts the most. As the old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.
Medication is an option if none of the above techniques seem to do the trick. It's important to consult with your doctor or specialist before taking any medications to ensure you know about all the potential risks and/or side effects. This form of treatment should be enacted very conservatively. More often than not, medications tend to conceal the side effects of various fears as opposed to treating the phobias themselves.
By definition, individuals who with trichophobia cannot prevent it in themselves, seeing as the phobia already exists. However, what they can do is take certain measures to prevent passing it onto others, mainly their current or potential future offspring. As previously stated, one becomes much more susceptible to irrational fears and phobias if they exist in family members or if they are habitually exposed to environments with people who have phobias.
If someone who is frequently with children or other young people has trichophobia, they should most certainly consult a medical professional. Not only will this help the individual discover which treatment options are best for them but they can also significantly decrease the likelihood of children around them from developing the phobia.
How to Cope with Trichophobia
The fear of hair can be a very challenging and complex phobia to deal with. However, with the proper guidance and coping techniques, you'll be well on your way to regaining control over your trichophobia and living your best life. For starters, you can begin by trying your best to embrace the fact that hair is all around you. Your friends, your family, and most of the people you see on a daily basis have hair. If you live with a family or a group of roommates, odds are you've probably seen a few strands lying around, especially in the bathroom. In addition, remember that loose hair doesn't contain nearly enough germs or bacteria to cause you any type of illness.
Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need to rush into things by constantly exposing yourself to hair. In fact, this isn't recommended at all if your goal is to effectively deal with trichophobia or any phobia for that matter. Coping with this fear is a slow and steady process that requires a healthy approach. It's going to take time, but as long as you're willing to give it a shot, that's all that matters. It's best to seek professional guidance in this situation, as an expert will help you create the safest and most effective treatment plan.
You Have Nothing to Be Ashamed Of
In many cases, individuals who have various fears and phobias may feel ashamed of themselves or view themselves as "less than average." While beating up on ourselves can be easy at times, it's important to remember that being afraid of hair is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have something that we're working through or battling, and in some cases, that battle just may happen to be trichophobia.
People who have a fear of hair should never allow anyone to tell them that this phobia makes them any less of a person than anyone else in the room. Furthermore, those who come in contact with a person who has a phobia of any nature should display kindness, empathy, and compassion, just as they would expect from other people if they were in the same shoes.
Source: katemangostar via freepik.com
Remember, one of the most important steps to overcoming trichophobia is being around a strong and supportive network of people who have your best interests at heart. Dealing with this phobia becomes significantly less daunting when we have the comfort of knowing that there are other people in our corner.
You may also consider trying out a few of these alternative solutions.
Try a New Hairstyle
Doing something as simple as getting a small haircut can help you see your own hair from a different perspective. Consider trying out a new style that you've never had done before.
The more you understand about your phobia, the better. By taking the time to read articles such as this, you help your mind to regain a sense of control over your fears. Remember, knowledge is power.
Get a Dog/Cat
While this might seem intimidating at first, this can be a dramatic first step toward overcoming your trichophobia. If you have a cat or a dog in your house, then you're almost certain to spot some hair lying around on the floor, the couch, or anywhere else they wander off to. Although this is more of a direct approach, you'll be getting enough exposure to help you face your fears head-on.
Consider Seeing a Therapist
If your trichophobia is heavily interfering with your everyday life, it might be time to seek out professional help. An in-person or online counselorwill offer techniques to help you challenge your thoughts and change your behaviors regarding your phobia. They will also offer emotional support and understanding in a safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere.
Online Counseling Starts Here
Here at BetterHelp, we pride ourselves on the ability to provide world-class care and assistance to those in need, regardless of where they are in life. Our therapists and counselors have worked with people who have phobias, helping them manage and in many cases, overcome their phobia. BetterHelp's network of licensed counselors is available to you from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection) and at a time that works for you. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"Prescilla is honestly so understanding, and she takes the time to hear me out when I have a call or video session with her. She listens to it all. I can't wait to get better and to live life fearlessly! I really want to get to know who I really am once I get to overcome this. Prescilla is awesome! Thank you guys so much."
"Genna gets down to your core fears and addresses them in an understanding, empathetic manner. She has helped me through a very difficult time and has given very valuable, practical advice time and time again. What I like about Genna is that she participates and helps you think of different solutions."
A Final Word
Trichophobia is the fear of hair that many people have either faced or will face. Regardless of the underlying reasons for your trichophobia, it is not an irrecoverable ailment. With the right professional help, treatment, and support system, recovering from trichophobia is only a matter of time. A truly fulfilling life in which trichophobia doesn't hold you back is possible – all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.
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