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Monday, January 10, 2011

Addicted to eating hair

TrichotillomaniaImage via Wikipedia

Are you addicted to eating hair?
Trichophagia  is the compulsive eating of hair. Most often, long hair is chewed while still attached to the head and then swallowed.[citation needed] The hair eventually collects in the gastrointestinal tract causing symptoms such as indigestion and stomach pain. A purgative can be given to induce the elimination of the resulting trichobezoar.
Trichophagia is characterized by the person eating hair, usually their own. Sometimes they may even eat the hair of others (such as that found in brushes). In the psychiatric field it is considered a compulsive psychological disorder.In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the mass. In 2007, an article in
The New England Journal of Medicine reported the removal of a hairball weighing ten pounds from the stomach of an eighteen year-old Chicago woman suffering from trichophagia.
Like many of those who are addicted to eating non food items and suffering from some form of Pica, this particular disorder is much more dangerous than the person may be aware of. Because most things ingested have the ability to affect our digestive system, human hair ingested can cause serious side effects, including death.See : Girl died from eating her hair

For additional information on Trichophagia, see:Psychosomatics
Trichophagia and Trichotillomania

Trichophagia is related to another compulsive disorder, trichotillomania. Both trichophagia and trichotillomania involve compulsions surrounding an individual’s hair. Trichotillomania sufferers will just pull out their hair and will not eat it. Trichophagia sufferers will not always pull out their hair, but will consume it when it is still attached to their head. Many sufferers of trichophagia start out with trichotillomania

Treatment for Trichophagia
Treating the disorder of trichophagia is similar to treatment of other impulse control disorders. The disorder is believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and can be treated with a combination of anti-depressant drugs and psychotherapy. Trichophagia must also be treated medically if the excess hair is causing problems within the digestive tract via medications or surgery. Occasionally the accumulation of hair in the digestive tract can cause a trichobezoar or hairball. This can cause many medical problems and have even caused a few deaths. Trichophagia can be seen as a more dangerous disorder than trichotillomania because of the formation of potentially deadly trichobezoars. This requires individuals who are suffering from trichophagia to seek treatment as soon as possible to decrease the potential risk of trichobezoars.

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