Disability News


Trichotillomania & Anxiety: A Common Hair-Pulling Disorder

Trichotillomania (TTM) is known as a hair-pulling disorder and is characterized by recurrent urges to pull out one’s own hair, resulting in noticeable hair loss, distress, and impairment in social and occupational functioning.

TTM is often classified as an obsessive-compulsive and related disorder (OCRD), as it shares some similarities with other OCDRs, such as obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

In addition, TTM is often comorbid with serious anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD). People with TTM may also experience symptoms of depression and low self-esteem as a result of their hair-pulling behaviour.

Overall, while TTM is classified as an OCRD, it is often considered to be a complex disorder that involves both obsessive-compulsive and anxiety-related features.

Remember, if you’ve been denied long-term disability, contact our Ontario Disability Lawyers to learn what options you may have. We can provide the help you need to get the disability benefits you deserve. We have experience in dealing with all types of disability claims and can provide professional representation to ensure that you receive the long-term disability benefits you are entitled to.

What Causes Trichotillomania?

No one knows exactly why trichotillomania happens, but there are risk factors which are common, including:

Family history: Like other mental health disorders, people who develop trichotillomania may find that other family members also deal with this mental health disorder.

Age: trichotillomania usually starts between the ages of 10 and 13 and can continue for the rest of their life. 

Other mental health disorders: people already living with a mental health disorder, like depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD, are at higher risk of developing trichotillomania.

Comorbid Anxiety disorders: when people experience stress and anxiety, these might trigger trichotillomania.

People with trichotillomania may feel more anxious because the cause of this mental health condition is unknown. Since there is no clear solution to the problem, this can make the anxiety worse and lead to an episode of trichotillomania.

Trichotillomania and Comorbid Conditions

Trichotillomania (TTM) is often comorbid with other serious anxiety disorders. Comorbidity is the presence of two or more disorders or conditions in the same individual. In the case of TTM, research suggests that the condition is frequently accompanied by other anxiety-related disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Comorbidity can have a significant impact on the course and treatment of TTM. For example, individuals with TTM and comorbid anxiety disorders may experience more severe symptoms, more frequent episodes of hair-pulling, and a higher level of distress and impairment in social and occupational functioning.

Additionally, comorbidity can make diagnosis and treatment more complex. When multiple conditions are present, it can be difficult to determine the underlying cause of symptoms and to develop an effective treatment plan. Treatment for TTM and comorbid anxiety disorders typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and behavioral interventions tailored to the individual’s specific needs and symptoms.

Overall, the presence of comorbid anxiety disorders in individuals with TTM highlights the need for a comprehensive and individualized approach to assessment and treatment, as well as the importance of addressing underlying anxiety-related factors in the management of TTM.

Symptoms of Trichotillomania

Just because someone touches or pulls their hair doesn’t mean they have trichotillomania. But there are some signs to watch for that could mean they have this mental health condition:

  • Repeatedly pulling hair out
  • Noticeably feeling pleasure or relief after hair is pulled
  • Visible loss of hair, particularly on the head, eyebrows or eyelashes
  • Specific patterns, habits or routines that go along with the hair-pulling
  • Excessively playing with hair

Someone who has been dealing with trichotillomania for a while may realize they feel a strong urge to pull out their hair. They might know it’s a problem, but they can’t seem to stop doing it.

Anxiety and Work Disability

Trichotillomania can be triggered by serious anxiety disorders, which can be incredibly debilitating and can significantly impact a person’s daily life – and work life. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions that are characterized by excessive and persistent worry, fear, or nervousness about everyday situations or events. Some common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

People with anxiety disorders may experience a range of physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms that can impact their ability to function in various areas of their life. Some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Persistent worry or fear that is difficult to control
  • Physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, sweating, shaking, and nausea
  • Avoidance of certain situations or activities that cause anxiety
  • Panic attacks which can cause a range of physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, chest pain, and difficulty breathing
  • Obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviours that are difficult to control

These symptoms can make it difficult for individuals with anxiety disorders to carry out everyday activities, such as socializing with friends and family, leaving their house or going to work. Anxiety disorders can also have a significant impact on a person’s physical health, leading to chronic stress and exhaustion.

Extreme cases of anxiety can make it physically impossible for someone to work due to issues such as:

Difficulty concentrating: anxiety can make it difficult for a person to focus on tasks or make decisions, which can affect their productivity and ability to complete work assignments.

Avoidance behaviours: people with anxiety may avoid certain work-related tasks or situations that trigger their anxiety, which can limit their opportunities for career advancement or lead to job loss.

Absenteeism: anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue, which can lead to missed work days or decreased productivity.

Interpersonal difficulties: anxiety can make it challenging for a person to interact with coworkers, supervisors, or clients, which can affect their ability to build and maintain professional relationships.

Reduced performance: serious anxiety can lead to decreased job performance, which can lead to negative feedback, reprimands, or even termination.

Can I get Long-Term Disability Benefits for Trichotillomania or other Serious Anxiety Disorders?

The question is difficult to answer. In a general sense, it would be difficult for someone who suffers from only trichotillomania (without a comorbid disorder) to qualify for long-term disability benefits. However, if someone with trichotillomania suffers from a comorbid condition such as a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder, a serious anxiety disorder, major depression, body-dysmorphic disorder or another serious psychological condition – and can prove that he or she suffers from a total disability (or the inability to complete the substantial duties of your own job) as set out in their policy definition, then he or she may in fact qualify to receive monthly long-term disability benefits.

Then, after two years, “total disability” typically refers to a condition that prevents an individual from performing the essential duties of any occupation for which he or she is reasonably suited based on his or her education, training, and experience. This definition may vary slightly depending on the specific terms of the long-term disability insurance policy.

Have you been Denied Disability Benefits for Trichotillomania or other Serious Anxiety Disorders?

The effects of trichotillomania or serious anxiety on someone’s ability to maintain a productive career cannot be understated. If either of these conditions has caused you to experience a decline in your ability to perform your job duties, or if you have been denied long-term disability benefits due to trichotillomania or another serious anxiety disorder, it is important to get legal advice and representation of a qualified disability lawyer.

Lalande Disability Lawyers represent clients with depression who have been denied their long-term disability benefits. If you have any questions, contact us today for a free consultation. Our long-term disability lawyers are able to provide claimants with depression with the tools they need to make informed decisions and take action. Our team of legal experts is knowledgeable in the area of disability claims and is dedicated to helping claimants receive the support they need. Contact us today to learn more about how our experienced anxiety disorder disability lawyers can help you today. We’re here to help you receive the resources and treatment you need for long-term recovery. 

Since 1984, Ontario Disability Lawyers Matt Lalande and Karen Camporese have recovered tens of millions in compensation for disability claimants who are were going to the worst times of their lives. Stop struggling with a faceless insurance company – and call our Ontario long-term disability lawyers to get your free consultation today.

We can help represent disability claimants all over Canada and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our consultations are 100% free – and if you decide to work with our disability lawyers, the fee is free. We do not charge our clients anything unless we win their case. We are happy to provide you with the legal advice you need in order for you to make an informed decision about your own particular situation. Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-4-DISABILITY. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to explain your long-term disability rights and legal options to you at no cost.



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FAQ Summary

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a mental health disorder characterized by recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out one’s own hair, resulting in hair loss and significant distress or impairment in daily functioning. This hair-pulling can occur from any part of the body but most commonly affects the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes.

Does anxiety cause Trichotillomania?

Anxiety can be a contributing factor in the development of trichotillomania, but it is not necessarily the sole cause of the disorder. Trichotillomania is a type of body-focused repetitive behaviour (BFRB) that involves pulling out one’s own hair, which can lead to hair loss and other physical damage.

Can I get Disability Benefits for Trichotillomania?

The question is difficult to answer. In a general sense, it would be difficult for someone who suffers from only trichotillomania (without a coorbid disorder) to qualify for long-term disability benefits. However, if someone with trichotillomania suffers from a comorbid condition such as a serious anxiety disorder or major depression – and can prove that he or she suffers from a total disability (or the inability to complete the substantial duties of your own job) as set out in their policy definition, then he or she may in fact qualify to receive monthly long-term disability benefits.

How much does a disability lawyer cost?

Most disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if and when they win your case.


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