Twenty-three year old Rebecca Brown struggles with the impulse control disorder trichotillomania, which causes a compulsive urge to pull out one’s hair. Despite only receiving an official diagnosis at the age of 18, Rebecca has been dealing with the disorder since she was a young girl.
As a way to cope, Rebecca has been documenting and sharing her life on her blog and YouTube channel BeckieO for the past eight years, and two years ago launched TrichJournal, another video channel and blog dedicated to all things trichotillomania.
Her deeply personal videos have garnered millions of views, bringing a new awareness to the disorder, which affects approximately 4% of the world’s population.
The ongoing physical and emotional challenges of trich are real and painful, as evidenced in Rebecca’s most recent video that shows her shaving her head in an attempt to find relief from her compulsion to pull out her hair. After years of suppressing her urges and growing back her hair, Rebecca recently relapsed, which has brought her to this agonizing place.
“Shaving does not stop my disorder. This is not the end of my disorder,” Rebecca says tearfully. “It’s either shave my hair or lose my hair. I am fed up of being triggered and tortured by the hair on my head and I don’t really have any other options — it’s so complicated.”
This is the seventh time Rebecca has resorted to going bald.
Facts about Trichotillomania
– 110 million people suffer from trichotillomania worldwide
– In early childhood, it seems to occur as frequently in boys as girls. By adulthood, 80-90% of reported cases are women.
– The compulsion serves as a coping mechanism for anxiety and other difficult emotions, and it is often done sub-consciously
– In addition to pulling hair from the head, it can take on many forms including eyelash pulling, skin picking and nail biting
– Sufferers not only bear the physical consequences of pulling, but also with the emotional side too, which often results in crippling low self-esteem
– Due to embarrassment and shame, many sufferers don’t seek out help
– While there is no known “cure” for trichotillomania, there are treatment options available