Unwelcome Habits


HabitsThere are so many habits that people unconsciously engage in acting out. Nail biting, skin picking, nose picking, sniffing, and the list goes on and on and on. One habit observed amongst children is that of hair pulling or trichotillomania. Here is a case study on hypnosis and hair pulling.

This case study describes a non-pharmacological treatment modality for children with trichotillomania. Three children with trichotillomania were treated using a hypnotherapy technique. All patients were observed in the outpatient clinic for 8 consecutive weeks and subsequently followed for 12-18 months. All children were co-operative in performing the hypnotherapy technique (relaxation/mental imagery). Two patients reported complete resolution of their complaints after 7-8 weeks and 1 patient after 16 weeks.

The latter, reporting recurrence of the complaint after 4 weeks due to stressful school problems, was resolved after successful re-treatment over 3 weeks. During a mean follow-up period of 16 months, there were no recurrences. In conclusion, hypnotherapy may be considered as a primary treatment modality for trichotillomania in children without associated emotional disorders.

BIBLIOGRAPHY – Acta Paediatr 1999 Apr;88(4):407-10 Cohen HA, Barzilai A, Lahat E Pediatric Ambulatory Center, Petach Tikva, Israel.

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