Hair Pulling – Trichotillomania
Hair pulling is a habit which causes you to pull your hair, twist it, and play with it to excess. You may, like many sufferers, actually pull your hair out, causing thinning or even bald patches. It might affect your head hair, eyelashes, eye brows, body hair or any combination of these. After pulling your hair you might eat, stroke, count, or continue playing with it. Some sufferers store the hair they’ve removed.
The medical term is trichotillomania. You may’ve heard of it as “tricho”.
Hair pulling can also occur during sleep. This is called Sleep-Isolated Trichotillomania.
Trichotillomania affects between 1-3% of the population and affects more women than men. Hair pulling usually starts in childhood or adolescence, but can start at any time. And you can be affected at any age. The effects of pulling vary from unnoticeable to complete hair-loss and bleeding skin. It can have a huge effect on your confidence, self-esteem and quality of life. Some people eat part or all of their hair, or stroke, count, store or fiddle with it after pulling. So don’t worry – even more! – if you do this, too. It’s all part of the same problem.
Your hair pulling, especially if it’s mild, may just be habit. But for the majority of sufferers, there is underlying stress, worry or anxiety. In either case, though, you CAN be helped.
When do bad habits strike? And how do habits start?
Bad habits usually emerge when you’re feeling anxious, restless, tired, or stressed at work or school. Maybe you’re affected when you’re too busy, fed up, or you’re trying to concentrate. You use bad habits to distract yourself, or to think about fewer than five things at once. They can feel useful when you need to take a moment, or make yourself feel better.
It’s usually very hard to remember exactly when and how your bad habit started. The chances are, though, that back when it started, you got something out of it; it did make you feel better. Temporarily! Comfort eating is a good example of this. You’ve had a bad day, and you want something to cheer you up. Chocolate or chips (or whatever your own personal weakness is!) do the trick. You enjoy them and do feel better for a bit. The first time you bite your nails, or pulled your hair, it succeeded in distracting you from whatever it was which was making you stressed or anxious.
But as you repeat the habit which made you feel better when you first tried it, it brings its own problems. Comfort eating leads you to put weight on. You’re embarrassed by the way your bitten nails look Or you begin to get headaches or earache because of teeth grinding, or it stops you from sleeping properly. Your family worry about your health because you smoke. Your head is sore and you are ashamed that patches of hair are missing. You even feel sub-conscious that others notice you doing it.
And as the habit becomes more and more of a subconscious action and you don’t even notice you’re doing it, it stops having any affect at all> It doesn’t make you feel one bit better. You feel worse.
BUT. You CAN stop this cycle. You CAN control your actions, stop nail biting, stop hair pulling, stop smoking, lose weight – you can break your bad habits. This is where hypnosis is so effective.
What are the most Common Bad Habits ?
Bad habits come in all shapes and sizes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that hypnosis is a very effective and powerful treatment for any habit. Hair pulling, nail biting, skin picking, nervous tics (such as twitching or jerking, which tend to occur in the head or neck), and teeth grinding are frequently treated with hypnotherapy. We see clients every week for binge drinking, over eating, and smoking. Many modern behaviours which you might not think of as habits actually ARE! This could be spending hours playing computer games on or Instagram when there’s really something else which you should be doing. Or eating three bars of chocolate (and hardly tasting any of it, sadly!), or constantly checking your phone even when that means you can’t sleep are often just habits.
Bad Habits – like Hair Pulling – are often Subconscious
What all of these bad habits have in common is that you can often find yourself doing them, or wanting to do them, subconsciously. In other words, you don’t consciously go through the thought process of telling yourself to do it. You just find yourself pulling or twisting or sucking your hair. You’re seemingly unaware of what you’re doing until you have pulled it out, or hurt yourself.
Similarly, if you bite your nails, you suddenly find that you are biting your nails without having thought “I should put my hand towards my mouth now”. Instead, it just seems to happen without you really noticing, until it’s too late. Or perhaps you suddenly find that a thought pops up – “I really want another biscuit” – but you’re not actually hungry. In fact you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthily. The thought just seems to come from nowhere. Bad habits are things that you find yourself doing or thinking when in fact you really want NOT to do or think those things.
How does hypnosis break bad habits?
Hypnosis can be described as focused concentration and deep relaxation. Rather than subconciously – unthinkingly – indulging your bad habit, hypnosis makes you become very mindful of what you are doing. This means you notice your hand reaching towards your hair, or towards the biscuits, or that you’re about to bite your nails. You notice that you’re pulling your hair, rather than just automatically doing it.
Your bad habit’s become so subconscious that you don’t even think about it or make a choice to do it. No wonder it is hard to control it! Hypnosis makes you aware of what you are doing.
It is much easier to stop something when you become fully aware that you are doing it. And when you find yourself habitually thinking “I’ve really got to pull my hair, right now” – you can override this. Hypnotherapy enables you to replace this thought with thoughts which are more accurate, and more useful.
Hypnosis reduces stress and anxiety to break bad habits
Hypnosis makes you very relaxed, calm and in control. This means that you are far less likely to develop the anxiety which leads to your carrying our your bad habit, too. Hypnosis helps you manage stress, to feel more in control of your actions and much more aware of them, and to replace your bad habits with a more positive response.
How quickly does hypnosis break bad habits?
You may notice the change very quickly – after just one session of hypnosis. Not everyone can break their habit so quickly, however . It will depend on the reasons you started in the first place, and whether or not you are anxious generally. Your motivation is important, too – how much you really want to stop hair pulling, or whatever your habit is.
Because everyone makes progress at a different speed, you should be wary of any hypnotherapist who promises instant success. Hypnosis is not one size fits all. What works for one individual may not work for another. If someone absolutely guarantees that they can cure you in one session, the likelihood is that they are just want your business. Look for a properly qualified and registered hypnotherapist. A reputable hypnotherapist will be happy to meet with you without charge. They’ll get to know you and the background to your problem, and to make sure that you feel comfortable with them and the approach they take. They will be honest with you about how long the process is likely to take.
If you choose to come here to Manchester Hypnotherapy you will be given downloads to listen to, to help you to relax and to do self hypnosis. Breaking bad habits is a process – you may get instant results, of course, but equally it may take some time. Hypnosis gives you the relaxation and peace of mind to be patient with yourself for as long as it takes to stop your habit completely.
Self hypnosis to stop bad habits
Ultimately, all hypnosis is self hypnosis – the thoughts which you repeat to yourself. The most important part of learning self hypnosis for many people who want to break bad habits is learning to relax, quickly and easily. Most bad habits develop when you are feeling stressed. Bad habits bring the immediate reward of focusing your mind away from the stressful situation, of distracting you, of making you feel a bit better. But these habits have a downside – weight gain, unsightly nails, health problems, for example. The habit isn’t really working any more. The deep state of relaxation which you experience whilst in hypnosis lets you feel better, less stressed and more in control WITHOUT resorting to the bad habit.
What kind of bad habit can hypnosis stop?
Any type of habit can be stopped. The techniques used for bad habits such as smoking, screen addiction, and weight loss, are the same hypnosis techniques that work to break all bad habits. If you have got to the stage where you really want to break your bad habit, then hypnosis will help you to stop it for good. Hypnosis helps you to break the cycle of stress and anxiety which often cause bad habits to form. So not only will you finish your treatment habit free, you’ll also feel generally calmer and more relaxed.
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy in Manchester
The therapists at this south Manchester hypnotherapy clinic are the UK’s top independently rated therapists in anxiety and phobia treatment. If you are looking for hypnotherapists in south Manchester to help with anxiety, claustrophobia, then please get in touch.
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