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I'm not sure if this belongs here or in the Self-Injury section.

Seems to me that this is a notch below self-injurty but getting the point...


So as I child, I used to "twirl my hair". Meaning, I would twist it arond my finger and get it all knotted up. I mostly did this at night, when I was falling asleep. It was always a childhood thing, and as I grew into my pre-teen years, it seemed to stop.


And it's never been a problem until recently.


About a month ago, I started twirling my hair and knotting it all up again. I can't seem to stop! I'm in college. And sure, it's stressful, but is this the reason for this behavior?


My hair is something that is really important to me. My natural color is very dark, and I used to dye it blonde for years. It was SO unhealthy and always breaking off, so it never grew much. Then last summer, I dyed it dark and it's finally starting to really grow out. It's thick and health(ier) than it was. A real vast improvement. I take vitamins and everything to keep it really thick and shiny.


But when I twist it all up, I sometimes have to rip some out because I can't get the knots out. It's so frustrating! I've even tried keeping a hair tie around my wrist and twisting that up instead. It doesn't seem to work.


The only benefit it gave me was that I became an expert knot-getter-outer. Really, I can get the knot out of just about anyting (except my own hair, apparently). :splat:


Anyone have the same problem or any suggestions?


Thanks ENA'ers!

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I'm not sure this is exactly the same thing as what you are talking about, but there is a disorder called trichotillomania (hope I spelled that right!) - a hair pulling disorder. You can google it for more info (I am not an expert) but basically people who suffer from it pull their hair out, generally when they are feeling nervous or stressed, and experience a sort of physical release and calming from the pulling. People who do this also generally experience great feelings of shame when they do it. Google for much more detailed info.


If that's not what you have and you are just bored - I suggest putting your hair up and keeping your hands busy. I have a bunch of play-doh/silly putty, which keeps me from picking at my face, playing with my hair ...

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I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM! With blankets and sucking my tongue.


Every night I would run my nails back and forth on my furry blanket that I had since I was 7yr old and would suck on my tongue till I fall asleep. Around 18 I decided I need to grow up so I bought a blanket that had no fur on it and stopped sucking my tongue.


I still have the old blanket downstairs and sometimes I would scratch it when I'm near it. Still makes me feel really relax.

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I think it's a learned behaviour thing, which means that it can be UNLEARNED. It seems that it's linked in with stress with you as well, starting college.


There are some websites out there which give advice and support:


link removed

link removed


One of the sites says this:


"Trichotillomania isn't just a habit that a person can easily stop. It's a medical condition.


Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behavior, which means that people with the condition feel an overwhelming urge to pull their hair. People with trichotillomania also may experience other compulsive behaviors, such as nail biting or skin picking. Some may have problems like depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Compulsive behaviors like trichotillomania can sometimes run in families.


Trichotillomania often leads to embarrassment, frustration, shame, or depression about the condition. Self-esteem problems are very common among those with trichotillomania. They usually try to hide the behavior from others, which can make it difficult to get help.


Sometimes compulsive behaviors happen when the mind mistakenly thinks that activities like hair pulling will provide relief from stress or other problems. Some people with trichotillomania say that they notice a pleasurable feeling when they pull their hair or get relief from uncomfortable feelings. (I've highlighted that bit cause it makes a lot of sense to me!


I think that you might go and see the university health centre - believe me, they will have dealt with this many times before, and will be able to offer you the appropriate advice about how to deal with it.


Good luck!!

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Hey HoneyPumpkin, I actually found that second link after sophie's post. I agree with many of the symptoms that both the latter website and what you wrote as part of your post.


I do tend to pick and bite at my nails too. However, I found something that works for that. Just for anyone else that has a nail bitting/picking problem and wants to stop it, I found an interesting method. You say you're going to bite every nail SAVE ONE. Then that nail grows out to where you want it. Then you vow to not bite that one and another one. So then you have two nice nails and etc.


This is my second year of college. I did horribly last quarter (after getting only mostly A's and a few B's in hs and mostly A's last year during college). And now, I'm on acedemic probation which is always in the forefront of my mind. Because if I don't do x good this quarter, I get dismissed from the university which is... unplausible because I'm "the smart one" in my family.


So maybe it is the stress thing. The anxiety and pressure too. Hmm, maybe I'll do as you suggested, Honey, and go see the on campus health facility.


However, it's true, it DOES relax me. As a kid, that's when I twisted my hair the most... while I was lying in bed before falling asleep. In fact, that's the ONLY time I did it as a child. Now, when I'm thinking or concentrating or thinking about a deadline, I start to do it.

And I mostly don't even notice I'm doing it.


But even tonight, I was twisting it and, once again, I had to rip about an inch off of the bottom because it was too knotted (and in the back of my head) so I couldn't see to untangle it. If I knew I was doing it (before catching myself in the middle of the act), I'd do something like twist the under part so no one could tell, or I'd twist the top front so I could see what I'm doing, and then maybe that would persuade me to stop. But I always go for the back of my head.


In any case, I only found 1 website that mentioned that "twisting" could also be this tricho... whatever. All the other ones were "pulling the hair out". I never pull it out... I have to eventually rip the bottoms of the strands off because of the advanced knotting... but I don't rip my hair out. So I wonder if it's classified as being the same...



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Hi there,


Thought the bit about nail biting sounded REALLY good, makes a lot of sense psychologically.


And now, I'm on acedemic probation which is always in the forefront of my mind. Because if I don't do x good this quarter, I get dismissed from the university which is... unplausible because I'm "the smart one" in my family.


So maybe it is the stress thing. The anxiety and pressure too. Hmm, maybe I'll do as you suggested, Honey, and go see the on campus health facility.


I think you've answered your own question - you're stressed and it's showing itself by this. I think you need a two-pronged attack. The first is to go and see the health facility for stress. But also to get advice on how to get your academic stuff back up to where you want it to be. There are loads of places to go at university for help with this, and I would really urge you to take advantage of all the help and support that's there for you.


Sometimes just taking action makes it less scary - because you don't need to knock yourself out with your studies, you just need to work steadily and consistently, treating it like a 9 to 5 job rather than pulling all-nighters etc.


You'll be fine - just take care of your health and stress levels!! Good luck!

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As Honey Pumpkin mentioned, this sounds similar to Trichotillomania link removed


It does sound like this is a way for you to release anxiety. Although it has always been present in you since childhood, stressful times probably bring it out even more.


Can you put your hair back in a bun so you do not have access to it? What about carrying arund one of those stress balls and squeezing it instead when you get the urge?


If it really starts to become a major problem for you, visit your campus counseling center and talk about it.


With Trichotillomania, many people have found relief through anti-anxiety medication, if nothing else worked,



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  • 2 weeks later...

I knew someone once that suffered from Trich. She had gone to the extreme of being almost bald and without eyelashes, eyebrows, or pubes. She was damaging herself to the point of mutilation.


I don't know if it will work for you, but she tried acupuncture and with regular (like 3 times a week) treatments, in about 6 weeks she was able to start controlling herself.


She wore little press needles (like a tiny needle on a band aid) over the pressure areas that helped her urges, and started a better sleep cycle. I saw her a few months ago with a full head of hair, albeit she keeps it really short so it is less of a temptation.

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