(SANTA CRUZ, CA– AUGUST 1, 2022)
The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) is sharing its support of National Hair Loss Awareness Month celebrated in August. Over 80 million individuals experience hair loss every year, with 40% of those experiencing hair loss being women. Individuals who experience hair loss can also include those who have a BFRB called trichotillomania, also known as hair pulling disorder.
Hair pulling disorder usually begins in late childhood/early puberty and occurs about equally in boys and girls. By adulthood, 80-90% of reported cases are women. Hair pulling varies greatly in its severity, location on the body, and response to treatment. Without treatment, hair pulling disorder tends to be a chronic condition; that may come and go throughout a lifetime.
The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors is bringing awareness and support to an underreported and misunderstood group of mental health disorders that impacts approximately one in 20 Americans, with hair pulling being one of the most prevalent. Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors are complex medical diagnoses that affect children and adults alike, and often cause shame, isolation, and emotional distress. Yet despite their prevalence, these behaviors are rarely discussed in the general public.
“There are so many misconceptions around body-focused repetitive behaviors, which is why they go misdiagnosed, underreported and understudied,” said Dr. John Piacentini, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, TLC Board President and Scientific Advisory Board Chair. “They are often dismissed as bad habits or categorized as self-harming rituals, which they are not. There are tremendous consequences for not acknowledging these behaviors or misdiagnosing them, including depression, anxiety, and suicide for those affected.”
Fortunately, the stigma and shame around these behaviors is starting to change, thanks in part to recent advocacy by comedian, writer, and actress Amy Schumer, who has experienced hair pulling since she was a child. In episode 9 of her Hulu dramedy, “Life & Beth,” which is based on her own life, she wrote an accurate portrayal of hair pulling in a flashback to her teenage years. At the end of the Hulu episode, viewers were directed to TLC Foundation’s website as a resource for support and information.
National Hair Loss Awareness Month further allows others to learn about hair loss and to lessen the shame that comes with losing hair for any reason. In addition, this month allows a period of reflection in regard to traditional beauty standards with hair.
In August, TLC is hosting a series of free, online events tailored to a variety of audiences to help destigmatize hair pulling and other associated behaviors, share resources and support, answer questions through medical experts, build community, and provide a pathway forward to managing these conditions. Visit TLC’s website for times and details at www.bfrb.org.
August 15 TLC Together: BFRB Brave Books
August 24 TLC Talks: Back to School with BFRBs
About the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors
The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors is a 501(c)3 health-related human services organization dedicated to supporting the 1-in-20 individuals experiencing body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) through advocacy, awareness, connection, health education, celebration, and equitable access to effective evidence-based treatments. To learn more, visit www.bfrb.org.
To learn more about hair pulling and other body-focused repetitive behaviors, download TLC’s Expert Consensus Treatment Guidelines.