Trichotillomania and its clinical relationship to depression and anxiety
Trichotillomania (TTM) is associated with high rates of co-occurring depression and anxiety disorders. What the co-occurrence of TTM, depression or anxiety disorders means clinically and cognitively, however, has garnered little research attention. About 530 adults with TTM were examined on a variety of clinical measures including symptom severity, psychosocial measures of functioning, psychiatric comorbidity and neurocognitive testing assessing motor inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Clinical features and cognitive functioning were compared between TTM patients with current comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD), a current anxiety disorder, both MDD and an anxiety disorder, or neither.
Of 530 participants, 10.3% had MDD only, 18.3% had an anxiety disorder only, 10.3% had both MDD and an anxiety disorder, and 59.8% had neither. For almost all clinical measures, those with MDD only reported worse symptoms than those with an anxiety disorder only, and the combination of MDD and an anxiety disorder reported the worst level of symptom severity. These results suggest that adults with TTM and co-occurring MDD and anxiety disorders exhibit unique clinical differences. The clinical differences may also have treatment implications.