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Hair-Pulling and Skin-Picking: Understanding Hidden Behavioral Disorders

10th Annual Awareness Week for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors Includes Events in LA


October 4, 2016


Trichotillomania (trick-o-till-o-may-nee-uh) (TTM or "trich"), also known as Hair Pulling Disorder, is characterized by the repetitive pulling out of one's own hair.

The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors expects to reach more people than ever with its 10th annual Awareness Week for hair pulling, skin picking, and related disorders.

From October 1-7, 2016, The Foundation aims to empower and support the 15 million Americans (and millions more globally) who struggle with body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), and to promote knowledge and understanding of these common disorders among the public.

At least 2 out of 50 people have trichotillomania (hair pulling), excoriation (skin picking), and related BFRBs. Those with BFRBs experience uncontrollable urges to pull out their hair, pick their skin, and engage in other damaging behaviors. Despite their high prevalence, BFRBs are largely misunderstood; few are familiar with the disorders, and even fewer understand how to treat them. BFRBs are disorders of isolation that create feelings of shame, anxiety, and intense sadness. Because most sufferers are too ashamed to seek help, some 70 percent of people with a BFRB have never received treatment.

Last year's Awareness Week reached over 1.15 million people on Facebook alone.

The 2016 Awareness Week campaign promises to engage the larger public in understanding, support, and empowerment related to BFRBs. Katie Koppel, a member of the foundation's Millennial Task Force, says, "2 out of 50 people have a BFRB, but 50 out of 50 people struggle with feelings of sadness and low self-esteem; we all conceal parts of ourselves from others."


Excoriation Disorder, also known as skin picking disorder or dermatillomania, is characterized by the repetitive picking of one's own skin.

"Much of the suffering experienced by those of us with a BFRB is caused by shame we feel about the disorder, and that is curable now," says Jennifer Raikes, Executive Director of The TLC Foundation for BFRBs. "By raising awareness about BFRBs, we can end the isolation and suffering that are so prevalent with these disorders."

To get involved, watch and share the campaign video at The Foundation will hold live chats with members of the BFRB community at Community events will take place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, as well as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. A complete calendar of BFRB Awareness Week events, which include a joint campaign with The Mighty, can be found at

To learn more about BFRBs, visit or use hashtag #notalone on social media.


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