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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Infected hair on scalp

12/18/2008

Question:

I keep getting these bumps on my head that hurt. I will pull the hair out in the middle of bump and the hair has a clear surrounding around the root. It kinda hurts when I pull it. The bump seems to go away in couple days. But I tend to keep pulling hair b/c my head hurts. Then I end up with bald stops. I don`t know if its caused by stress. I do pull my eyelashes out, which i`ve done since high school. How do I get these bumps to go away.

Answer:

Answering your question, how do I get these bumps to go away, is really two answers.  You will get these bumps to go away when you stop pulling out your hair.  The harder question is, how do I stop pulling out my hair.

by your description, pulling out hair for years and also your eyelashes, I'm guessing (since I cannot diagnose over the internet) that you might have a mild compulsive disorder (or an impulse control disorder) where you keep doing something (like pulling out your hair) even when you know it is not good for you and can be causing you harm.  The hair pulling variation on this is called trichotillomania.  
See if the description seem to apply to you. 

There is treatment for trichotillomania -- both medications (like antidepressants) and therapy (like cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT), however your first step is to get assessed by medical professionals to get accurately diagnosed.  I would recommend you see your primary care doctor for an evaluation first (make sure there is no skin problem underlying this) and then perhaps with a mental health specialist.

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati