sleep hairA British woman has been pulling her own hair out during her sleep for the past 25 years and has become terrified that she will become completely bald.

Kelly Lacey, 36, says that she frequently wakes up with her hands covered in blood, after pulling at her hair during the night. This is a result of the condition Trichotillomania, where a person feels compelled to pull their hair out.

What Is Trichotillomania?

The condition is not only restricted to the hair on their head, sufferers may also pull out their eyelashes or eyebrows as well. It is an impulse-control disorder, a psychological condition where the person is unable to control him or herself from carrying out a specific action.

The result is an intense urge to pull their hair out and a sense of growing tension until they do. After pulling the hair out, it is then followed by a sense of relief but the result is bald patches.

What Causes It?

It isn’t actually known what causes trichotillomania, however there are several theories.

Some experts believe it is a type of addiction, whereby the more you pull your hair out, the more you want to continue to do so.

Others believe it can be a reflection of mental health problems, it is believed that hair pulling is a way of relieving stress or anxiety. It can even be a form of self-harm in some cases.

For Kelly, unfortunately the condition has resulted in a large bald patch that she covers with a wig. In her particular instance, a healthcare assistant of Watton, Norfolk, believes that the sexual assault she suffered as a child has left her traumatised – pulling her hair out is her only relief from this.

Kelly has said she can’t control it and others don’t understand why she doesn’t stop, “I just pull it out from the roots. Sometimes, I wake up and I am doing it and I don’t realise. It’s so automatic.”

She is desperate to stop the habit, before it leaves her completely bald. The condition is common in teenagers and young adults, affecting up to 4 in every 100 people.

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By Ian Watson

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