Trichotillomania, the Urge to Pull Hair, Starts for 200 to 400 Children Daily

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Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) impacts 2-4% of children and adults. To date there has been little information written from the perspective of hair pullers and only a few people have stepped forward to admit they live with this puzzling compulsive disorder. A new book, titled Urges, has made a difference for some teenagers and adults as they have read this book of hope and inspiration.

It's like half the things he said in one chapter was my whole life story.

The mysterious urge to pull hair impacts 2-4% of children and adults, based on research studies. Every day in the U.S., some 200 to 400 children and teens begin hair pulling, and there is no known cure.

To date there has been little information written from the perspective of hair pullers about this compulsive disorder, named trichotillomania. Since nearly all people who are compulsive hair pullers live shamefully in silence, there are few people who have stepped forward to admit they live with this puzzling compulsive disorder.

A new book written by a man who began pulling his hair at the age of six has just been released. This book, by Gary Hennerberg, chronicles his deep thoughts as a child and teenager about living with this disorder. Titled Urges, this book has been written as hope and inspiration for teenagers and adults with trichotillomania and other compulsive disorders.

The book has already had a profound influence on at least one teen-ager who recently read the first chapter before the book was completed. "Stephen" is 16, and like the book's author, started pulling his hair as a child. Stephen said "It's like half the things he said in one chapter was my whole life story." Stephen sent a text message to one of his high school teachers asking if he could read parts of the first chapter to his classmates. Up until that point, he had not shared with his classmates why he wore caps to school and had no hair. The words in the book were Stephen's chance to explain the disorder to other teens and tell them what was going on his mind, which largely mirrored what Hennerberg had written in his book. Stephen says that reading the book has changed his life.

"After I finished reading that part of the book, I explained to my classmates why it was important to me. After everything was said and done, they all clapped for me and I never felt prouder of myself," said Stephen. "This book had an amazing impact on me, and it will on millions of others."

The book has drawn praise from many in the trichotillomania community. The Foreword for Urges was written by Christina Pearson, Founder of the Trichotillomania Learning Center in Santa Cruz, CA.

"More individuals like Gary are stepping up to share their personal experiences with this misunderstood and often misdiagnosed disorder," said Pearson. "Ultimately, this will help others come to terms with their own struggles in healthier ways, and lay the groundwork for what I hope will be a public awareness paradigm shift."

The book is not written by a medical professional, but rather is a personal and intimate account of a man who has coped with the disorder through most of his life. It opens with the incident that prompted Hennerberg to begin pulling his hair. In this story, he reveals his intimate thoughts and questions about why he has trichotillomania (also called "trich" or TTM).

In this book, Hennerberg shares three approaches he has used to co-exist with trichotillomania: his faith, self-acceptance, and discovering his gifts and talents. Using stories of his childhood while growing up on farms near the Nebraska and Kansas borders, he shares life lessons that have enabled him to cope and accept hair pulling. As a child, he thought he was the only person who pulled his hair. The book weaves stories of lessons learned while in 4-H, family life on a farm, and ultimately how he accepted himself and decided to go public with his story when he stopped covering his bald spots with a hairpiece and decided to shave his head.

Urges is now available online at http://www.Manage-Trich-Urges.com and at Amazon.com.

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Gary Hennerberg

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