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General Parenting Issues The purpose of this forum is to discuss general parenting issues related to children with AD/HD(ADD & ADHD)

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  #1  
Old 02-25-10, 10:48 PM
litlcntrygrl litlcntrygrl is offline
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Unhappy trichotillomania and adhd

Is there any relation between the two? Are ADHDers more prone to it, or did I just get lucky and get a child with moderate to severe ADHD AND this?

For the past week or two, I've noticed my 9 year old son pulling at his hair. When I would say something about it, he would tell me it felt like there was something in it..."food or something". On more than one occasion I would tell him "Son, I JUST combed your hair, there's nothing in it!" I never noticed he was actually pulling it out until the after school teacher mentioned it today. I've had him in after school care for three weeks now, b/c although I can have him with me at work, I can't give him the attention he needs and he would end up not doing his homework or lying about it. I decided to put him in the after school care program his school offers, and it has really helped him. My husband has been picking him up, since I'm usually at work or on my way to school when it's time for him to get out, but I had to pay them today so I went. She asked me if he had a habit of pulling his hair, and I told her that I had noticed it, but that he had just started it. Then she told me he was actually pulling it out, and showed me a bald spot on the back of his head. She said she hadn't noticed it until today. It's a spot somewhere between the size of a nickel and a quarter.

On top of that, he recently stopped seeing his behavioral specialist because the particular medicaid health plan he's on couldn't work out an agreement with the largest hospital in the area and therefore that hospital is no longer accepting that health plan, except in emergencies. I called his family doctor, who he and his brother have been seeing since they were babies, and they said they would continue to accept it. I talked it over with the behavioral specialist and she said his family doctor could assume the ADHD med prescribing duties, so I decided to stick with him. So when I called to make an appointment they told me that they weren't going to be accepting his insurance plan much longer, because the doctor was having a hard time finding any specialists to refer patients to that weren't affiliated with the hospital. So now I have to call the behavioral specialists, find out what health plans they do take, educate myself on those plans and choose the best one for my children, make an appointment for him to see the behavioral specialist again, THEN find a family doctor or pediatrician that accepts the plan I choose, and I have to do all this before he loses anymore hair!

I'm sorry, I'm probably rambling at this point, but I am so ready to just give up. If his father was any kind of parent I would tell him he was going to have to live with him for a while for the sake of MY mental health. But, alas, his father is a horrible parent and Chris doesn't even want to spend every other weekend over there, much less live with him. I don't know why the hair pulling bothers me so much, but when I saw that bald spot on my baby's head....I just wanted to cry! I still feel like crying. I guess it's just a culmination of everything, I don't know, but I think I'm going to bed and hope that I can be calmer about everything after a good night's sleep.
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Old 02-26-10, 03:08 AM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

I'm really sorry to hear that lilcntrygrl. I'm assuming that trichotillomania means compulsive pulling out of the hair - that is too big of a word for me to know offhand what it means.

I don't suffer from that particular problem but I tend to have some OCD and perfectionist tendencies but I think those are just manifestations of my ADD - particularly exhibiting the trait of hyperfocusing. I would ask your doctor about it asap - I know that's not much help. I'm all about instant gratification and hate having to be patient. I hope things get better for you soon.
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Old 02-26-10, 07:44 AM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

its ocd low seratonin or a sign of deprssion
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Old 02-26-10, 08:03 AM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Or anxiety
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Old 02-26-10, 08:16 AM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

i sware one of these days , they ll admit that all these are either

1.linked or

2. different manifestations of the same issue
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Old 02-26-10, 12:44 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Thanks for the answers, I didn't include a definition because I assumed anyone who's child also had this problem or who knew of it wouldn't need one. I am going to get in touch with his behavioral specialist, but because of the insurance issue I don't know how much help she can give me until I switch health plans, which I can't do until the person
I left a message for calls me back and tells me what plans they take now! He just saw his family doctor for an earache that turned out to be a sore lymph node in his neck, and I hated to call them this soon after an appointment.

I do feel a little better today, and I apologize for the rant, but you all know how tiring it is dealing with a special needs child.
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Old 02-26-10, 02:53 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Ive had a similiar problem my whole life. I pick my cuticles so much they bleed and get infected. It wasnt for any reason in my mind. Sometimes I would be watching tv or driving and notice I was doing it. When I caught onto what adult adhd was I mentioned everything to my doctor. He did say it could be ocd but then compared it to "fidgeting" from adhd. I was never able to fully sit still. Maybe that could be the problem and adhd medication will help? I did it for about 10 years and recently just stoped. Possibly from the medication but I still catch myself doing it sometimes and stop myself so that just may be my willpower.
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Old 02-26-10, 03:16 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

this is interesting. My son will play with and pull at this hair when he reads but I've not known him to pull it out without meaning to (sometimes he does it playing). But he incessantly picks his cuticles and finger and toe nails. He's pulled all of his nails down to the quick and his cuticles are always ragged and red. I should mention this to his dr next time.
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Old 02-26-10, 03:20 PM
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http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr03/practice.aspx

best i could find

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/915057-overview

better

http://westsuffolkpsych.homestead.com/Inositol.html

this one says inositol may help

Last edited by Lady Lark; 02-27-10 at 12:35 PM..
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Old 02-26-10, 10:46 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Thanks dave, I called the specialist today to see what other medicaid health plans they accepted so I would know what to switch to, and from the automated menu (I hate those things), I chose the insurance and billing questions option. That got me an answering machine, so I left a message, explaining my son was a patient but that he was on the health plan they no longer accepted so I needed to know what they did accept. They close at 3:30 on Friday, so when I had not gotten a call back by 3:00, I called them back and they had already switched to their after hours recording. Now I have to wait until Monday to call them back. I think I'm going to call and leave a message for the specialist in regards to this, and maybe she can escalate things.

He gets a hard enough time in school as it is because of his ADHD, the last thing he needs is something else for the kids to make fun of him about. He'll be pulling even more hair out then!

Right now the only meds he is on are Vyvanse 40mg and 10mg of the generic Periactin (Cyproheptadine).
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Old 03-01-10, 11:38 AM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Why is you son taking the Periactin?
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Old 03-02-10, 01:19 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

It's probably for appetite. My son took it for a while as he was labeled FTT.

That's since gone, and so are the meds in our house. We did not have a good experience with it, but I've heard some good things about it. For us, as my son was a preemie, it's very common to go this course, but know many SN kids do too.

I may be worng about the reason, it's an antihistamine (sp) so there could be another reason (like allergies), but there are much more effective meds for that these days.
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Old 03-04-10, 01:28 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Yes, Periactin is for appetite and it is very commonly prescribed for ADHD children because the stimulants in their ADHD meds decrease appetite.

I took him to the doctor today, just his family doc, as it will be 30 days before the insurance switches over and he can see the behavioral specialist again. He said that the trichotillomania is commonly due to anxiety, which some of you have already said, and he prescribed 5mg Zoloft, and we are actually going to halve it for the first couple of weeks. In the mean time, we are going to talk to the principal at school and see if he can wear a ball cap to inhibit the hair pulling.
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Old 09-25-10, 10:11 AM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Hello,

I realize it's been a while since you posted, and I hope things are going well for your son (and you!).

If the trichotillomania is still a problem, you might find some of the resources at TLC (Trichotillomania Learning Center) to be helpful: http://www.trich.org/

In addition to some of the medications (all of which seem to have mixed results in trich), there are a number of behavioral strategies you can try. You've already discovered wearing a ball-cap.

There are some additional, more formal approaches, including one called "habit reversal therapy" (HRT, not to be confused with hormone replacement therapy!), that have shown modest success in treating trich. The basic idea of HRT is to become aware of the urge to pull, find a competing response -- i.e., something to keep your hands busy instead of pulling, practice it, and get feedback/support/encouragement from a family member or other person. It is described in more detail at the website above.

Keep us posted on how your son is doing. I hope the new school year will be a good one for him!

- Namazu

P.S. Sorry for the incorrect threading of this message! It was intended for the OP.

Last edited by namazu; 09-25-10 at 10:13 AM.. Reason: threading error
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Old 09-25-10, 12:52 PM
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Re: trichotillomania and adhd

Im not sure if people with ADD/ADHD are more prone to pulling out there hair. I do know that I have ADD and I pull out my eyelashes. Sometimes I will have bald spots even. Luckily I am a women and can fill it in with eyeliner so its not as noticeable. I have been doing good with the pulling so I have a full set of eyelashes right now! I notice it is worse when im wearing mascara.

I have read it has to do with stress, OCD and anxiety. I hope you find the answers you need. I know it is so hard to raise a child with special needs. My son as ADHD, and there were times where I just wanted to run away. Dont blame yourself, every mother of a child with ADD/ADHD, as probably felt like running away too at times. Its hard.

Hang in there hun
God Bless
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