6.5 years in 4 minutes: young women dealing with hair loss condition.
If you thought you needed to take it easy with the selfies, this young woman took 2100 over 6.5 years. You watch Rebecca as a young 14 year old go through not only the trials and tribulations of adolescent life, but also through the stages of developing major depressive disorder and trichotillomania.
Trichotillomania is a condition where an individual feels the compulsive urge to pull out, and in some cases eat, their hair. A recently published paper by van Velzen and colleagues (2014) reviews the current knowledge of trichotillomania. It is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) thought to involve structural and functional abnormalities in specific brain pathways dependent on dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline signals.
In everyday life situations we are able to stop ourselves from performing an inappropriate action thanks to the ‘motor inhibition response’. Such an intense urge, for example to pull out one’s own hair, is difficult to control in those suffering from trichotillomania. Sufferers usually feel a sense of relief afterwards but can also develop feelings of guilt and embarrassment.
This time-lapse video provides the viewer with a sneak peek into Rebecca’s crucial years and the effects of depression and trichotillomania on her appearance and facial expressions.
A picture really can be worth a thousand words.
To delve deeper into Rebecca’s experience with trichotillomania, you can visit her online journal.
van Velzen LS, Vriend C, de Wit SJ, & van den Heuvel OA (2014). Response inhibition and interference control in obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8 PMID: 24966828
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