- Amelia Mansi developed trichotillomania due to lockdown, says her mother
- Hair-pulling condition has left eight-year-old girl in Bristol nearly bald
- One in 50 people suffer from this disorder, which can be triggered by stress.
Her family claims that an eight-year-old girl has been nearly bald after the stress of the pandemic and the disruption in school, causing a hair-pulling abnormality.
Bristol’s Amelia Mansi first started tearing her eyelids last April after becoming distressed during the nationwide lockdown.
She then proceeded to pull the hair on her head, according to her mother, Gemma, who believes it was a result of not being able to see friends and family.
Amelia was eventually diagnosed with trichotillomania over the phone after struggling to get a face-to-face appointment with a GP.
But despite her diagnosis and return to schools, the child has not been able to shake the habit.
Trichotillomania, thought to affect one in 50 people to varying degrees, causes people to develop a strong impulse to pull out their hair. It is similar to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and is usually triggered by stress, anxiety, or trauma.
Amelia now has only a few long hairs on the back of her head and she won’t leave the house without wearing a bandana or a wig.
Ms Mansi said: ‘Watching her go through this phase has been as emotional as her mother.
‘I know she’s still beautiful and wonderful, but I feel so sorry for her when I’m washing her head.’
Her mother said Amelia has been targeted by bullies for her hair loss since returning to school earlier this year and children’s struggle to access mental health services due to the backlog accumulated during the Covid crisis. has done.
Bristol’s Amelia Mansi had long hair before the second COVID lockdown last winter (left), but after pulling her eyelashes during the first lockdown, she proceeded to pull the hair on her head until she was nearly bald Done and left with a few long strands of hair on the back of her head (right, pictured in August)
Amelia (pictured this month) pulled ‘almost all of her hair on her head’ and was diagnosed with the hair pulling disorder trichotillomania, which is usually triggered by stress
Amelia’s mother Gemma said her daughter seemed calm about her hair-pulling habit when it was less noticeable, but now ‘doesn’t have the confidence to leave the house without a bandana or wearing her wig’
Ms Mansi said Amelia’s ‘biggest concern is what people will think of her and if she will be bullied which triggers her even more’
The NHS says the condition is most common in teenage girls and young women and can feel like an addiction.
The first signs of Amelia’s condition were pulling her eyelids last year a month into the first lockdown, which her mother believes was triggered by coronavirus restrictions.
Ms. Mansi said: ‘She was everywhere with what was happening with her school because it was so disorganized because of the sudden lockdown that no one was prepared for it.
‘She couldn’t see her friends and family, the stress of homeschooling with mom and dad who are not teachers. It was just a huge change for him.’
What is Trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that causes sufferers to repeatedly, impulsively pull their hair out at the root.
Sufferers often feel high levels of tension and a strong urge to stretch, followed by pleasure or relief when it is done.
The condition can be caused by stress or anxiety, a chemical imbalance in the brain similar to obsessive compulsive disorder, or changes in hormone levels during puberty.
Women are most commonly affected by the condition, usually starting between the ages of nine and 13.
Treatment focuses on therapy that records what a person’s triggers are and how to overcome them. One in 50 people (0.5 to 2 percent of the population) suffer from trichotillomania to varying degrees.
Her mother said that when Amelia began to remove some eyelashes, she “didn’t try to think too much about it”, but her daughters had no eyelashes.
And Amelia’s habit kept on growing and during the winter lockdown she started pulling hair from her head.
The back of his head was left with a bald patch, which he didn’t mind initially as it was not visible.
But the eight-year-old’s condition got so bad that she has since pulled out ‘almost all the hair on her head’, Ms Mansi said.
And while she initially seemed calm about her hair-pulling habit, Amelia ‘no longer has the confidence to leave the house without wearing a bandana or her wig’, Ms Mansi said.
She continued: ‘Amelia knows she’s doing it but she doesn’t like talking about it.
‘I try to distract him to stop doing it and I’ve learned not to push so hard when I catch him doing it by telling him to stop.
‘It is very emotional to see her going through this phase as her mother.
‘I know she’s still beautiful and wonderful, but it makes me so sad for her when I’m washing her head.
‘She is a happy, sweet and clever little girl, but it has changed her personality.
‘She is not inclined to socialize and isolate herself, whereas before anyone she would talk and befriend.
‘And she comes home from school and tells me that older girls are saying terrible things about her hair.
Amelia pictured before pulling her hair out. One in 50 (0.5 to two percent) people suffer from hair-pulling disorder, which usually involves hair removal on their head, eyebrows or eyelashes.
Amelia’s mother said that she is a ‘happy, sweet and clever little girl’, but the situation has changed her personality. ‘She is unwilling to socialize and isolate herself, whereas before she talks…