An eight-year-old girl has become almost bald after pulling out her hair due to stress.
Little Amelia Mansi began plucking her eyelids in the Corona virus lockdown a month ago and soon moved on to having her hair removed.
Now back at school, Amelia also had to deal with cruel thugs who ridiculed her for her condition.
Amelia’s mother, Jemma, 37, believes that the pressure of the corona virus lockdown can trigger Amelia’s hair pulling condition, called trichotillomania.
Trichotillomania is where one cannot resist the urge to pull one’s hair in response to a stressful situation.
Since pulling out all her hair, Amelia has virtually no hair left except for a few long strands at the back of her head, and she no longer leaves the house without a tie or wig.
Gemma explained that her daughter was “everywhere” with the school because of the trauma of the epidemic.
She added: “She couldn’t see her friends and family, the pressure of home schooling with mom and dad who are not teachers. It was a big change for her.
“I noticed for the first time that a few of her eyelids had been missing for about a month in the first lockdown.
“I tried not to think too much of it, but in the end there were no eyelids left.
“It got worse, and then during the winter lockdown, I saw her pulling her hair.”
After a while, Gemma explains that some hairless patches are beginning to appear on the back of Amelia’s head.
It wasn’t visible at the time, and Jemma thought her daughter wasn’t too worried about it.
He added: “Things are still going on and Amelia’s hair has become so bad that she has pulled out almost all of her hair.
“Before, he had hair just below his shoulders, and now he has a few short hairs above his head and some long hair at the back.”
What is trichotillomania?
People of all ages and genders can be bald, with hair loss due to hereditary, genetic and compulsive conditions.
Trichotillomania, also called trichomoniasis, is a condition where one cannot resist breaking one’s hair, TV personality Sam Fayers revealed that he is suffering from it.
The NHS website describes it as a condition where patients cannot cope with the urge to pull their hair.
But not only their hair but also their eyebrows, eyelids, beard and navel hair are targeted.
It is more common in girls than in boys, and affects mostly teenagers and young adults.
The urge to pull hair intensifies until they do, which gives them temporary relief.
It can also be done unconsciously, where the person does not know he is doing it.
It can cause baldness, uneven spots on the scalp or thinning hair in some areas.
There is no single cause of treachery, but some people can use it as a way to deal with anxiety or stress.
It can also be caused by changes in hormone levels during puberty, or by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
In some cases it can be classified as a form of self-harm.
When her hair seemed to fall out, Gemma said that Amelia had been left behind, but now, she was not confident of leaving the house without a wig or tie.
Gemma said: “Amelia knows she’s doing this, but she doesn’t like to talk about it.
“I try to distract him from doing it, and I have learned not to put so much pressure on him when I catch him doing it.
“It was very emotional to see her as her mother. I know she is still beautiful and amazing, but when I wash her head, I feel very sorry for her.”
Gemma calls her daughter a ‘happy, cute, smart little girl’, but says the situation has changed her personality.
She added: “She doesn’t want to be social and isolates herself, even before she talks and befriends anyone.
“And she came home from school and told me that the older girls had been talking horrible things about her hair.
“Her biggest concern is what people will think of her and if she does bullying that will make her even more motivated. Trying to get her help has also been very stressful.”
Gemma says it has been difficult for Amelia to find a cure for her hair loss.
Amelia visits a school therapist weekly, and Gemma pays privately to see a hypnotherapist each week in an effort to help her daughter.
He said: “I tried to contact my GP several times but we were told that she would get out of the habit when she returned to school after the summer holidays.
“I didn’t want to risk it getting worse than before. It could also be referred to CAHMS, but it’s very difficult to see children because there is such a backlog.
“It’s very difficult to meet with a GP, I’m always trying to make a phone call appointment.
‘I can do everything’
He explained that Amelia also had fudge toys to help her.
Gemma added that the situation is such that she thinks she will stay with Amelia for the rest of her life. He said: “I just need to know that I did my best to help her.
“There is very little support for this condition and although many people suffer from it, not much is known about it.
“Her school has been as helpful and supportive as she could have been during the lockdown and now she is back at school. What makes it difficult is the lack of knowledge and awareness about trichotillomania.
“My main priority is to help Amelia regain her confidence and accept who she is. She’s beautiful no matter what.”
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