First Support Groups to Help Sufferers of Hidden Mental Disorder

////First Support Groups to Help Sufferers of Hidden Mental Disorder

First Support Groups to Help Sufferers of Hidden Mental Disorder

Reneta Slikboer

Ian Scott PhD Scholar (2015-2017)
Swinburne University of Technology, Vic.

“Reward Sensitivity Theory in Trichotillomania”

“I constantly hear about their feelings of isolation and aloneness. Many individuals experience hair pulling for years incorrectly believing that they are the only ones who pull out hair.”

Reneta Slikboer has received a lot of media attention this year for her breakthrough research helping people with compulsive hair pulling disorder, Trichtillomania.

“Trich” is a psychological disorder that leads people to compulsively and uncontrollably pull out hair from the head, eyelashes, eyebrows, and other bodily areas. Although it affects 2-4% of the Australian population, it remains relatively unknown and misunderstood.

Reneta’s early research has been revolutionary in the treatment of Trichtillomania; when her team conducted a review of available treatments they showed that psychological therapies were more effective in reducing symptoms than prescribed medications, which has been almost soleley the treatment for Trich.

Reneta volunteered with the Anxiety Recovery Centre of Victoria (ARCVic) to set up Australia’s first ever support groups for Trichtillomania, and continues to volunteer as a support group facilitator. There are now monthly support groups running in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth, as well as online Facebook support groups.

People who experience Trichotillomania can now meet others to reduce their feelings of isolation, share tips for coping with hair pulling and encourage each other on their journey to recovery.