Challenges in the classification and treatment of trichotillomania

Philip T. Ninan, Charles Mansueto, Barbara O. Rothbaum, Richard L. O'Sullivan, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The behavioral syndrome of trichotillomania (TTM) is well characterized, but challenges pertaining to TTM remain in several areas, including diagnostic classification, assessment of severity, and determination of relevance of comorbid psychiatric disorders. Acute pharmacological studies have focused on serotonin transport inhibitors, and preliminary evidence suggests that inhibition of both serotonin and norepinephrine transporters (ie, by clomipramine and venlafaxine) provides a clinical improvement. Dopamine antagonists are promising agents in need of systematic evaluation in TTM. Cognitive-behavioral therapy appears to achieve a decrease in acute symptoms in many patients. However, longitudinal maintenance of benefits has not been rigorously tested with either pharmacological or behavioral therapy. Clinical impressions and treatment data indicate that achieving durability of treatment benefits remains a major challenge in many patients with TTM, although there is evidence of improved outcome with comprehensive multimodal treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalCNS spectrums
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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