Supplements

Scientific studies have shown time and time again that the best treatment for trichotillomania is a combination of both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supplementation. If treatment only consists of CBT, it will take a much longer time to reduce pulling, since there is still that chemical craving in the brain that is compelling one to pull.

By combining CBT with supplmentation, results come at a much faster rate. Massive improvement may be seen by the second week. In contrast, CBT alone may take many months of practice and patience to begin seeing results. The following supplements are the most promising of all the different supplements that have been recommended for trich. They all have a scientific basis and have been cited in many scientific study papers.

Numerous recent and current clinical trials are finding that N-Acetyle Cysteine’s (NAC) is very effective in reducing the urge to pull.  NAC works by stabilizing the glutamate neurotransmitter; a chemical which triggers excitement. NAC’s effectiveness was recently demonstrated in the study, ‘N-Acetylcysteine, a Glutamate Modulator, in the Treatment of Trichotillomania A Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study‘, Jon E. Grant, et al. The abstract contains the following summary of the clinical trial:

“Patients assigned to receive N-acetylcysteine had significantly greater reductions in hair-pulling symptoms as measured using the Massachusetts General Hospital Hair Pulling Scale…  Significant improvement was initially noted after 9 weeks of treatment.”

One of the root causes of trich is an ongoing and persistent battle with stress and anxiety. If you suffer from depression, anxiety or stress, 5-HTP should be the first thing on your list to get. 5-HTP is a nutural supplement that is great at helping people deal with these feelings. Since the 1980’s, 5-HTP has had numerous scientific studies done on it and they have all shown that 5-HTP is extremely effective at reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The best part is that 5-HTP is natural and cheap, unlike other synthetic antidepressants such as zoloft, prozac, paxil, etc. Being a natural supplement, 5-HTP  doesn’t cause the abundant side effects seen in synthetic antidepressants.

Vitamin B6 should be used alongside 5-HTP as it is shown to increase the effectiveness in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms. To keep it short, 5-HTP needs abundant amounts of B6 to efficiently convert into serotonin (5-HT) in the brain. The image below shows 5-HTP’s conversion process. The 2nd step shows AAAD and PLP (Vitamin B6)  being used in the conversion to serotonin. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with serotonin, in a nutshell – it helps the brain heal itself and it contributes to feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

The dosages recommended below are completely safe for people over the age of 12 and are based on dosages given to patients in the studies mentioned above. Supplementation should be taken for 20 weeks in order to fully replenish the brains depleted stores of these nutrients. Rapid gains will likely be seen within the first two to three weeks. As always, please remember to consult with a doctor before beginning any new supplementation regiment.

WARNING: Do not take 5-HTP if you are currently taking another antidepressant / SSRI medication. Taking both at the same time might lead to a potentially life threatening reaction called Serotonin Syndrome. Ask your doctor / psychiatrist if you can switch to 5-HTP, since it is a natural way to increase levels of serotonin and is much better than the synthetic SSRI’s.

N-Acetyle Cysteine (NAC) – NOW Foods Nac-Acetyl Cysteine 600mg, 250 Vcaps

  • Week 1 dosage: take 1200 mg in the morning, then take 600mg 5 hours later.
  • Weeks 2 to 20 dosage: take 1200 mg in the morning, then take 1200 mg 5 hours later.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) – NOW Foods 5-HTP 100mg, 120 VCaps

  • Weeks 1 to 20 dosage: Take 100 mg in the morning with breakfast.

Vitamin B6 –Spring Valley – Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) 100 mg, 250 Tabs

  • Weeks 1 to 20 dosage: Take 100 mg in the morning with breakfast.

 

Remember, the best way to beat trichotillomania is to combine supplementation AND cognitive behavioral therapy. Both things are needed in order to most effectively defeat trich. The supplementation helps with the addictive and emotional nature of trich. CBT helps with the mental and physical tactics used to overcome trich. Do both and you will be amazed at how fast you will begin to improve.

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