International Journal of Trichology International Journal of Trichology
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 84-88

Trichotillomania ranging from “ritual to illness” and as a rare clinical manifestation of frontotemporal dementia: Review of literature and case report

1 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Thomas Gregor Issac
S 4, Old Kabini Hostel, Nimhans, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijt.ijt_100_17

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Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the most common form of dementia in the younger age group and often exists with comorbid obsessions and compulsions in up to 80% of the patients. Trichotillomania or compulsive “hair-pulling” disorder is a rare manifestation of FTD and is a poorly evaluated symptom in this condition. The release of “grooming functions” due to frontal disinhibition is often attributed to the evolutionary perspective; however, recent findings also implicate the role of neurotransmitter dysfunction. Trichotillomania is currently classified under obsessive and compulsive behavioral spectrum disorders and is often encountered in the younger population with research evidence of response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics, and newer drugs such as N-acetyl cysteine. The role of behavioral therapy also has robust evidence in trichotillomania. We herewith report the case of a middle-aged male patient who presented with features of personality change and behavioral problems in terms of anger, agitation, and disinhibitory behavior who on detailed clinical evaluation and radiological assessment had features consistent with behavioral variant of FTD along with compulsive “hair plucking” behavior which responded minimally with SSRIs. FTD can have features of trichotillomania which is an often overlooked and relatively uncommon manifestation of dementias. Treatment options such as N-acetyl cysteine and behavioral therapy could have potential utility in this degenerative condition hitherto at an earlier stage.

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