Testing a New Therapy for Trichotillomania

2014-07-24 14:13:51 | BioPortfolio


This study will test the effectiveness of a new behavioral therapy for adults with trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling).


Trichotillomania (TTM) is a disorder in which people compulsively pull out their own hair. Treatments for TTM sometimes do not have long-term effectiveness. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a therapeutic approach thought to have longer lasting effects than standard cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches, because ACT focuses on accepting thoughts and behaviors as opposed to changing them. Previous research indicates that a combination of ACT and habit reversal behavioral therapy is more effective than no treatment. This study will test whether a combination of ACT and behavioral therapy, called acceptance enhanced behavioral therapy (AEBT), is more effective than the current standard treatment for TTM.

Participation in this study will last 12 weeks, and follow-up assessments will last for 6 months. At study entry, participants will complete a brief intelligence test and an in-person interview about their medical history, psychiatric history, and hair pulling. At their second visit, participants will have digital pictures taken of their hair-pulling sites and complete two computer tasks measuring their response inhibition and cognitive flexibility. After the second visit, participants will be randomly assigned to receive either AEBT or psychoeducation and supportive therapy (PST)—a standard treatment for TTM. Both treatments will involve ten 1-hour sessions completed over 12 weeks. Assessments of participants will occur after 6 weeks of treatment, at treatment completion, and after 6 months. These assessments will measure treatment effectiveness, based on several clinical scales and measures of TTM symptoms. Participants who receive PST during this study will be offered AEBT afterward.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment




Acceptance enhanced behavior therapy (AEBT), Psychoeducation and supportive therapy (PST)


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
United States




National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:13:51-0400

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