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Hazardous Alcohol Use in Trichotillomania.

Trichotillomania is a prevalent mental health condition characterized by repetitive hair-pulling. Its relationship to alcohol use problems has received virtually no research scrutiny. Adults with trichotillomania (n = 121) were recruited from the general community, along with 66 healthy controls for reference purposes (in terms of overall levels of hazardous drinking). Participants undertook structured clinical interview and completion of self-report instruments to characterize clinical profiles and associated characteristics. In the trichotillomania sample, we compared variables of interest between those with past-year hazardous alcohol use and those without. Of the 121 adults with trichotillomania, 16 (13.2%) scored ≥ 8 on the AUDIT indicating hazardous alcohol use as compared to 5 (7.5%) of the healthy controls - this difference was not statistically significant. In trichotillomania cases, past year hazardous drinking was associated with significantly higher trait impulsivity, but not with differences in the other variables that were examined. This study highlights the importance of screening for alcohol use problems in people with trichotillomania. More research is needed into this comorbid presentation, including work to explore the impact of hazardous alcohol use on clinical treatment outcomes, as well as how treatments might best be adapted to treat individuals affected by both disorders.

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