Almost everyone of us sometimes in thought playing with her hair, but for some people it becomes a compulsive disorder, and ends with a widow's peak irregular shape of the head and plucked eyebrows. Trichotillomania is relatively rare (1-4% of the population) compared with, say, a nail-biting, but this state is described in different cultures and even animals.
Women trichotillomania noted more frequently than men. The causes of this condition are unknown, appears to have a genetic predisposition. Most people are ashamed of their habit to pull out his hair and eyebrows, and is survived by her alone, wearing a wig in public and tinting eyebrows. Many patients feel guilty about what cannot stop destructive behavior.
To date, obsessive-compulsive disorder treated with antidepressants that help is not good enough, psychological counseling, which does not help everyone, and behavioral therapy.
A study conducted by a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota, John Grant, acetylcysteine was effective in slightly more than half the subjects. Some of them were less likely to pull hair, and some - stop doing it altogether.
Some time ago, it was hypothesized that the cause of compulsive disorders can be glutamate - a substance associated with the processes of stimulation, motivation and reward in the brain. Grant decided to try to suppress glutamate by chemical means, and his choice fell on acetylcysteine - an amino acid that is not part of cooking, and serves as an inhibitor of glutamate. Of all the obsessions, he chose trihollomaniyu because, according to scientists, this state, and these patients are paying unjustifiably little attention.
To participate in the study, Dr. Grant has invited 50 patients with trichotillomania. Half of them received NAC (at 2.4 g / day), half - a placebo. After 3 months in 56% of participants taking the drug, a marked improvement compared with only 16% - in the placebo group.
"It certainly is not a complete victory - says Grant - because the drug helped only half of the participants, but it is an important step on the long path, as the first time in the study showed that reducing an amount of substance in the brain facilitates the obsessive-compulsive disorder." According to him, the reason for the ineffectiveness of acetylcysteine in some patients lies in individual differences in metabolism.
Results of the study John Grant published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry "(Archives of General Psychiatry), and in the meantime at Yale University launched a major study of acetylcysteine, aimed at testing its effectiveness as a means of trichotillomania.
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