How successful is behavior therapy for trichotillomania? In the small number of studies that have been done, results have been quite promising. Many experts who treat trichotillomania use behavior therapy and find that it is quite effective in either diminishing or eliminating hair pulling. Nonetheless, more research is needed to fully establish the effectiveness of behavior therapy and to define the specific techniques that are essential to its success.
After behavior therapy, some patients remain symptom-free for the rest of their lives, but many have recurrences from time to time. The most realistic expectation is that symptoms will be substantially reduced in both frequency and severity.
While successful behavior therapy requires hard, consistent work, the payoff can be great. Just as penicillin must be taken properly to combat bacterial infections, behavior therapy must be done according to a prescription (arrived at by a therapist and patient) to effectively treat trichotillomania.