Author Topic: SD for trichotillomania  (Read 385 times)

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Offline alisamamos

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SD for trichotillomania
« on: August 21, 2017, 01:24:58 PM »
Hi everyone! I have had trichotillomania (I compulsively pull out my hair) for about 14 years. I have tried a million different ways to stop and nothing has worked so far. I just found out that you can actually get a SD and they have been proven to help. I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with this? I still need to talk to my Dr about it but the appointment is still a few weeks away.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 02:00:26 PM »
It depends on whether or not you are aware you are pulling while you do it. If you know you are doing it but can't resist, a service dog won't be able to help. If you don't notice you are doing it but could control the impulse if you did notice, then a service dog might be trained to notify you with a nose poke when he notices you doing it.

The thing is the dog cannot make you stop doing something, only notify you when you are doing it. If you can't control it yourself when aware of it you'll only quickly untrain the dog and be back where you started but with a very expensive pet.
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Offline alisamamos

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 02:10:39 PM »
Most of the time I do it while focused on something else, like watching TV or reading. I won't really notice that I'm doing it until after the damage has been done.

Offline alisamamos

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 02:13:27 PM »
I should also add that it tends to get worse when I'm stressed or have anxiety.

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 07:09:43 PM »
Also, it would have to qualify as disabling (or be related to another disorder that is).

I pick at my skin and my dog is trained to notify me. It has really helped reduce scarring and bleeding.
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Offline Ariel

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2017, 07:56:53 PM »
I have dermatillomania, not trich, but will not stop until it is "right" so I specifically have not trained my current or previous service dogs to let me know I am picking. It would be nice if I would be able to stop if my dog pawed or nudged me, but I know I won't. When people tell me to stop I've got this feeling of "Ok, but hang on let me just get this part first!". Not worth introducing frustration and mistrust in a task just because I wish it would be useful but realistically will not be. So if you cannot stop as soon as someone says "Hey, quit pulling" then chances are you'll have as little success with a dog signaling you the same.
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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2017, 11:16:31 PM »
The only way to legally have a service dog is if you are disabled by your condition. You'll need a doctor to agree on this.

Of course, if you aren't disabled, you could still try to get a dog trained to notify you when you start pulling, but it won't be a legal service dog, meaning you won't have public access rights or the same potential accommodations in work, school, housing, and airports.


Then, of course, I second what Ariel and Kirsten have said about the usefulness of the task.
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Offline alisamamos

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 10:06:38 AM »
Ok, let me add a little more info. First, I definitely know what you mean by getting the "right" spot. I'd say maybe 80% of the time I'm not aware that I'm pulling, then the other 20% I am aware, but much less likely to do it if someone else is around, especially telling me not to do it.

On top of this I do have anxiety, depression and PTSD. The depression and PTSD are basically pretty well handled. The anxiety keeps getting better then getting worse. Yesterday I had to go out for a bit and my husband told me I was radiating anxiety.

I guess I want to ask, at what point does anxiety become a disability? I can force myself to drive or to make a phone call if I absolutely have to, but if I can help it, I won't. I am trying to get a job working from home, but I also have a child. So I can kind of get away with staying home and not doing much.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 10:41:13 AM »
A dog cannot/must not tell you not to do something. He can tell something is happening about which you are not aware (a sound if you are deaf, an obstacle if you are blind, a subconscious behavior, a scent you cannot discern).  Why is the distinction critical?  Only one member of the partnership is ultimately in charge and that must be the human. A dog has the cognitive processing ability of a 2.5 year old human child. You do not put a toddler in charge.  An adult human must be in charge. An ambiguous leadership confuses the dog and causes most dogs to experience anxiety which can result in fear biting. Inconsistent leadership damages training in any dog.

You must be able to make choices about your own behavior and execute/follow through with those choices of your own free will for a service dog partnership to work. If you need to be directed or controlled, then you need a human aide, not a dog. You must direct and control the dog, never the reverse, for the safety and functionality of the team (with a dog).

Anxiety becomes a disability when your mental healthcare provider(s) determine you are substantially limited in major life activities by it. Major life activities include walking, seeing, thinking, hearing, learning, using your hands, etc. However, emotional support, companionship, comfort, protection, etc are not work or tasks (ie not the function of service dogs).  So the question to ask yourself is whether your anxiety prevents you from doing something necessary that you currently ask someone else to do for you but that a dog might be able to do instead.
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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2017, 12:41:21 PM »
I guess I want to ask, at what point does anxiety become a disability? I can force myself to drive or to make a phone call if I absolutely have to, but if I can help it, I won't. I am trying to get a job working from home, but I also have a child. So I can kind of get away with staying home and not doing much.

This is a really tough question, especially with some disabilities where the line isn't very clear. I would talk to your health providers who have a very clear understanding of your medical condition and also the ADA's definition of disabled.

The problem is that it's really difficult for individuals to accurately judge themselves. There are some people who have internalized ableism who minimize their issues and don't believe that they are disabled when they actually might be, and there are others who feel like a condition is disabling when it isn't (by law). So it's definitely important to talk to your doctor about it.
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Offline alisamamos

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2017, 04:14:47 PM »
To clarify: I will be bringing it up to the Dr, but my appointment is still a ways away. The way I understand it, an ESA simply provides comfort, while a SD has trained tasks. I would expect the dog to be trained to recognize and interrupt the compulsive hair pulling. However I am not sure that trichotillomania itself is considered a disability.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2017, 06:03:45 PM »
Disability isn't determined by the diagnosis but by how the condition affects your ability perform major life activities.  Major life activities are not the same as daily life activities.  People confuse the two terms.  Major life activities are basic life functions, such as seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, walking, etc.

A disability is any impairment, regardless of what causes it, that substantially limits a major life activity.
http://servicedogcentral.org/content/qualify-for-service-dog
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Offline swimmergirl247

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Re: SD for trichotillomania
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2017, 06:59:56 PM »
I agree with everybody here. I pick at my face and press my eye's when stress. Teddy paws my leg when i do the different is I can really stop (even though eye pressing feels so good, its a blind thing, but causes damage)

I would also note in general YOU mentioned you conditions are generally under relative control and/or getting better

A lot of Doctors don't know all the "service dog/ESA lingo" so when you see your doctor I would FIRST act your doctor if in there opinion you are disabled by the traditional definition if they ask you question answer honestly, if then they think you are legally disable THEN if you feel its the right fit for you bring up the Service dog/ESA conversation. I say this because you also have to be disabled to have an ESA(living in not pet housing and being able to fly with them)

now if you just want a pet and are able to have a pet that you and the questions asked can be answered in favor of a dog helping then train them to do tons of things! training a dog is a great hobby bonding experience there is never any harm with giving a dog a home and training them well. dogs are build to work and learning and doing fun tricks/tasks keeps them busy in a different way then just playing or traditional forms of excersize   
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