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04/10/2011 11:23 PM

My 8 yr old daughter pulls her eyelashes out

Posts: 15
New Member


I am new to this discussion. My husband and I have recently been informed by our 8 yr old daughter's neurologist that she has ocd, trich and tourette syndrome. What brought on all her tests, is that we starting noticing that her eyelashes we so scarce over the past year or so. She is also hoarding items from the recycle bin and is a perfectionist (which takes her a very long time to do anything). We are struggling with understanding why she would feel the need to pull her eyelashes out or pick excessively at her fingers and toes.

Our hearts go out to her and anyone who deals with this struggle. Is there any advice anyone can offer that can help us teach our daughter not to let this take her over and improve her confidence? We don't know any kids in our community that have this and she feels really alone and confused.

I'll do anything to help her through this journey...

Thanks in advance for advice or help with understanding this condition... It seems alot for an 8 yr old to go through.


04/11/2011 05:50 AM
Posts: 108

Hello MirandaSherry, and welcome to the group.

I can identify with the powerlessness you must be feeling with regards to your daughter. My name is Arie, and my wife has been suffering from a sever post partum ocd for the past couple of years, and as much as try to support her, I often feel powerless to truly help her through this.

Here are a couple of things I learned over the past couple of years of my wife's condition... I hope you find this information helpful in some way.

OCD in many of its forms is a manifestation of a chemical imbalance in the brain. I'm sure your daughter's neurologist can explain to you (or has already done so). Basically, the chemical imbalance induces fear and anxiety, which the brain tries to interpret, making it generate scary thoughts and images to try to reason to itself why it feels afraid, followed by actions (obsessions, compulsions, etc.) that are meant to distract the brain from the anxiety enough. This anxiety mitigation strategy that some brains pick, is a double-edged sword. It works, temporarily, to ward off the anxiety, but it causes its own damage (and not just physical). It can be also quite addictive, which is I believe is partly what makes it so hard to get rid of. But as long as the cause of the anxiety is not found and rooted out, all the brain can do is keep mitigating.

There is one thing you might want to look into, that you may have not yet. It's your daughter's nutrition. OCD, depression and anxiety have been linked to shortages of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Specifically, Serotonin, Gaba and Norepinephrine.

Serotonin, for example, is produced by the brain (and by the gut) by taking apart molecules of 5-HTP, which is in turn converted by the liver from the amino acid L-Tryptophan. Without that amino acid (or with lower amounts of that amino acid), there is no way for the body to generate enough Serotonin. Enriching your daughter's diet with Tryptophan-rich foods (for example, Bananas, Turkey, etc.) may help her be able to generate more Serotonin. Alternatively, there are nutritional supplements (like taking 5-HTP directly) that could be taken to achieve the same purpose. The pharmacological alternatives are Selective-Serotonin-Reabsorption-Inhibitors, which prevent the brain from reabsorbing the "used up" Serotonin molecules, thus, artificially changing the balance of Serotonin in the brain.

I would suggest to talk to a Naturopathic Doctor, as well as run a full blood test including CBC and Hormones (including Cortisol levels). It may help point at either a hormonal imbalance or a nutritional imbalance that may be corrected early enough for your daughter's OCD to pick up too many "habits" that are going to be harder for her to get rid of.

And the other, probably best "remedy" you can give her is your love and especially your understanding. People who suffer from OCD most commonly feel that they are ridiculed and misunderstood, which usually serves to make their condition worse. Please try to keep in mind that your daughter is not "acting out" or doing this on purpose. It can sometimes be hard to accept, especially when your daughter might be throwing a tantrum and appear to be trying to hurt you (or herself) verbally or physically.

Also try to keep in mind that trying to address OCD symptoms directly can be fruitless. Even if it works, if the root cause is still there, the brain may simply pick up other (usually much worse) "habits".

I sincerely hope you find a way to help get your daughter well again.

- Arie

04/11/2011 08:10 PM
Posts: 108

I'd like to add that it is not always about what goes in. Some times it is about what comes out as well.

I believe some of the fear and anxiety reaction by the brain could also be a response to high levels of toxicity in the blood, the liver, or the gut. If the liver is too toxic, then it's function of creating the necessary neurotransmitters would be impaired. There are some products on the market that can help with a liver detox (make sure you use only professional brands like Horne, Genestra, Douglas Labs, etc.) but a Naturopathic Doctor may be able to prescribe the right supplement and dosages for your daughter.

If the gut lining is too thick with residue, then the gut is less effective in the process of nutrient absorption. Sometimes doing a simple salt-water cleansing can help clear the gut from residue and increase nutrient absorption and general levels of energy.

Another thing that may help is encouraging your daughter to take on regular physical activity. Aerobic activity in the morning can help burn off excess Cortisol (which peaks in the early hours before waking) - the stress hormone.

If your ND prescribes 5-HTP for your daughter, you may need to know that 5-HTP has a hard time passing the blood-brain barrier, so taking even large dosages of 5-HTP may end up having little effect. However, if your daughter combines taking 5-HTP with strength exercises, such exercises require the body to send muscle building nutrients to the muscles involved, thus clearing an easier path for 5-HTP to enter the brain. Adding complex carbs may help further, since apparently these molecules are taken through the blood-brain barrier using carbohydrate transport molecules.

For foods that are rich with Tryptophan, you may find the following resources useful:

If you need me to clarify things I've written here, or just want to talk, please don't hesitate to send me a private message.

If you with to read up on this, there are two books I can recommend:

1. "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross.

2. "The Hormone Diet" by Natasha Turner.

- Arie

Post edited by: at100, at: 04/11/2011 08:25 PM

10/04/2012 07:18 PM
Posts: 1
New Member

Hi! I am 13 years old and have been struggling with pulling my eyelashes out since I was 7 or 8. I am proud to say I have beaten this habit! I didn't use anything special, just self control. Some things that have helped me is my mom told me, "Do you pull your eyelashes in front of your friends? (I said I didn't) If you have the control to not pull them out in front of your friends, you have the control to not pull them out anywhere." That really helped me. Tell her that SHE has control over her hands and what they do!

Another thing is I figured out if my hands were busy (knitting, playing with a piece of clay) I was less likely to pull. I realized the times I would pull them out was when I was watching TV or on the computer. I remember I wouldn't realize I was playing with my eyelashes sometimes. I had to tell myself, "NO!" when ever I tried to pull them.

A good habit for her to get into is for her to not even touch her face. I had to sit on my hands sometimes so I wouldn't do it.

And it helped me when my mom caught me pulling my eyelashes and would tell me to stop. Every person is different, so some of these might not work for your daughter.

It IS possible for her to stop! Tell your daughter she isn't ugly. She is a beautiful girl!

I hope this helps. Smile


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