Dr. Regine Diamond, LCSW (Psychotherapist)Specialist in Medical Hair Loss Stress

Ms. Diamond received the Master in Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from Barry University in Miami Shores, FL. and her training and clinical experience in mental health counseling include service at the Broward County (FL) Department of Children and Family Services, Rader Institute (Hollywood, FL), and North Ridge Medical Center (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Her past professional experience includes seven (7) years as an associate at the OCD Resource Center of Florida. Ms. Diamond holds a Florida License in Clinical Social Work (FLSW 5503).

She has, since 1999, been in private practice specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders (including General Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia and Trichotillomania). Ms. Diamond is a professional member of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and the Trichotillomania Learning Center.

Her therapeutic style is to work with you in an interactive, collaborative and constructive manner — emphasizing both insight and action. She understands that persons with hairloss caused by medical conditions & treatments and Trichotillomania often feel misunderstood, even by mental health care professionals. Her clinical experience will provide you with effective treatment in a non-judgmental, supportive and caring manner using proven techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Exposure Therapy, Mindfulness & Inference Based Therapy), Habit Reversal Training and Relaxation Training.

Ms. Diamond has two South Florida office locations (Weston & Hollywood), with flexible office hours including daytime, evening and Saturday appointments. To learn more about her practice, please visit: www.RegineDiamond.com.


Hair Loss Conditions & Psychological Impact and Treatment

Trichotillomania (TTM) or Hair Pulling Disorder
A complex neurological behavior disorder, currently affecting approximately 2-5% of the population. It is characterized by repetitive pulling of one’s hair (from anywhere on the body) including eye brows and eye lashes. The resulting bald patches, depending on their location and severity, produce significant distress or impairment to the patient’s life.

Hair pulling varies greatly in its severity, location on the body, and response to treatment. For some people, at some times, trichotillomania is mild and can be quelled with a bit of extra awareness and concentration. For others, at times the urge may be so strong that it makes thinking of anything else nearly impossible.

Some data suggests that some people may have an inherited predisposition to this behavior and while it is currently defined as an impulse control disorder there are still questions about how it should be classified.

Treatment
People suffering from TTM often respond well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Habit Reversal Training, performed by a psychotherapist who specializes in this method and is experienced in the treatment of TTM. The treatment modalities include developing skills such as self-awareness techniques, relaxation and stress management.


Alopecia Areata
A condition that causes hair loss, primarily, on the scalp and sometimes other parts of the body. It is believed to be caused by an abnormality of the immune system which causes the body’s immune system to attack the hair follicles. Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the course of alopecia areata. Sometimes, alopecia occurs within family members, suggesting a genetic component.

Treatment
Typically, hair regrows within a year without treatment. Steroid injections, creams, and shampoos may be used during treatment. Supportive therapy is often encouraged.


Cancer.
Some cancer treatments may cause the loss of some or all of your hair (alopecia). For instance, while chemotherapy attacks rapidly-growing cancer cells, some chemotherapy drugs may also damage healthy cells, such as hair follicles. The loss of hair may include scalp, facial, axillary, pubic and body hair. Radiation therapy may cause hair loss in the area that is treated.

Treatment
Fortunately, hair will almost always grow back after treatment is complete. Regrowth usually occurs in six to eight weeks after completion of therapy. It is common for hair to grow back a slightly different color and texture at first.


Psychological Impacts of Hair Loss

Whether fighting cancer, or dealing with body focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) diagnosis, it is not uncommon to experience psychological distress. The challenges of treatment, or continued worry about a recurrence, emotions brought on by the experience can be difficult to handle.

The range of emotions include, but are not limited to:

  • Shock/Disbelief
  • Fear/Uncertainty
  • Guilt
  • Grief/Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger/Frustration
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Vulnerability/Helplessness

Psychological care is normal and necessary, and is an integral part of cancer and BFRB care. Addressing your psychological well-being can help you feel more relaxed and in control, cope better during treatment, overcome anxiety and depression, and enjoy your life.


Tips for Improving Your Psychological Well Being

  • Try not to generalize. A cancer or BFRB diagnosis means something different to each individual. Your experience is unique to you.
  • Feel free to talk about your feelings. Reach out to family and friends, other cancer survivors or people in treatment.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Make your needs a priority, rest, nutrition, exercise, and private time.
  • Seek professional counseling, including individual, couple, family, and/or group therapy with a psychotherapist who has experience and expertise in the treatment of your condition.

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