BACKGROUND: Many patients suffering from trichotillomania (TTM) have never undergone treatment. Without treatment, TTM often presents with a chronic course. Characteristics of TTM individuals who have never been treated (untreated) remain largely unknown. Whether treatment history impacts Internet-based interventions has not yet been investigated. We aimed to answer whether Internet-based interventions can reach untreated individuals and whether treatment history is associated with certain characteristics and impacts on the outcome of an Internet-based intervention.
METHODS: We provided Internet-based interventions. Subjects were characterized at three time points using the Massachusetts General Hospital Hairpulling Scale, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire.
RESULTS: Of 105 individuals, 34 were untreated. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was markedly impaired in untreated and treated individuals. Symptom severity did not differ between untreated and treated individuals. Nontreatment was associated with fewer depressive symptoms (P=0.002). Treatment history demonstrated no impact on the outcome of Internet-based interventions.
CONCLUSION: Results demonstrate that Internet-based interventions can reach untreated TTM individuals. They show that untreated individuals benefit as much as treated individuals from such interventions. Future Internet-based interventions should focus on how to best reach/support untreated individuals with TTM. Additionally, future studies may examine whether Internet-based interventions can reach and help untreated individuals suffering from other psychiatric disorders.