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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 47  

"Trichotill" in the Testaments

President, The Hair Research Society of India, No. 10, Ritherdon Avenue, Vepery, Chennai - 600 007, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication7-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Patrick Yesudisan
President, The Hair Research Society of India, No. 10, Ritherdon Avenue, Vepery, Chennai - 600 007, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7753.160086

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How to cite this article:
Yesudisan P. "Trichotill" in the Testaments. Int J Trichol 2015;7:47

How to cite this URL:
Yesudisan P. "Trichotill" in the Testaments. Int J Trichol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Feb 7];7:47. Available from: https://www.ijtrichology.com/text.asp?2015/7/2/47/160086

A testament is a statement of belief. The most famous testaments are the two parts of the Bible: The Old and New Testaments. Many anecdotes of hair appear as an authoritative record in these testaments.

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder involving pulling of one's own hair. Pulling of other's hair is trichotillomania by proxy. Both Trichotill and Trichotill by proxy are depicted vividly in the Old Testament (The term "mania" is deleted for obvious reasons). In the Bible, hair pulling was carried out in anger, frustration, and as punishment.

There are two stories from the Old Testament one each on Trichotill and Trichotill by proxy. Both happened at the time when the Persian Empire (400 - 300 BC) was ruling the roost. Successive kings of the empire had a soft corner for the Israelites whom they were ruling.

Prophet Ezra was allowed to go to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. In the meantime Nehemiah, the cup bearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes got the news that the wall around the holy city of Jerusalem was in disrepair and gates were burnt. Hence, he was going around with the sad face. The king asked him what was wrong. When he heard the story the king was kind enough to give him permission, money, and manpower to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.

Both Ezra and Nehemiah repeatedly preached to the children of Israel that they should not marry outside their Hebrew community. But unfortunately, both the men and women and even the priests disobeyed and took non-Jewish partners. This annoyed both Ezra and Nehemiah.

Ezra responded thus: Ezra 9:3 "When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled" [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Prophet Ezra pulling his hair in frustration

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Nehemiah reacted differently: Nehemiah 13:25 "I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair."

So in these two holy men, we see Trichotill to be manifestations of frustration and anger and used as punishment. What Ezra did was Trichotill which is pulling one's own hair. But what Nehemiah did was Trichotill by proxy which is pulling other's hair.

As Sir Willam Osler said, "It is only by the historical approach, that many of the integral problems of medicine can be profitably solved." Depiction of hair and hair disorders described vividly in ancient texts, enable the dermato-trichologist to understand and analyze the human behavior changes from time to time that can indirectly help to solve the clinical mysteries.


  [Figure 1]


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