Amy Schumer Reveals She Has the Hair-Pulling Disorder Trichotillomania: 'I've Carried So Much Shame'

The comedian and actress is sharing her struggle with the genetic disorder after including it in her semi-autobiographical new show Life & Beth

Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Amy Schumer is sharing for the first time that she has struggled for years with trichotillomania, a disorder that causes a compulsive need to pull out hair.

The comedian and actress, 40, has dealt with condition since she was in grade school, and once had to wear a wig to cover up her hair loss, she told The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview, posted Friday. It's a part of Schumer's life that she's opening up about after including it in her semi-autobiographical new show Life & Beth.

"I think everybody has a big secret and that's mine," she told the outlet. "And I'm proud that my big secret only hurts me, but it's been what I've carried so much shame about for so long."

Trichotillomania is considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder and the severity differs from person to person. The disorder, which makes people feel like they need to pull their hair and won't feel relief until they do, is chronic, but can be managed with behavioral therapies and medication.

In Schumer's case, as in Life & Beth, trichotillomania surfaced during a difficult time — for Schumer it was when her dad declared bankruptcy and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her mom left him for her best friend's dad. Schumer picked out enough of her hair that she had to wear a bad wig to school, "and everybody knew" it was a wig, she said.

Her trichotillomania has continued through adulthood, Schumer said.

"It's not that I used to have this problem and now I don't," she said, "it's still something that I struggle with."

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And because the condition can be genetic, Schumer said she worries her 2½-year-old son Gene will have it too.

"Every time he touches his head I'm having a heart attack," she said.

Schumer is hoping that by finally talking about her trichotillomania and including it in the show, she might find some relief. She also hopes it could provide comfort to others dealing with the same issue. The episode of Life & Beth that focuses on the disorder directs anyone suffering from it to check out the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

"I really don't want to have a big secret anymore," she said. "And I thought putting it in there would be good for me to alleviate some of my shame and maybe, hopefully, help others alleviate some of theirs, too."

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