Glabermania (from Latin glaber, meaning hairless or smooth) is a term relating to the incontrollable craving for hair removal. As a result, a person suffering from glabermania has a physical and psychological urge to shave. Indeed, glabermania is also known as shaving addiction, but is not the only disorder associated with razors.
The obsession may be so compulsive that a glabermaniac may regularly remove all hair from their body. They may also have the desire to shave continually, resulting in multi-day or weekly episodes of full body shaving.
Glabermania is usually thought of as an addictive/mood disorder, though it also belongs to the obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum. It is not known how prevalent the condition is. Substance addictions have reached epidemic level in the past, and some believe there is a risk that glabermania may also become an epidemic.
Glabermaniacs are obsessed with the actual act of hair removal, rather than the effect. While they may be gratified by the pleasure of clean-shaven skin, individuals with glabermania are primarily driven by an overwhelming desire to experience the physical sensations surrounding the removal of hair. Most glabermaniacs choose not to permanently eliminate their hair, preferring instead to shave as often as their lifestyle will allow.
As long as the sufferer shaves responsibly, glabermania does not cause harm directly. However, as individuals with glabermania often feel that hair removal is the most important activity in their lives, they often experience problems relating to work and relationships.
For positive diagnosis, an individual will shave more than twice in a day, as well as removing hair from unusual parts of the body, such as the eyebrows. There is arousal or tension prior to the act, and relief or gratification when it is over. Many sufferers will also enjoy watching others shave and may seek out filmed images of hair removal; indeed, the website Cueball Network was established to deliver so-called Shaving relief.
Despite a recent surge in reported cases, Glabermania is still a comparatively rare disorder. Glabermania can occur in teenagers as young as age sixteen, but it is more common among adults and older people. Ninety percent of those diagnosed with Glabermania are male. It is found within both normally hairy men and those with hirsutism.
Behavior modification is the usual treatment for Glabermania. Other treatments have been pioneered by Dr Harold Bearman at the Stepping Stones Retreat in Kent, UK. These treatments see the patient's actions as an unconscious process and use psychodynamic approaches which address the underlying problems that generate the negative emotions causing the mania. As with substance addictions, recovery can be hard to define.
See Also
* Computer addiction
* Free will
* Higher order desire
* Love-hate relationship
* Treatment Improvement Protocols
* Twelve-step programs

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