Severe Trichotillomania: An Unusual Trigger of Recurrent Diabetic Ketoacidosis


South Atlantic


Grand Strand Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



obsessive-compulsive symptoms, atypical rash, atypical, severe diabetic ketoacidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis, trichotillomania


Endocrine System Diseases | Internal Medicine


Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening complication of diabetes that is most often seen in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Current DKA management focuses on rapid treatment to prevent acute complications, educational intervention, and early discharge. However, patients with mental health conditions face additional barriers to establishing control over their diabetes and may be hospitalized often for DKA recurrence. Understanding a patient’s mental health and intervening where necessary may be a crucial step in the effective treatment of DKA. We present a case of recurrent DKA in a young male who suffered from severe trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is a mental health disorder in which an individual has the compulsion to pull on hair because it feels good. By doing so, the skin barrier is compromised. This can lead to disfiguring lesions that can be very distressing for the individual; however, they report an inability to control the compulsion to stop pulling their hair. In our case, the patient disrupted the skin barrier, leading to increased susceptibility for recurrent infection and DKA.

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