We all know that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and emotions, but what role does stress play when it comes to hair loss? You may be surprised to learn there are several different categories that hair restoration doctors recognize as the leading cause of "stress" induced hair loss.
Depression and Hair Loss
The physiological states of depression are low mood, discouragement, and low self-esteem. Quite often individuals feel drained, and this lack of energy is what plays an enormous role in hair growth slowing down. It's important to mention, those who suffer from depression don't always experience hair loss, rather thinning. Those who notice a correlation between depression and a thinner head of hair are most likely taking anti-depressants like Prozac, and it's these medications that cause the hair loss. If you recognize this issue within yourself, speak to your general practitioner about changing medications.
Stress, Anxiety and Hair Loss
According to The Calm Clinic, stress can cause many conditions that lead to hair loss. These include:
Alopecia Areata: Sudden loss of large clumps of hair in areas around your scalp.
Telogen Effluvium: This is a condition where more hairs than normal prepare to fall out.
Trichotillomania: This is a habitual condition caused by stress and anxiety where the person pulls out hairs without realizing it.
Stress and anxiety are two separate conditions but are often confused for one another. Stress is a temporary state of being where energy levels are high due to external or internal problems. This stress causes the body to produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Anxiety is a persistent state of living in stress, and this does affect the growth of your hair.
Cortisol and Hair Loss
Now that we’ve identified the differences of emotions, let’s take a closer look at how cortisol plays a part in hair loss. Cortisol, as we mentioned, is a stress hormone and is released by the body when we experience fear or stress and plays a large part in the fight-or-flight response. In modern times, we aren’t as concerned with issues like being attacked by wild animals, but we do have problems that produce the same effect such as:
As the body starts to produce larger amounts of cortisol to help deal with these issues, the body begins to send important nutrients to areas of the body that is consider vital, like the heart, liver, and brain. Unfortunately, hair follicles aren’t necessary to “survive” a stressful situation, so it’s usually one of the first areas to suffer. By removing stressors or adopting different methods of controlling your anxiety, you can improve the condition of your hair.
If you are suffering from anxiety or stress-related hair loss, the good news is, more often than not, this type of hair loss is not permanent. Once the stress levels reside, often individuals will experience hair regrowth.
While high stress and anxiety can indeed cause the loss of hair, we should also mention that just because you are experiencing hair loss and high levels of stress, it does not mean that the two are necessarily related. Many times patients develop anxiety or stress due to hair loss itself, or the hair loss may be caused by another underlying issue or merely age.
If you have spent time and effort reducing stressors in your life, but still feel you lack the healthy head of hair you once had, there are options! At Nashville Hair Clinic, we are committed to helping our patients feel comfortable with diagnosis and treatment. We use only the latest hair surgical hair restoration techniques to assure the most natural looking results. Call 615-635-0892 to book your consultation today.