Is Stress Making Your Hair Fall Out?
Understanding Stress & Hair Loss
Are you a man or woman who has recently noticed more hair than usual in the drain, after a shower or in the hairbrush? Sometimes a startling amount of hair loss can make you wonder if you’re going bald.
There are many different reasons behind different types of hair loss, and often when hair loss is sudden, it’s due to a temporary condition. Many people discover their hair loss was a side effect of untreated thyroid disorders or hormonal changes. Others may discover a lack of protein in their diet or another nutritional deficiency. If you take a trip to the doctor, he or she can screen out most of the causes of sudden hair loss.
Why Does Stress or Anxiety Thin Your Hair?
You may discover there may be nothing wrong with you health-wise. Your doctor will also ask you about any recent major stresses you have experienced in life, such as divorce or a financial crisis. If you have recently experienced a physical or emotional trauma, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one, it may be that your hair loss is a result of the trauma.
For some people, stress is enough to change or stall the hair growth cycle. While your body does its best to keep you healthy, your natural defense system will divert resources away from your scalp and to areas considered more vital.
Is Anxiety Making Your Hair Loss Worse?
If you already suffer from anxiety, noticeable hair loss may be a trigger for a hair loss cycle. If you find yourself obsessing on your appearance or being afraid to go out in public, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder. Paradoxically, this type of disorder, when it goes untreated,can contribute to hair loss.
If you’re suffering from hair loss and anxiety at the same time, it’s time to make an appointment with your primary care physician. Your doctor can help screen you for hormonal imbalances and other, physical causes of hair loss, and rule out any underlying health conditions.
If you experience anxiety regularly or have panic attacks, your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider or may choose to prescribe a medication to help you out.
How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
Stress can cause a few different conditions that ultimately lead to hair loss. These include alopecia areata, which is a type of balding where the hair comes out of the scalp in clumps. Another type of baldness caused by stress or anxiety is telogen effluvium, where a larger area of hair than normal goes into the “resting” part of the hair growth cycle, causing more hairs to fall out.
Another condition that leads to hair loss is called trichotillomania. This is a behavior that is caused by stress or anxiety that primarily affects women. If you have this condition, you may pull out your hair as a nervous habit, and may not even be aware that this is causing the problem. Usually, a person with trichotillomania compulsively pulls hairs out from their head, arms, or face.
The Bottom Line: Get Stress or Anxiety
Under Control to Prevent Further Hair Loss
If you are experiencing stress or anxiety on such a level that you think it’s making your hair fall out, it’s time for some assertive action. Stress isn’t good for your health. Start taking the time to exercise, meditate, or otherwise relax every day. If you have trouble relaxing, even when you’re at home, you may want to enlist the help of a mental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you new coping skills for stressful times and situations, and medication can also be prescribed to help your out-of-control anxiety become manageable on a day-to-day basis.
With less stress, you’ll feel better, and it will show. Take the time to take care of your body, mind and spirit to help you feel and look young for as long as possible.