Hair loss is a common problem that can be caused by a number of different reasons and there are many different factors that come into play with hair loss. At times, it can be quite difficult to determine what the cause of your hair loss is, but today we’re taking a look at mental health and looking to see if there is a link between mental health and hair loss.
What causes hair loss?
Hair loss is quite a complex subject, there are many different types of hair loss and because of this, there are different factors and causes. As there are different types of hair loss it can become quite difficult to work out exactly what is causing your hair loss.
Hair loss can happen for a number of different reasons including genes, hormones, age and your mental health can even have an impact. It is important to visit a hair loss specialist or a doctor to find the cause of your hair loss as this can help work out the best course of treatment.
Mental health can cause hair loss
Although there are four main factors in hair loss, there are certain aspects of your life that can have an impact on your hair. There are parts of your lifestyle that can be a factor in hair loss such as your diet, where you live, alcohol intake, stress and even how much you sleep.
As it can be quite hard to determine why your experiencing hair loss we’re going to take a look at different factors of mental health and see if they have anything to do with hair loss.
Anxiety and hair loss
In the UK 19.7% of those ages 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety and in 2013 alone there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety. If you suffer from anxiety you might experience hair loss at some point in your life.
Hair loss related to anxiety is very rare and in most cases, it only occurs for those with sever anxiety.
Anxiety and stress are technically two separate conditions, however, they do overlap. The key issue between anxiety and hair loss is stress. In a lot of ways, anxiety is long term and persistent stress, which can affect the growth phase of your hair.
Anxiety can, also, cause trichotillomania – this is a habitual condition that is caused when a person is anxious and the person then begins to pull out hair without even realising. This can, in turn, lead to larger quantities of hair being pulled out and can lead to hair loss.
Depression and hair loss
Depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide, and many people do not realise that depression can actually have an impact on your hair loss. Depression and hair loss are linked and those suffering from depression can notice that hair can become dry, brittle and can break easily.
The physiological states of depression such as low mood, discouragement, low self-esteem and feeling drained can be a factor in reducing the hair growth phase, leading to hair loss. It is also important to note that some anti-depressant medications such as Prozac can have side effects that can cause hair loss.
If you’re suffering from depression and noticed hair loss and it’s something that you’re worried about you could take to your GP to see if your medication could be altered.
Stress and hair loss
Stress can play a big part in hair loss – but the good news is that stress related hair loss is not permanent. When our body is put through stress, mental or physical, the growth phase of the hair growth cycle can stop.
Stress can push the hair follicles into the resting phase, this stops the hair growth phase and the hair follicles can then lie dormant for around three months before eventually shedding. Once the stress stops your hair growth cycle will begin to return to normal, and the hair loss will stop.
Stress can play a huge part in a number of different mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and many different sleeping disorders.
Can my hair loss be treated?
Hair loss caused by mental health issues can in most cases be treated. The underlying problem of hair loss for most mental health issues is stress. Stress related hair loss, in most cases, stops its growth phase during a stressful period and lie dormant, causing the hair to shed. If the stress continues, the hair continues not to grow.
However, if the stress does stop your hair will resume its normal growth phase and after a month or so you’ll notice your hair loss would have stopped and new hair will begin to grow.
Other factors, such as side effects from medication can’t be stopped, however, it is a possibility that you can talk to a GP about changing to medications that have different, and maybe fewer side effects.
If you would like to speak to one of our hair loss specialists about your hair loss please contact us for a no obligation consultation.