We know stress causes hair loss, but what about stress’ more permanent friend – anxiety? An estimated 18 percent of the U.S. population suffers from some sort of anxiety disorder, which comes out to 40 million adults. Unfortunately, anxiety is the most common mental illness plaguing the nation.
Anxiety disorders stem from a mix of risk factors. These disorders can be hereditary, related to personal brain chemistry or be a side effect of previous life-altering events.
It’s fairly common for individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders to suffer thinning, bald spots and higher-than-average loss after brushing. If you’re young and physically healthy, anxiety-induced stress could be the root of your hair-loss woes.
Stress Hormones and Hair Loss
Just as periods of high stress can cause hair loss in some people, ongoing stress from anxiety mimics similar unfortunate effects. When the body becomes stressed, it secretes hormones in the bloodstream in an effort to trigger the “fight or flight” response. As is typically the case with anxiety, high levels of stress hormones sometimes cause adrenal fatigue. Adrenal glands then produce cortisol as a replacement for aldosterone and androgens.
For men, the drop in vital hormones may not be as significant since the male reproductive organs make up for the loss. But in women, adrenal fatigue leads to a sharp reduction in testosterone and DHEA, the testosterone precursor.
How to Minimize Anxiety
If you suffer from ongoing anxiety and resulting hair loss, tips for relieving your issue is far more complex than simply diminishing work-related stress. Visiting a mental health counselor to develop a long-term treatment plan is essential.
For example, getting more exercise is a widely used tip to minimize stress-related hair loss. But for individuals with anxiety disorders, outdoor exercise and gyms can lead to high levels of stress. Fear of judgment and failure sometimes dissuades anxiety-ridden individuals from getting proper exercise. However, finding a buddy who you trust and feel comfortable around can significantly reduce your apprehension or alarm. If you’re new to exercise, start slow with light social walks. Don’t overwork yourself mentally or physically, and instead appreciate momentary states of relief for as long as your mind allows.
Meditation, like exercise, can be especially difficult for people with anxiety. However, one of the main culprits of anxiety is overthinking and racing thoughts, which meditation can eliminate on the spot. Through meditation, the mind is cleared of negative considerations and refocuses awareness on the here and now. Although it’s difficult to reach that state, start slow and feel confident for entering a more peaceful, concentrated state of mind.
Another easy way to reduce anxiety-related stress is through simple stretching and breathing. Like meditation, breathing exercises are helpful strategies to alleviate sudden and seemingly uncontrollable anxiety attacks. Start by regulating your breath – inhale for six counts, hold for six and exhale for six. Mix up counts based on your progress in controlled breathing. Stretching your muscles through yoga is another proven way to diminish stress. Plus, many basic yoga practices are easy to perform at home with only a proper mat and app or video guidance.
What to Do When Anxiety Causes Hair Loss
If you’re currently managing anxiety and still suffer from hair loss, or alternatively, if your hair loss is causing anxiety, call the Hair Transplant of Miami today. Our highly accredited physicians work hard to properly assess potential hair loss causes. Only then do we recommend the best hair loss procedure or noninvasive treatment based on your individual needs.