Articles Tagged with: anxiety-related hair loss
Adrenal Glands, Stress Hormones, and Hair Loss

The Science Behind Stress-Induced Hair Loss and Telogen Effluvium

Adrenal Glands, Stress Hormones, and Hair LossThe unwelcome feelings of stress and anxiety creep up when you least expect them. While intermittent feelings of worry are relatively normal, damaging stress levels are on the rise. These feelings of despair and anguish sometimes provoke thinning or shedding on the scalp. Stress-induced hair loss, called telogen effluvium (TE), can be short-lived or long lasting. Thinning or shedding inadvertently caused by anxiety and trauma is not only frustrating, but worrisome. In addition, trichotillomania is a less common but very serious hair loss condition perpetuated by stress. Unlike TE, patients suffering from trichotillomania actively pull hairs out habitually when facing stress and anxiety to cope.

A 2014 national poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found more than one in every four Americans suffered great deals of stress the month prior to the survey. Half of those adults, or 115 million people, experienced a major stressful event that year. [1] Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders – often explained as chronic high stress and worry – are the most common mental disorder in the United States. Anxiety affects 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18 percent of the total national population. [2]

The American Hair Loss Association says TE and stress-induced hair loss is likely the second most common form of hair loss seen by dermatologists. [3] Although little research has been done to help physicians understand why some patients see hair loss because of stress while others do not, three possible cause and effect scenarios exist:

TE Scenario 1: Environmental factors shock the hair follicle into a resting state. Because the follicles are not actively producing more hair to replace ordinary shedding, patients see diffuse patterns of thinning on the scalp. The effects of environmental “shock” show up two to three months after a major life event. Depending on the duration of the event, follicles can return to their normal healthy state without surgical intervention. Patients usually see their condition clear up in less than six months with full regrowth.

TE Scenario 2: Hair follicles enter their resting state as normal but do not regenerate properly, resulting in gradual hair loss. Rather than return to the anagen phase of hair growth, the follicles remain in the telogen state for prolonged periods of time. Thus, fewer anagen, or active, hair follicles are available. Because this scenario is prolonged, patients may not see immediate thinning. This is more common in individuals with chronic anxiety conditions.

TE Scenario 3: A less discussed form of telogen effluvium occurs when hair follicles go through truncated cycles. This results in persistent shedding and thinning hair.

Many short-term hair loss cases are considered normal. For instance, many women experience short-term hair loss after giving birth due to fluctuating hormone levels – a condition called postpartum alopecia. Most women regrow their hair normally a few months later. Certain vaccines, antidepressants, extremely low-calorie diets and physical trauma are also common environemntal triggers of TE. Chronic illness, particularly chronic stress and nutritional deficiencies, are alternative instigators. Research shows a link between tension, hair follicle biochemistry changes and increased resting (telogen) hair follicles.

Treating Stress-Induced Hair Loss and TE

Luckily, treatments for telogen effluvium are available. Assuming your hair loss is stress-induced, regular exercise, therapy and meditation can help. When a specific cause is not determined and stress relief does not reverse telogen effluvium, doctors resort to treatments such as low-level laser therapy (LLLT). In cases where stress-induced hair loss transforms into an enduring condition, many patients turn to hair loss surgery.

At the Hair Institute of Miami, we welcome patients suffering from stress-induced hair loss to undergo a comprehensive evaluation. Our treatment plans include low-level laser therapy (LLLT) caps and advanced follicular unit transplant (FUE) procedures. Either alone or in conjunction with one another, LLLT and FUE helps patients suffering from lingering telogen effluvium regain their confidence and sense of well-being. Call us today at 305-925-0222 to schedule your personalized hair loss consultation in Miami.

 

[1] http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/07/07/323351759/for-many-americans-stress-takes-a-toll-on-health-and-family

[2] https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

[3] http://www.americanhairloss.org/types_of_hair_loss/effluviums.asp

Anxiety and Hair Loss

The Link Between Anxiety and Hair Loss

Anxiety and Hair LossWe 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.