Anxiety is how the body responds to situations that are fear-inducing or stressful. Everyone suffers anxiety sometimes, but people with anxiety disorders suffer discomfort at such a degree that their ability to lead a normal life is seriously affected.
Anxiety affects people mentally and physically. Physical symptoms of anxiety include headaches, sweating, trembling, nausea and rashes. Hair loss is another physical effect of anxiety that is not widely known. A lot of people do not believe that anxiety can lead to hair loss because this particular issue appears to affect some people while remaining non-existent in others. But anxiety most definitely can lead to hair loss and it can be extremely discomforting when one suddenly finds himself or herself confronted by unexpected hair loss.
The Link between Stress, Anxiety and Hair Loss
Generally, hair loss is not a direct result of anxiety, instead, it is a result of the stress experienced because of the everyday difficulties encountered by persons suffering from anxiety. Anxiety and stress are very similar, the only difference being that stress is generally temporary while anxiety can be a lifelong battle. Recent studies have shown that certain hair loss situations can be brought on by stress, and anxiety caused by stress. The types of hair loss that can be linked to high stress levels are:
Alopecia Areata: This is a situation where chunks of hair suddenly fall out without any noticeable reason. This often leads to one or more circular bald patches on the head. While it is not common amongst everyone, some people may experience hair loss in other parts of their bodies. The hair often grows back but continued stress or anxiety may lead to sustained hair loss with the patches increasing and possibly overlapping.
Telogen Effluvium (TE): Telogen Effluvium is regarded as the second-most-common form of hair loss. This situation occurs when there is a drop or reduction in the number of hair-producing follicles. This means there is an increase in dormant hair follicles which results in hair loss for anyone experiencing the situation. Telogen Effluvium can manifest as thinning hair, with one’s hair thinning at the scalp while remaining full in other areas.
Trichotillomania: This particular condition occurs when an individual pulls out their hair when under stress or anxiety – often without being aware of the action.
While all the conditions mentioned above pose cause for concern, most people suffering mild hair loss brought on by anxiety are simply suffering from Telogen Effluvium or stress-weakened hair.
Most people who battle anxiety are found to lack vitamins in their systems, sometimes due to poor nutrition. Regrowing hair that naturally falls out is difficult for those with vitamin deficiencies, especially for those who do not eat sufficiently during their anxiety attacks.
The growth cycle of hairs often lasts two years, then they stop growing and fall out after two months. While hair loss can be a result of anxiety, there are a few other causes of hair loss like genetics, hormonal imbalance, or the side effect of some medications.
Stress and anxiety lead to increased muscle tension, skin sebum production and hormonal production in the body. While the body works hard to combat these unhealthy increases, the nutrient supply required for hair growth will decline and hair loss will set in. Sebum also clogs the pores on the scalp and prevents hair from growing.
When people lose their hair through anxiety, it may often lead to more stress and anxiety. While there may be no direct correlation between hair loss and depression, certain individuals may experience symptoms of depression when the symptoms of their anxiety and stress become more prominent.
Some Types of Hair Loss are not Anxiety Related
Not all hair loss situations are brought on by anxiety. For some people, hair loss occurs at a point in their life when they are troubled by stress-inducing situations. When anxiety and hair loss occurs at the same time, it is easy to point to anxiety as the culprit.
Sometimes, the reverse is true as certain people experience anxiety when they begin to lose their hair. For these, hair loss triggers their anxiety, and their anxiety increases because they are worried about the hair they are losing, so it becomes a vicious circle.
Individuals suffering from anxiety can imagine hair loss where there is none. This is a result of their irrational fear. Anxiety plays tricks with their mind, causing them to think they have lost more hair than actually is the case.
How to Fight Anxiety-related Hair Loss
Most anxiety-related hair loss isn’t permanent. If you are certain that anxiety and stress has caused your hair loss, your next action should be to reduce your stress and anxiety in order to get your hair back. When you have cut down your anxiety, you can speed up the growth process by combining better stress and anxiety management with vitamins and mineral supplements. Although this is easier said than done, there are products out there that can support anxiety symptoms, which ultimately help to reduce your stress levels.
The first step is always to cut down on stress and anxiety. You might need professional help to do this. There are trained professionals who can help you understand the cause of your anxiety and provide treatment options to help you combat the problem and live a healthy life.
Patience is important to this journey of recovery. While it is possible to have your hair begin to grow back on its own after you’ve learnt to manage your stress and anxiety, eating a healthy diet that will provide the required nutrients for hair growth is also important. Give yourself time – it may take a few months, but if you keep stress and anxiety at bay while eating right, your hair will come back in due course.
Among all the possible treatments available to you, a hair transplant is probably your best option. The doctors can either transplant hair strands to the affected area or transplant a healthy strip of skin to the affected area to help hair growth.
Because of the low cost of surgery and the level of professionalism available in Turkey, the country is considered the best destination for a hair transplant. If you decide that this is a treatment option you might want to explore, you should make your research to determine the cost of hair transplant before committing yourself to the process.