Understanding the Relationship Between Stress and Hair Loss

Upset man holding head in handsStress and anxiety are serious factors that can lead to illness, health complications, and hair loss. Stress and hair loss affects millions of people, causing some to literally pull out their hair, and others to experience increased thinning and bald spots. If you have experienced hair loss as a result of a difficult life experience or a period of increased anxiety, Dr. Robert J. Dorin and Dr. Robert H. True at True & Dorin Medical Group in New York, New Jersey, and Boston offer advanced hair restoration options to help you grow a fuller, thicker head of hair. 

Why Stress Causes Hair to Fall Out

The natural growth of hair occurs in various stages, comprised of anagen, categen, telogen, and then the final stage in which the hair falls out, exogen. This natural process leads to the loss of about 50 to 100 hairs each day but when patients experience high levels of stress, this entire process may become disrupted. Increased levels of stress can cause the hairs to prematurely move into a resting phase, which will then cause hair to fall out at a rate that is up to 10 times greater than normal. Although stress is not typically the sole contributor to hair loss, studies have suggested that neurotransmitters or hormones produced during this time may contribute to more rapid hair loss. 

Prolonged levels of stress or serious life changes can cause hair to fall out at a rate that is up to 10 times greater than normal.

Conditions That Can Lead to Hair Loss

Stress can contribute to or result from various conditions that lead to increased shedding or hair pulling. Some of the most common issues include:

Alopecia Areata

Many researchers are interested in whether there is a credible link between stress and alopecia. Although additional tests are still being conducted to determine a verifiable connection, many patients have reported they believe stress can lead to thinning and bald spots.

Telogen Effluvium

Emotional stressors caused by difficult life experiences such as sudden shock, trauma, divorce, or the death of a family member can have a significant impact on your emotional health. In turn, this can lead the development of telogen effluvium, causing hair loss and the development of bald spots.  

Trichotillomania

Also referred to as hair-pulling disorder, this behavior is sometimes triggered following a stressful life event. Other times, it is indicative of a more serious condition.

Reducing Stress and Restoring Your Appearance

If you are concerned about how stress is affecting you, whether it be your overall health or the fullness of your hair, various steps can be taken. Five common activities that have been shown to lower levels of anxiety include:

  • Meditation
  • Talk to family and friends
  • Laughter
  • Listen to music
  • Stay active

It is important to note that it is not uncommon for patients to experience hair loss weeks or even months following a tragic or emotional period in their lives. This is due to the fact that there is a substantial delay between the catagen and telogen phases. Most patients see a return in fullness once they have reduced stress levels. However, we can provide several treatment options if you are not confident in your appearance. 

Contact Us to Learn About Your Options

If you have experienced a stressful period or a life-changing event that led to hair loss, our doctors can meet with you to discuss your options for hair restoration and transplantation. To set up a time to meet with us, please send us a message or give us a call at (866) 629-0866.