First, it should be said that while there is sparse evidence linking stress and anxiety as an absolute, direct cause of hair loss there is some good evidence to support an indirect linking of the two. Understand that individual hairs do not have an unlimited life span and it is natural for them to fall out after a typical 2-7 year life cycle. The question then is whether or not stress and anxiety can lead to the premature loss of hair, and whether they can inhibit the formation of new hairs.
It might surprise you to know that you are supposed to loose between 100 and 200 hairs a day. While this might seem like a lot, it is quite normal for even the healthiest heads of hair. The most common type of permanent hair loss is called “pattern baldness” and it affects both men and women. Pattern baldness is typically a hereditary condition that can begin to set in at any time after puberty.
With respect to stress, anxiety, and hair loss, the evidence for a connection is circumspect. It isn’t unknown for people who have undergone a severe psychological stress or trauma to experience unusual amounts of hair loss for some weeks, or months afterwards, but this is usually temporary. More interesting are such things as conditions known as “Alopecia Areata” and “Trichotillomania. ” Alopecia Areata is an immune system condition that causes hair loss. Since prolonged and severe stress and anxiety have been proven to negatively affect the immune system, could there be a link here with stress hair loss? Trichotillomania is a recognized psychological condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to pull one’s own hair out. A link between stress and hair loss?
Many medications have been at least partially connected to some hair loss and a direct connection has been established between stress and anxiety and both prescription and non-prescription drug use. Since many medications can contribute to hair loss, and since stress and anxiety are proven causes of the increased use of medications, might there be a connection here between stress and hair loss?
While direct linkages between stress and hair loss may not have been established, many conditions associated with stress and anxiety such as heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, and depression have also been linked to hair loss to at least some small extent. I think it’s a safe bet to say that if you are in any way prone to hair loss in the first place, living a stress and anxiety filled life is probably not going to help, and you might want to look into finding some effective stress management techniques.
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