When we think of depression, we tend to only consider the emotional distress this condition brings, not the overall impact on our health. While we might not notice at first, depression also affects our appearance, especially our hair. Let’s find out in what ways depression affects the hair and what we can do about it.
What Is Hair Loss?
Hair loss is the process of losing your hair due to age, specific health conditions, or heredity reasons. Even though hair loss is more prevalent in older people, it can occur even in those who are quite young. To determine the exact underlying cause of your hair loss, it’s best to consult with a specialist who will be able to advise you on the best treatment options.
How to Diagnose Hair Loss?
On our heads, we have approximately 100,000 hair follicles. Typically, new hair replaces lost hair. So, losing between 50 and 100 hairs per day as we do is normal, as this small loss won’t be that noticeable. However, we can’t know for sure the total amount of hair loss on a given day. Only if you notice a worryingly larger-than-usual amount of hair in the shower or your hairbrush is filled with clumps of hair for a number of consecutive days should you take it as a sign to pay a visit to the doctor for a checkup.
Your doctor will determine the exact cause of the hair loss by taking a full medical history, doing a physical examination, and using a special microscope to take a detailed look at the scalp. On some occasions, a biopsy of the scalp skin may be needed. This involves the doctor carefully removing a section of the skin on your scalp and sending it for testing.
Stress and Hair Loss
Every now and then, people experience a larger amount of hair fall than usual. What many don’t know is that one of the most common causes is stress. One upside to the hair loss triggered by stress is that your hair will grow back. Managing your stress is often the key to going back to a healthy hair growth rate.
There are three types of hair loss associated with stress: telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata
1. Telogen effluvium
Telogen effluvium is temporary hair loss resulting from a highly stressful, shocking, or traumatic event. This type of hair loss isn’t inherited and, unfortunately, can affect people of all group ages. Luckily, TE hair loss is reversible often without the need for any treatment.
Trichotillomania is known as a hair-pulling disorder. Usually, individuals can’t stop the urge to pull out their hair. The growing tension they feel when wanting to pull their hair decreases once they do so. This action is done in response to a stressful situation the individual is going through, or it’s done without consciously thinking about it.
3. Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. It is thought that this disease starts to develop because of stress, and it can result in hair loss. Alopecia causes small round patches of baldness on the scalp, but it can also occur in other parts of the body. There is no cure for AA, but some medications can help those who have lost around 50% of their hair.
Depression and Hair Loss
Hair loss is one of the repercussions of dealing with depression. Antidepressants you may take may cause hair loss. But, hair loss isn’t limited only to those that use medications. Even those that don’t take any are prone to hair loss. This might happen due to the body’s negative reaction to the symptoms of depression, like stress and fatigue.
Individuals who suffer from depression tend to not choose their diet carefully and instead eat unhealthy food, which in turn can contribute to hair loss.
Anxiety and Hair Loss
Anxiety and stress are similar conditions as they share many emotional and physical symptoms. This means that anxiety-induced stress impacts the hair and its health just as much as normal stress.
How to Cope With Hair Loss
- Treat your hair with care when you wash, dry, or style them
- Exercise regularly to manage the stress
- Don’t isolate yourself; spend time with people that make you feel good
- Seek professional help
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga
Hair Loss Treatments
1. Hair Transplant Surgery
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is an innovative, minimally invasive hair transplant procedure. In FUE hair transplants, hair follicles are taken from the patient’s donor area and located on the transplant area using a microsurgery method. The hair will start to grow four to five months after the procedure.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a non-surgical hair loss treatment in which the platelets taken from the blood of the individual are injected into the scalp. The growth factors and proteins that the PRP contains can help stimulate new hair growth. The process is very safe, and the results vary from patient to patient.
3. Tablets and Hair Serums
This is another non-surgical treatment that can help slow down hair loss and encourage hair growth. Many hair serums and medications can help in this direction. However, you should use them with your doctor’s recommendation.
Losing your hair can certainly affect you and your self-esteem. While the causes can be numerous, luckily, there are many treatments available. However, before starting any treatments it is important you consult with a doctor first. They will determine what treatment you need based on your condition. If you’re in the Hertfordshire area, you’re welcome to come by our clinic for a free consultation.