- 1 Can Stress Trigger Hair Loss: How Stress and Health are Linked to Alopecia Areata?
Can Stress Trigger Hair Loss: How Stress and Health are Linked to Alopecia Areata?
Hair loss, especially when it affects only certain areas of the scalp or body, can be a worrying condition, especially when it is not clear what the cause may be. One of the most common yet complex forms of hair loss is known as alopecia areata, and although the causes are not always known, thought is being given to the potential role of stress, with some studies suggesting a possible link between stress and hair loss.
What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which hair follicles become damaged, leading to patchy hair loss. This condition typically affects the scalp but can also occur elsewhere in the body. In some cases, the hair loss is patchy and involves the loss of a few hairs, leaving bald spots of skin, while in some cases, it may be more extensive and involves total baldness.
What Causes Alopecia Areata?
The exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown, but the condition is thought to be linked to an autoimmune reaction. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells including those that make up the hair follicles. This reaction can cause the hair follicles to shrink and the hair to fall out.
Although research into the precise relationship between stress and hair loss has yet to definitively reveal an answer, some studies have suggested that there may be a link between stress and alopecia areata.
For example, one study from 2003 looked at people with stress-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and found that those individuals were more likely to suffer from hair loss (including alopecia areata) than their peers without these conditions.
Similarly, a 2008 study carried out in Japan looked at the hair loss experienced by college students and found that stress levels had a clear impact on the risk of developing alopecia areata.
In addition to stress, there are a number of other health issues that have been linked with alopecia areata. For example, there may be an association between the condition and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus and thyroid disease.
Certain allergens and allergies, such as allergies to various food products, may also be linked to the condition. It may also be linked to some psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and OCD.
What can you do if you have alopecia areata?
There is no known cure for alopecia areata, but there are treatments that can help to manage the condition and prevent further hair loss. These include topical treatments such as topical steroids and minoxidil, as well as phototherapy and injections of corticosteroids.
When it comes to stress, it is important to try and manage your stress levels as best you can. This means taking active steps to reduce stress such as avoiding stressful situations, engaging in regular exercise, and focusing on self-care. There are also a variety of therapies that can help to reduce stress, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Alopecia areata is a complex and often distressing condition, but the good news is that it can usually be managed, although the exact cause is still unknown. Although stress has been linked to alopecia areata, it is unclear whether it can trigger hair loss or whether it is simply a symptom of the condition. Nonetheless, it is important to manage any stress levels and look after your overall health in order to minimize the risk of alopecia areata or any other form of hair loss.
Keywords: Alopecia Areata, Stress, Hair Loss, Autoimmune Disorder, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.