People who are under stress – or who suffer from anxiety – experience a wide variety of mental and physical symptoms, as well as side effects. One often-unexpected area where stress and anxiety may have an impact is on our hair.
Stress is any type of change that causes emotional, psychological, or physical strain. It is the body’s response to a situation that requires attention or action. We all deal with stress on a daily basis, and reactions (such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive issues, and sleep disruption) are quite common.
Anxiety is more persistent. It is characterized by excessive worrying, unease, and apprehension… even in the absence of a stressor. It can lead to panic attacks, compulsive behavior, and serious mental and physical health consequences.
Both stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on your hair. Because so many of us see our hair as part of our identity, stress-related changes in our tresses may lead to additional mental health consequences.
Is Hair Loss A Symptom Of Anxiety?
Hair loss is not so much a symptom of anxiety as it is a consequence of it.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists the following as symptoms of generalized anxiety: feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge; being easily fatigued; having difficulty concentrating; being irritable; having headaches, muscle aches, stomachs, or unexplained pains; difficulty controlling feelings of worry, and having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Additionally, some people dealing with anxiety will pull their hair. Trichotillomania is a stress-related habit of pulling out your hair, which can lead to hair loss. Even a milder version of hair pulling that is stress induced – such as when people tug on their own hair without pulling it out – can lead to traction alopecia. This form of hair loss is related to recurring and persistent pressure on hair follicles from tugging, pulling, hair styles that are too tight, and so on.
What Does Anxiety Do To Your Hair?
Anxiety often causes diffuse hair thinning over the whole scalp. If you are losing more than the average of 80-100 strands of hair per day (but it is not releasing in a discernible pattern), you have likely experienced telogen effluvium. This is when anxiety or stress forces large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within weeks or months, these hairs begin to shed.
Does Hair Loss From Stress Look Different?
Hair loss from stress is similar to hair loss from anxiety… but both will manifest differently than androgenetic alopecia. That form of male or female pattern baldness usually results in a receding hairline, balding on the crown of your scalp, or other baldness patterns.
Alopecia areata results in bald patches on the scalp. This form of hair loss is the result of an autoimmune response, which can actually be triggered by extreme stress.
Does Hair Loss From Stress Grow Back?
The good news is that hair loss from stress and anxiety usually grows back. The hair loss ends when the stress or anxiety ends. Regrowth takes time but your hair should return to its normal fullness within six to nine months – and potentially even sooner with hair growth treatments.
The rate of regrowth is different for everyone, so don’t be surprised if it takes more or less time than this average. Sometimes your hair regrowth may have a different texture due to hormonal changes during the period of stress or anxiety.
RHRLI Is Here To Help
The best way to prevent hair loss from stress and anxiety is to attend to your mental health and to seek help as soon as you suspect there is an issue. If stress or anxiety have caused you hair loss that isn’t returning to normal, RHLI is here to help you regain the hairline you want.
If you are interested in learning more about hair restoration options, RHLI is the premier hair restoration facility on Long Island and in New York City. As a board-certified hair restoration surgeon with many years of experience using state-of-the-art techniques, I can answer all your questions about hair loss solutions and hair restoration aftercare.
Call now for a free consultation to evaluate your hair loss and to determine whether you’re a good candidate for ARTAS ® hair restoration.