Emotional Stress: How Does it Cause Hair Loss and How can it be Treated?
Emotional stress can affect the body in different ways, triggering headaches, diarrhea, disrupted sleep, aches, and a faster heartbeat.
But one of the most well-known and noticeable effects of emotional stress is hair loss.
That stress could be caused by numerous issues, including unusual challenges at work, relationship troubles, financial problems, and anything else you may worry about.
Everyone experiences mild stress at times, but in extreme cases, stress can have a severe impact on your quality of life — and your hair growth.
But how does this occur, and what can be done to treat hair loss caused by emotional stress?
How emotional stress leads to hair loss
Powerful emotional stress causes changes in hormonal imbalances, triggering a condition known as telogen effluvium.
For example, the end of a relationship and heartbreak may be to blame in some cases.
This can increase stress levels for months at a time, put significant strain on the body, and potentially push your hair to fall out.
PTSD is another condition known to drive stress hormones to new heights for prolonged periods, keeping people fixed in a fight-or-flight mindset.
Certain unexpected noises, aggressive behaviour, or situations could send them into an immediate extreme panic, affecting their hormones significantly.
As a result of this disruption, stress hormones might never return to their pre-trauma levels.
The body will continue to conserve as much energy as it needs to power its core functions, leaving fewer nutrients for the follicles to grow hair in the usual way.
Similarly, anxiety is another potential catalyst for hair loss.
Anxious feelings are the body’s natural response to situations that may be dangerous or stressful, and while they can help to keep you alert, they may become a persistent problem for those with anxiety disorders.
It might disrupt their life and lead to telogen effluvium in severe cases.
During telogen effluvium, the hair’s growth cycle is disturbed: the growth (anagen) stage becomes slower and fewer hairs progress to the transitional (catagen) and resting (telogen) stages.
Only a small portion of the scalp’s hair follicles advance to the telogen stage, causing varying degrees of hair loss.
While lots of hair may be lost through telogen effluvium, this condition is usually temporary (unlike with some other types of hair loss, such as Male Pattern Baldness).
Hair should start to grow back within around two or three months of dealing with the source of the stress.
Less stress means the physical symptoms can ease and the hair growth cycle will return to normal.
DHT, stress, and hair loss
Some people experiencing stress-related hair loss may wonder if it’s related to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is a major factor in the development of Male Pattern Baldness.
DHT is a male sex hormone responsible for certain male characteristics and is vital for hair growth in certain areas of the body (such as the chest).
However, DHT can actually cause baldness on the scalp by binding to the hair follicles’ receptors, leading them to become smaller — until they die.
This process is known as “miniaturisation”.
Still, while DHT can cause hair loss in some cases, it’s not thought to be affected by emotional stress.
Seeking treatment for stress-related hair loss
If you think you may be experiencing hair loss as a result of emotional stress, speak to your doctor about treatment immediately.
This might involve a combination of medication and counselling, depending on the specifics of your situation.
But while hair loss may be reversed once the source of your emotional stress is addressed, one or more bald patches might remain.
This can continue to cause stress over time.
Fortunately, hair transplant surgery could be a viable way to restore your hair growth with natural, lasting results.
HairPalace uses cutting-edge FUE technology to transplant healthy hair follicles from the back and sides of the head (“donor” sites) into areas affected by hair loss.
Over time, this stimulates fuller, more youthful growth that blends seamlessly with existing hair.
It’s minimally invasive and leaves no visible scars, enabling you to wear your hair in any style you choose.
Interested in discussing hair transplant surgery with a member of our team?
Want to know how you can save up to 50% on your surgery costs compared to the prices offered by other clinics?