Hair loss due to depression
Can depression cause hair loss?
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Dr. Divya Shree K.R
Psychiatrist 16 yrs exp Bangalore
It is known that most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time. At this point you may wonder how and why hairloss occurs in the first place? Hair loss occurs when this cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.The exact cause of hair loss may not be fully understood, but it's usually related to a family history hormonal changes medical conditions and medication. It has also been proven that hair loss is associated with depression due to stress. We all know that depression is often associated with high stress levels. Stress can prompt white blood cells to attack the hair follicles, causing alopecia. This is the most well known theory to answer as to why depression could cause hair loss. To understand this more clearly, we must know a bit of the physiology of hair loss. Our hair normally goes through a resting phase, this happens about every three years and lasts about three months before hair starts to grow again. During this resting phase, more hairs than usual fall out, and it looks thinner. This process is called "telogen effluvium.This appears as a diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp, which may not be even all over. It can be a bit more severe in some areas of the scalp than others. Most often, the hair on top of the scalp thins more than it does at the sides and back of the scalp. Now a question may arise, as to how to differentiate normal hair loss with that caused by depression? In hair loss caused due to depression, there is usually no hairline recession, except in a few rare chronic cases.The shed hairs are typically telogen hairs, which can be recognized by a small bulb of keratin on the root end. Whether the keratinized lump is pigmented or unpigmented makes no difference; the hair fibers are still typical telogen hairs. Any kind of physical trauma such as Surgery A car accident A severe illness OR Even the flu leads to depression and can cause temporary hair loss. Hair has a programmed life cycle: a growth phase, rest phase and shedding phase.When a person experiences a really stressful event, it can shock the hair cycle, (pushing) more hair into the shedding phase and the hair loss often becomes noticeable three-to-six months after the trauma.
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