Anxiety and stress has been common for many people for years dating back before you were born. Fast forward to post COVID -19 and statistics are showing an increase of at least 25% in individuals who were not yet considered suffering or living with anxiety or stress prior to the pandemic.
You may have already reached out to your physician or homeopathic doctor for assistance with anxiety and stress and your path back to a mentally neutral state.
As you navigate a medical (or natural) intervention you probably noticed some external changes that may be unsettling, hair change and/or hair loss. We are going to take a look at a question you may have asked yourself already, can anxiety cause hair loss and shed light on the subject with an emphasis on -you are not alone!
- What is anxiety?
- What are the symptoms for anxiety?
- Can anxiety cause hair loss?
- How can anxiety cause hair loss?
- Can anxiety medication cause hair loss?
- Can hormone imbalance cause anxiety and hair loss?
- How can I stop hair loss from anxiety?
- Will hair loss from anxiety grow back?
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of nervousness, becoming restless or tense, becoming fearful and feeling panic.
There are many reasons why you may have or live with anxiety which could be through genetic inheritance, brain chemistry, environmental stressors / including work and personal life, drug use or withdrawal and medical conditions.
Anxiety is not a pleasurable experience and those that have had or live with anxiety can tell you that it looks and feels different for everyone.
While we recommend those who feel they may have anxiety to seek medical attention, we are going to learn more about how anxiety affects your hair loss and hair growth.
What Are Symptoms For Anxiety?
- Nervousness, restlessness, becoming tense
- Feelings of panic or danger
- Heart arrhythmia’s / rapid heart rate
- increased sweating
- Trembling or body twitching
- Weakness, tiredness
- Difficulty in focus or thinking clearly / tunnel vision
- Digestive issues
- Uncontrolled thoughts
What Are The Symptoms For Anxiety Disorder?
- Constant worry or fear
- Affected daily activities / unable to preform basic tasks
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Stress that is problematic to impact your daily life
- Inability to set aside worry
Differences Between Anxiety And Anxiety disorder
Anxiety is a problem when it becomes overwhelming or unmanageable and it comes up unexpectedly. Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that have a big impact your life. People may avoid going about their daily lives in order to avoid anxiety.
Can Anxiety Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, stress can trigger hair loss. In fact different types of stress can induce hair fall as well as affect new hair growth cycles in a variety of ways.
Consistent stress may cause more significant hair loss (covered mass) through time, whereas a sudden onset of stress may affect a surge of temporary hair loss.
Can Social Anxiety Cause Hair Loss?
Hair loss, and fine, fragile, thin hair are common in those who are living with social anxiety. The reason these two coexist is because the hair follicle [where your hair grows from] is generated by nerves and neural pathways.
When your nerves trigger anxiety, including social anxiety your hair growth will slow and may have difficulty in rejuvenating itself for regrowth.
Can Anxiety And Stress Cause Hair Loss?
Anxiety and stress will affect your hair loss. Those that suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder or are easily triggered with stress can experience Telogen Effluvium (TE), which is a very common form of hair loss.
It surfaces when your body signals the nerves and tensions internally are elevated and communicate to your hair follicles that it can no longer support your hair in its otherwise full life span.
Therefore, those who live with anxiety and stress will see a change in hair fullness, overall health and strength as well as premature hair loss.
TE, is temporary and can be rebalanced, giving you the opportunity to mend hair changes back to health.
Can Anxiety Disorder Cause Hair Loss?
Living with an anxiety disorder can bring a multitude of discomfort and potential health concerns to those living with it. Health concerns may include, heart problems, organ damage, hormonal disruption and hair loss.
While some medications may change the physical nature of your hair, your hair may fall out with the constant surge of anxiety.
Can Anxiety Cause Hair Thinning?
Yes, anxiety can cause hair thinning.
Simply put, your hair follicle is connected to the nerves that communicate with the rest of your body. When your body signals anxiety, or an anxiety attack it communicates that your body is in a state of shock and increases internal inflammation which may push your follicles into a premature resting phase while directly affecting the hairs that are currently in the rejuvenation stage and early growth stages.
How Can Anxiety Cause Hair Loss?
Anxiety can bring an onset of hair loss because of how your body communicates and responds to stressors. When your nervous system signals stress and anxiety it sets off an inflammatory response, and your immunity weakens.
Our hair’s foundation to growth is directly connected to a hair follicle which has its own immunity and immune response, when the body signals that it needs a boost in immunity your hair follicle responds in exchange for loosening the hair it was growing causing temporary hair loss.
Anxiety and stress will also affect your skin and scalp causing an imbalance in oil production and microbiome change to the surface which may affect the healthy living environment for hair to survive in ultimately leading to hair loss.
Lastly, your thyroid will also respond to stress and anxiety which drives new and healthy hair growth through hormone regulations that may also be affected when living with anxiety and stress.
Can Anxiety Medication Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, any medication has the potential of affecting your hair in many ways. Those taking medication may see a difference in texture, density, strength, frizz along with bespoke experience that may differ from patient to patient.
Our bodies function incredibly through a system that is meant to utilize natural resources via vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. When we introduce a foreign substance it enters our blood stream which will eventually feed your hair follicle.
This change is the perfect example of how we see what we put into our bodies truly reflect on what we produce for the outside (skin and hair).
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Anxiety And Hair Loss?
Hormone imbalance can affect anxiety and will cause hair shed or hair loss.
Your thyroid is the main catalyst to regulate and send out your hormones and while our bodies are constantly changing, your thyroid (and hormones) could be looked at first when trying to navigate a solution to hair restoration.
How Can I Stop Hair Loss From Anxiety?
While you cannot stop stress related hair loss, there are ways you can help curb the potency of the onset of anxiety and stress in general.
*always consult with a physician if you are or may be suffering from anxiety and or stress.
- Breathe - we aren’t taught how to breathe, but your body responds to all emotions through breath. We can accommodate stress and anxiety by taking deep inhales and slow intentional exhales.
- Take a moment for yourself - before your day begins allow for a morning reflection and meditative state to set your mood and tone for the day, even before opening your eyes to the world.
- Exercise - take time in your day to exercise, if you can outside, oxygen and blood circulation naturally calms your mind while delivering endorphins through your body that will bring an overall ease.
- Reflect on the good things - your brain cannot tell the difference between past and present. When we think about the happier, brighter and stress free days or a specific time, your brain categorizes this as if it just happened (again) giving your body a change in a positive experience.
- Journal - if you can repeat (4. Mentioned above) in writing, or writing a note to yourself with a positive message. This can help develop your thought process to first find the positive and slowly change neural pathways from the negative into positive.
- Talk it out - schedule a time to speak to a therapist. While some may not want to divulge with a stranger, it helps to speak about the mental shortcomings you are experiencing to seek advice or come to your own ah-ha moments.
- Visit your Dr. - It is always important to seek medical advice from your primary physician.
Will Hair Loss From Anxiety Grow Back?
You have a good chance of getting it all back. While losing hair can be intimidating and scary for us, know that it can be temporary.
There are types of hair loss that are permanent when the issue is not addressed but likely, the anxiety and stress you are working through will only throw your hair cycles off for several months.
Keep in mind hair release phase and new growth phase are approximately every three months +, so while we may be anxious to get our hair back, try to avoid unnecessary stress through the process while your body heals and regulates itself again.
You may start to see your “normal” hair back after the underlying issue(s) are addressed and you are including healthy measures into your daily routine. This process may take anywhere from 6 - 9 months +.