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Stress and hair loss: Are they related?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-and-hair-loss/AN01442
- With Mayo Clinic psychiatrist
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
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Stress and hair loss: Are they related?
Can stress cause hair loss?
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Yes, stress and hair loss can be related.
Three types of hair loss that can be associated with high stress levels are:
- Alopecia areata. A variety of factors are thought to cause alopecia areata, possibly including severe stress. With alopecia areata, white blood cells attack the hair follicle, stopping hair growth and making hair fall out.
- Telogen effluvium. In this condition, emotional or physical stress pushes large numbers of growing hairs into a resting phase. Within a few months, the affected hairs may fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair.
- Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania (trik-oh-til-oh-MAY-nee-uh) is an irresistible urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body. Hair pulling can be a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, anxiety, tension, loneliness, fatigue or frustration.
Stress and hair loss don't have to be permanent. If you get your stress under control, your hair may grow back. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your hair. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. If needed, your doctor may suggest treatment options for the hair loss as well. And if efforts to manage your stress on your own don't work, talk to your doctor about stress management techniques.Next question
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- Goldstein BG et al. Nonscarring hair loss. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 13, 2010.
- Alopecia areata. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_alopecia.html. Accessed Aug. 13, 2010.
- Messenger G. Alopecia areata. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 13, 2010.
- Fact sheet: Trichotillomania. Mental Health America. http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF9926-1372-4D20-C88C1DDD5A71D709. Accessed Aug. 13, 2010.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert review). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 13, 2010.