Hair loss due to Stress

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HAIR LOSS DUE TO STRESS

In today’s life and time, there can hardly be anyone without stress. Stress is not always overt. It can be in the subconscious form. When it comes to stress it is important to differentiate between the good stress called Eustress and the bad stress called Distress.

Eustress is the good stress, for example, making arrangements or packing bags for a holiday abroad is the good type. This does not cause any damage.

High sales targets, night shifts, traveling long distances to work in peak traffic, lack of sleep, erratic sleeping patterns, skipping meals due to work pressure are all examples of bad stress or distress. Competition in a workplace can be a double-edged sword. On one hand it can improve performance but on the other hand it can cause severe stress. Maintaining a balance in life is perhaps harder today than ever which is also referred in American Academy of Dermatology Association. Demands in school or at work can push down on you. If you don’t set limits you can become drained, overworked and in the end even burn out.

Stress does not always have to be in the form of sleepless nights. If one is relocating every 2-3 years, and doing it with the entire family, then there is scope of stress affecting you. Settling in a new house with new neighbors, loss of old friends, finding new servants, getting children admitted in new schools all of that is stress as well and to top it all if one is anxious by nature, it would certainly add fuel to fire. All these factors can severely affect your hair and trigger baldness.

The above phenomenon is typically seen in executives and people in corporate life who travel to different parts of the world every few months and have high levels of stress to boot. A very typical thing that occurs in such cases is that not only does the hair fall occur fast, but the hair goes white very quickly as well. In fact the graying often extends to the body hair as well, so you will find the beard hair and the chest hair going white early as well. It’s almost as if these factors combine together to cause premature ageing of the hair roots.

Furthermore, a vicious cycle tends to develop wherein stress causes hair loss and the hair loss in turn causes more stress and this cycle can go on till the person goes completely bald.

Often caused by hair fall can get serious. While hair fall is never injurious to your health directly, there are Health Related Quality of Life (HRQL) studies that have shown that the amount of stress some people experience with hair fall is comparable to that which patients experience when they suffer from cancer or any other life threatening disorder.

An article published in Bangalore Mirror in April 2014

To avoid stress one cannot stop working or traveling and stay at home all the time. There is also no point in advising things like “don’t take stress”. It is cliché and has no meaning. What one can do is be aware and be prepared to face these problems. Very often the symptoms are there for one to see, but we choose to ignore and neglect it. Early diagnosis and medical intervention can prevent damage to hair roots at the right time. For example, when acute hair loss develops, there is change in the growth to fall ratio. The normal ratio should be 9:1, but in these conditions the ratio often becomes 7:3, or even 5:5 in worse cases. With suitable medication the damage to the roots can be repaired so that the ratio is reversed back to 9:1 or as close to it as possible. Thereafter following a certain maintenance therapy can help to prevent this condition from relapsing.