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Can Depression Cause Hair Loss?

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If you have been dealing with depression, it is possible that you have also been noticing negative changes to your hair. As it turns out, your mood and your body can be closely connected, meaning that mental conditions like anxiety, depression, and extreme stress can end up taking a toll on your physical state as well.

Below, we will outline the potential circular relationship between hair loss and depression, as well as the science behind why depression may cause hair changes, why it is important to loop your doctor in if you notice hair loss issues, how certain medications can impact your hair, and ways that you can try to improve hair loss from depression.

Does depression cause hair loss or can hair loss cause depression?

Depression can put the body into a stressful state, and that extreme chronic stress can translate into slowed hair growth, increased shedding, hair color changes, or general declines in hair health. 

However, this may also be a chicken and egg situation, since, for many people, hair loss can worsen your self-esteem, and confidence levels, and make you feel less desirable in your intimate relationships. This may mean that hair loss contributes to a lower mood in some individuals, and even more psychological stress. Thus, the depression and hair loss cycle continues.

Why depression may have a negative impact on your hair

There may be a few different ways that depression can negatively impact your hair. 

Firstly, depression may increase your overall stress levels, and chronic stress can lead to slower hair growth or more shedding than usual.

Also, depression and stress may trigger or worsen existing hair loss concerns including genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), or autoimmune hair loss conditions like alopecia areata. One study found that alopecia areata may also be associated with higher rates of depression.

Finally, if you are feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious, you may not be taking care of yourself as you would if you were feeling good. This may mean less general hair care, conditioning treatments, and maintenance trims, as well as less nutritious food choices, and less physical activity. For some people, this may translate into hair that is less healthy than usual.

Talk to your doctor to check for underlying health conditions

While depression alone can be a trigger for hair loss, it is still important to talk with your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on that may be behind your hair loss.

Medical situations like thyroid disorders, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and scalp skin conditions can trigger or exacerbate hair loss as well. If you are also dealing with one of these situations, your doctor may be able to help you identify and address the underlying cause.

Certain depression medications may be worse than others for hair loss

If you are already dealing with hair loss or are especially concerned about negative hair effects, it may be worth mentioning this to your doctor if they are looking to choose an antidepressant for you.

One study looked into the risks of hair loss with common antidepressants and found that bupropion has the highest risk of hair loss with use, while paroxetine had the lowest risk of hair loss with use.

It is unsafe to adjust or stop a depression medication without guidance from your doctor. But, if hair loss has developed recently or is a big concern of yours, ask your doctor about depression treatment options that may have fewer risks of hair loss issues.

How to help treat depression-related hair loss

The best way to help treat hair loss that is potentially related to depression is to help improve the underlying condition. Take your medications as prescribed, and include healthy stress coping mechanisms into your daily life to help reduce chronic stress.

Ask your doctor to test for any underlying conditions that could be exacerbating the hair loss situation and follow their instructions on proper treatment or coping techniques for those as well.

Also, if your hair concerns seem to be related to a lack of self-care, try to find ways to take better care of yourself even on days that you are not feeling your best. Have a few nutritious meals frozen and ready to go on days when your energy is low, and make an effort to integrate self-care stress-relieving measures like light exercise or meditation into your day.

Finally, it is also possible that you are dealing with hereditary hair loss like androgenetic alopecia, which just happened to start around the same time as your depression, but may not necessarily be related. For this situation, you can talk with a doctor to identify if your hair loss is following a hereditary hair loss pattern and learn about potential options to help slow the progression.

Strut Health prescription hair loss medication online

Here at Strut, we help treat the most common form of hair loss in both men and women -- genetic hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia.

We offer topical and oral treatments that can be customized with multiple ingredients to help fit your hair loss needs and goals.

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss medication can help slow the progression of your hair loss, simply select a medication and complete a free questionnaire and image-based online consultation. Our doctors will review your information, determine if treatment is a good fit for you, and put together a treatment plan. Then, your medication will be put together at a U.S. licensed compounding pharmacy and shipped to your front door with our free shipping.

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