While we’ve examined many physical and health-related causes of hair loss, another common cause of hair loss is triggered by emotional stress.
The hair growth cycle includes four phases: Anagen, the growing phase, Catagen, the transitional phase where growth stops; Telogen, the resting phase; and Exogen, the shedding phase.
Emotional-related hair loss occurs when the hair is in the telogen effluvium phase and significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase.
Stress-related hair loss causes the hair to appear thin and less dense than normal. The hair loss occurs over a period of weeks and months when washing and combing the hair, resulting in excessive shedding.
Another stress-related hair loss condition involves the pulling of hair called, trichotillomania. The MayoClinic describes this as the irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrow or others areas of the body. People with trichotillomania resort to hair pulling to relieve tension, loneliness, boredom or frustration.
The pulling causes red bald spots throughout the scalp. If not treated properly, it can lead to permanent hair loss. Treatment for trichotillomania includes behavior therapy.
Lastly, stress can cause an onset of Alopecia areata, an auto-immune disease that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles as discussed in depth in previous blog posts.
The fortunate thing about these types of hair loss is that it can be reversed. With proper treatment and management of stress levels, hair can grow back.