The Psychological Causes Behind Hair Loss

Hair loss or alopecia is a physical disorder which takes form in the, well, loss of one’s hair. Although it can occur anywhere on one’s body, the hair loss or hair thinning usually refers to the disappearance of hair on one’s scalp. Originally this phenomenon was noted in males however, in more recent years alopecia has been seen more frequently in both male and females of various ages.

Before the article continues, the difference between hair thinning and hair loss refers to the severity levels. Hair thinning is a mild to moderate level of loss, and hair loss refers to severe levels of loss or baldness.

One of the most common forms of hair loss is ‘male pattern baldness’. This is associated with a hereditary cause of hair loss, hence the term ‘pattern’. It refers to a thinning of the hair, usually above the forehead and along the temples, and appears in the late 30s to early 40s. Originally, premature hair loss among men, but research has indicated that the ‘hair loss gene’ may be passed to females – this may account for the hair loss seen among women. However, a more popular argument – particularly in today’s society – is that of a psychological base.

In the early to mid-twentieth century it was unusual to see females with hair thinning or hair loss. This may be due to the traditional gender role which they played within the house and work place. A stereotypical female within that era would be required to maintain a household, raise children and ensure her husband was properly cared for. Although taxing tasks in their own right, this was viewed as less stressful than the professional environment males were facing. However, there are arguments that hair loss was less rife due to the more organic and nutritious diets.

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Regardless of dietary theories, the comparison of those individuals with today’s hair thinned population is staggering and many believe it is due to the lifestyle changes. The increasingly fast-paced society has become a highly stressful setting in which to live and raise families. As well as the corporate world, family homes and school environments often invoke high levels of anxiety due to dysfunctional interactions one has to face on a daily basis. Often these high levels of stress and anxiety cause detrimental physical side-effects including weight loss, disrupted sleep patterns, headaches, nausea and hair loss.

Often individuals facing these physical symptoms and high levels of anxiety will seek medical help. Physicians have been known to either refer these patients to counselling services or prescribe certain medication in order to reduce or eliminate certain symptoms, sometimes both. In many cases it is seen that the medication does not reduce the experienced effects of stress, but increases them as a side-effect of the tablet.

In conclusion, hair loss can be caused by genetic factors but due to the stressful society we live in it is more likely because of stress. Until we learn to reduce our levels of anxiety, it is unlikely we will be able to handle this symptom without some form of treatment – hopefully without side-effects.

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