We lose hair every day. We may notice it when we take a shower in the morning or when we are finger-combing our hair. That is a normal thing. It is because hair fall is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. The hair strands that normally fall will be eventually replaced. However, some people may experience abnormal hair loss. This can be a symptom of a more serious health condition that needs medical attention or hair transplant surgery.
One of the many causes of hair loss is depression. People who are going through a traumatic experience like death in the family, divorce, or bankruptcy may experience extreme stress. These days, however, people can be depressed even without the occurrence of a harrowing life event. A research conducted at the Northwestern University’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies, depression is experienced by people who are spending a lot of time using their smart phones.
Experts already found out years ago that people who spend most of their days indoors and live a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to depression. This study from the Northwestern University cemented the fact by gathering the participants’ GPS location every few minutes. This tracked the participants’ daily routine. Those who have a sedentary lifestyle showed signs of desolation and fatigue. The study showed depressed participants spent at least 68 minutes a day using their smart phones for social media and games which is four times more than that of non-depressed participants with average daily usage of only 17 minutes. Depression was measured through the PHQ-9 questionnaire which determines levels of sadness and other major symptoms of depression.
How does depression cause baldness?
People who are depressed are more prone to smoking, drinking, and bad dietary habits. These acts can deplete the nutrients in one’s body and lead to Telogen Effluvium, a temporary condition where hair follicles are forced to enter into a resting phase. Although it is temporary, it can cause or even worsen androgenetic alopecia.
Some people deal with depression and other negative emotions through hair pulling. This is a psychological condition which is called trichotillomania. The act of pulling one’s hair leads to bald patches and hair damage which, unfortunately, may become permanent.
Anti-depressant medications such as fluoxetine, desipramine, sertraline, and amoxapine contain chemicals that cause Telogen Effluvium and other hair loss conditions. Lithium, a medication taken by people with Bipolar Disorder, may also experience thinning hair for up to 12 months.
The most common signs of depression is irritability, sleeplessness, weight loss, lack of appetite, lack of concentration, and even self-harm. Depression is a psychological condition that we should be wary about. If you think you or someone you know is showing the symptoms of depression, it is best to visit a general practitioner for immediate care. If baldness or hair loss is evident, visiting a hair loss clinic may also be of big help. Hair loss experts may consult with your GP to create a hair regrowth plan that is suitable for your condition.