Depression often involves emotional distress along with physical symptoms: fatigue, aches and pains, and digestive problems, just to name a few.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, and you’ve also noticed some hair loss, you might wonder whether it’s just another sign or side effect of depression.
While experts haven’t found evidence to suggest depression directly causes hair loss, depression may have a more indirect role in thinning hair. And, of course, a sudden or significant increase in hair shedding can easily create a new source of stress or worsen an already low mood.
Below, we’ll cover the connection between hair loss and depression, explore other common causes of hair loss, and offer some guidance on getting support.
Experts have found some evidence to suggest certain depression symptoms may be linked to hair loss.
A 2012 study explored possible links between hair loss and depression symptoms in 157 women of various ages seeking treatment at a dermatology clinic.
The researchers asked questions about:
- hair type
- hair color
- shampooing, brushing or combing, and hair coloring frequency
- current medications
- underlying health conditions associated with hair loss
- depression symptoms
- personal relationships
Of the women interviewed, 54 percent said they experienced hair loss. While 29 percent of the women reported two or more symptoms of depression, 38 percent of the women experiencing hair loss also had at least two key depression symptoms:
- a persistent low or sad mood
- decreased interest and enjoyment of regular activities and daily life
- fatigue and low energy
Study authors also noted that women in their 20s and 30s were more likely to experience symptoms of both depression and hair loss.
The study didn’t determine that depression actually caused the hair loss, however. The researchers also didn’t rule out all possible medical causes of hair loss. Still, the results suggested that changes in mood, such as depression, may be linked to hair loss.
The role of stress
Stress is a known cause of thinning hair. In fact, stress can play a part in three different types of hair loss:
Depression and stress aren’t the same, of course. But stress can certainly factor into depression. Sudden, unwanted life changes and ongoing life challenges can increase your stress.
Triggers might include:
If you find it difficult to navigate and cope with these stressors, emotional distress can worsen and eventually contribute to depression.
The authors of the study above also noted that women who reported hair loss were more likely to not only have not depression …….