It is clear that hair loss causes insecurity and low self-esteem. It also seems there is a connection between thinning hair and depression. But does depression cause hair to fall out or does hair loss cause depression?
Hair Loss, Low Self-Esteem and Depression
Some men handle their thinning hair, such as from male pattern baldness, without a second thought. Others develop a sense of dread as their hair thins, feeling their receding hairline makes them look older or less virile. But androgenetic alopecia, as this condition is medically known, can happen at any age and to men from all walks of life and physical conditions. So these are highly individualized thought patterns and perceptions.
Over time, and as the hair loss increases, individual self-esteem can decrease. This often leads to bigger mental health issues like depression and anxiety. In turn, the negative self-thoughts affect work performance, relationships, socialization and even the desire to enjoy favorite activities. Many men experience a growing sense of losing control in their lives with each lost strand.
It is no wonder that depression develops in many balding men, given the pressure society places on them to appear young, powerful and attractive. The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology directly ties hair loss to depression because of increased self-consciousness and lower self-esteem that often accompany male pattern baldness. Likewise, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently published a study connecting a higher risk for depression and anxiety to hair loss. While these two studies do not make it possible to say that hair loss causes depression in all men, the two conditions clearly go hand-in-hand for many.
Signs that Hair Loss Causes Depression
Signs of depression in men with hair loss are the same as depressive signs for anyone else. They include:
- Persistently low mood
- Hopeless feelings
- Guilty feelings
- Lost interest in favorite activities
- Worthless feelings
- Appetite changes
- Weight changes
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
- Isolation from family, friends and community
Depression Caused by Hair Loss
Besides the question of whether hair loss causes depression, there is the issue of whether depression causes hair loss. In fact, certain medications and treatment methods for depression or other mental health conditions can have side effects like hair loss. The National Institute of Mental Health affirms this. Sertraline is one such antidepressant medication with this side effect.
If you suffer depression and take medication for this common mental health condition, talk to your doctor about whether your hair loss relates to your prescription. You may have options to your current treatment methods that do not cause these side effects.
On its own, depression does not cause your hair to fall out. But you can experience telogen effluvium, stress-related hair loss, if you go through periods of intense stress. Likewise, you can lose your hair if you have problems with your thyroid or blood pressure. Certain types of cancer also lead to thinning hair.
It is important to note that hair loss from stress or depression medications consists of all-over hair thinning. It does not take the form of male pattern baldness, such as the type of hair loss seen on Prince William and Prince Harry. Androgenetic alopecia is not caused by depression, nor depression medication. Male pattern baldness strictly relates to DHT hormones and genetics.
Still, certain publications like the International Journal of Trichology report that male pattern baldness can cause depression. This depression comes from a lower quality of life tied to how people feel about their changing hairline. This means that hair loss causes depression, if you let it. But there are ways to fight your thinning hairline and put off the genetic loss, thereby improving your outlook for your future and your quality of life. You only need to contact Dr. Arthur Zacco at AZ Hair Restoration for a consultation and to learn more about your options. Call AZ Hair Restoration today at 919-504-1822.