To be human is to have anxiety. Some degree of anxiety is generally lurking in the background getting us out of bed in the morning, motivating us to get stuff done every day. But at times, anxiety can grow and essentially take over our lives. When it comes to dermatology problems, hair loss (alopecia) is one of the primary conditions we encounter that is often intertwined with anxiety.
Anxiety with Hair Loss
This is a two-way street. Hair loss can make a person more anxious. On the other hand, being anxious about the condition can make the hair loss worse. This phenomenon is something that the best dermatologists identify daily in practice.
As dermatology providers, we are constantly working with patients to help them diagnose and manage hair problems. Throughout our time in practice, we often find that when patients are worried about these conditions, they can obsess about them. However, this further boosts their anxiety levels. In some cases, this can create a healthy amount of anxiety. Whereas at other times this anxiety becomes more than that. It starts to take minutes and potentially even hours out of a person’s day. As humans, we can worry. Moreover, we can spend a great deal of time obsessing about our problem. This obsessing might include looking at our hair in the mirror often or for lengthy periods of time. Excessive worry (obsessing) might also include counting or looking very closely at all the hairs that are being lost.
One notable type of hair loss, called telogen effluvium, is directly triggered by stress. This can be physical stress due to a medical ailment, psychological stress (anxiety), or have components of both. We see numerous cases of telogen effluvium, which is usually self-limited. This means it will shut itself off when the underlying problem is corrected. However, we also see many cases where the hair loss persists for a much longer period of time. A person suffering is made even more anxious by the shedding of hair. In turn, this feeds back into the condition and causes even more hair loss
As dermatologists, we do not have extensive training in managing anxiety. However, we do have a great deal of experience in identifying those patients who are suffering from anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or another condition called body dysmorphic disorder. In most cases where we identify these additional psychological issues, it is our moral imperative to ensure that the entire patient gets all the treatment they need. We frequently will suggest to patients that they see a medical provider experienced with the management of anxiety.
Primary care physicians are a great resource for most people to help with their anxiety. We feel fortunate that we practice here in this part of the Midwest. We have some exceptional primary care physicians, and many of them are experienced and adept at helping patients with their anxiety.
Hair Loss Anxiety Tips
Here are some simple tips we often share with patients that they can try in the meantime to reduce their anxiety about alopecia:
- Five-minute guided meditation: online-search for these and consider doing one daily.
- Force yourself not to look daily at either your scalp, your thinning hair, or the hair you have shed. Try not to check the towel. Don’t check the floor. Try not to check your brush. Don’t check the shower drain. It is important to understand that doing any of these feeds into the obsession and can make your hair loss worse. Only check one day a month, on whatever day your birthday happens to coincide with. For example, if your birthday is on December 31, then check these things only on the last day of each month.
- Generally, individuals who stress and worry with higher levels of anxiety about their hair loss condition, tend to be intelligent and driven individuals. Minds such as those need an outlet. When they find the outlet of the hair loss, they will wrap themselves around that. This can lead to excessive anxiety or even obsession. It is important to find other distractions, other past-times, and hobbies to take your mind off the hair loss. Perhaps spending time talking to friends, finding a new TV show or a good book to dig into may help redirect and distract your mind.
- Sometimes stress can be relieved by other very healthy ways. Things such as using a stress ball, fidget spinner or deep breathing exercises.
Anxiety Hair Loss Treatment Omaha
We believe it is critically important in the practice of dermatology to identify that anxiety can contribute to some of the more common issues that we see in dermatology.
It is unfortunate that this link to anxiety is sometimes overlooked either by medical professionals or patients themselves. Treating your whole self is critically important. To clarify, this includes both the body and the mind.
We cannot claim that our approach to anxiety associated with hair loss works every time. However, we have had many great successes. Our work is made so much easier by our primary aim. We aim to help people with their dermatology condition and find happiness and balance in both their skin/hair/nail issue and their perception of their issue.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from a hair loss problem, consider seeing one of our highly experienced dermatology providers. See us at any of the dermatology clinics at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands. Whether your condition is causing zero or maximum anxiety, we can help you work through identifying the diagnosis and developing a comprehensive treatment plan.
Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Best Dermatologist Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists
If you are interested in pursuing this wonderful skin treatment or want to find out more information, please contact us at (402) 933 3770. We offer this treatment in all our offices at 129th and Pacific (Sterling Ridge) and 15805 West Maple in Omaha and Valley View Drive in Council Bluffs. If you need more assistance, please consider seeing us in a consultation.