Depression and Chronic Stress - Can They Cause Hair Loss?

I have been experiencing chronic stress for a long time, about 5 years non-stop. From this I developed depression and suicidal thoughts. My question is can hormonal changes develop from experiencing chronic stress and manic depression over a long time cause hair loss? What is the best way to lower the levels of each, and if I deal with both - will my hair regrow?

Doctor Answers 3

Hair loss with stress

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Hair loss can clearly be caused by high levels of stress.  The hair loss phase is called telogen effluvium, and can cause partial or complete hair loss.  Your family M.D. needs to be consulted to help you with this, as well as even a Psychologist or Psychiatrist for situational stress treatment on occasion  My hope for you is that with proper treatment this condition will be reversed, but please be advised that I professionally had a patient  who did not have a reversal of hair loss.  Consider this as a recommendation to seek professional help sooner rather than later, if you would.


Good luck to you.


Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa Plastic Surgeon

Depression Linked to Hair Loss

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Yes, depression and excessive emotional or physical stress are linked to hair loss. Stress can prompt white blood cells to attack the hair follicles, causing alopecia. It can also push hairs into a prolonged resting phase, which is called telogen effluvium. Your hair loss should not be permanent and will likely grow back once you get your emotional health on track. I advise you to seek help for your psychological turmoil first and foremost.  Then, if your hair does not grow back in due time, consult a dermatologist.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Role of Depression and Chronic Stress in Hair Loss

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I personally believe that depression and chronic stress, both of which can alter hormone levels, play a role in hair loss. That being said, as hair loss is a very complicated subject and requires a hair evaluation and extensive discussion of the patient's history including medications, this question really should not be answered online. I recommend you consult with a board-certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. 

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.