Can Hair Loss Be a Sign of Depression?

Hair loss is a significant problem in the world that affects people in a variety of ways. We may lose our confidence since distortion of our appearance is one of the strongest threats for us but the question about whether it is a sign of depression lead me to do some research on this issue.

Is it possible that hair loss can signal depression? Our mind and body are obviously affected by each other. Studies that are conducted in the dermatology clinics displayed that people with hair loss problems have considerable depression symptoms than people without hair loss problems. Depression has symptoms that gradually or suddenly decrease our appetite, activity level and will to do something and sometimes increases the need for sleep. These changes in our behaviors may influence the nutrients we take and state of our physical health and result in damage to the hair growth. If someone is going through these stages, hair loss can be a predictor of depression.

Hair loss has been studied so many times that dyadic relationship between physiology and psychology of hair loss is complicated. There are situations which our mood affects our lifestyle and this may cause impairment in our health like hair loss. Also, our physiological alterations bring about strong psychological consequences that need attention.

There are behavioral, emotional, social, and physiological variables to this relationship and there are lots of outcomes. Hair loss and its relation to quality of life, symptoms of depression, dietary, anxiety, stress and life satisfaction are studied a lot. I tried to make a brief summarization on this relationship from both sides.

Life-Style Contributions

Generally, hair loss problem is not examined based on one single possible factor. Hair loss could be the problem itself or it refers to other conditions in the body that needs medical attention. Its relation to depression can be understood under the scope of depressive symptoms.

Depression is a common problem and there are types of depression based on different causes, treatments, and effects. However, there are common symptoms that associate with habits, behaviors, and patterns of lifestyle that associate with hair loss. As experts claimed that the state of our overall health match with the quality of our hair. There are three possible changes in our behaviors that possibly cause hair-loss and make it a sign of depression.

1) Exercise and Hair Loss

Fatigue, loss of energy and no willingness to do something is a salient symptom of depression. Hair loss has its share here from the chemicals that play role in hair growth and their relation to exercise.

Doctors at Harvard University supported the idea that exercise is an effective way to fight with depression because it makes us release certain chemicals like endorphin and stimulate the hippocampus resulting in the reduction of depression. Exercise brings about hormonal regulations and mood stabilizations to our current state. Also, in one study it is demonstrated that endorphin has a regulatory role in the hair growth cycle.

2) Dietary and Hair Loss

Although it is difficult to attribute a relationship between nutrients and hair growth, diet plays a role in terms of protein weighted nourishment. Therefore, low appetite as a symptom of depression also makes hair loss as a sign of depression.

Our body works in a harmony that keeps us alive and sustains homeostasis. When some deprivation occurs in our body, physiological processes makes economic movements that make as long as possible for us to be alive. Since hair does not have much survival value, in deprivations such as food generally hits them first. That is why our hair growth process could be fragile in certain circumstances like depression.

3) Insomnia and Hair Loss

The sleep cycle is an important clock of our body that regulates the body. It benefits from the sunlight and makes us release certain hormones and not to release certain ones at a particular period of the day. A defect in our sleep and sleep cycle has a direct and visible effect on our health. Hair loss is one of them since insomnia brings about physical and psychological changes that have an impact on hair growth. Also, it is one of the significant symptoms of depression.

Other Relationships Between Hair Loss and Depression


Experts reported that inflammation as a symptom of depression may have a crucial role in some cases of hair loss. Inflammation affects the communication between two lobes of the brain so that depression is triggered because of a lack of pleasure. Physicians reported that treating the inflammation can help to reduce hair loss. Thus, hair loss may be associated with depression in a way of inflammation in the body.


Postpartum is a period that the mothers will be open to serious hazards. Hair loss and depression could be separate in terms of postpartum experiences, but research also shows evidence for hair loss as a physical symptom for postpartum depression. In the postpartum hair loss situation, it could be explained by our body’s working principle. During pregnancy, women’s hair is generally healthier because of the vitamins and other conditions. At this period, the normal level of hair loss was not experienced so the body throws the extra hair after giving birth.

Psychology of Hair Loss

Hair loss has a broad range of impact on sufferers’ lives. There are lots of studies about its psychological effects on individuals. The feeling of vulnerability, decreased self-esteem, causing mood disturbances and an impaired self-image is just a few of them. In fact, this train of negative outcomes have a long-lasting effect and are not easily relieved.

Even if people adapt alternative ways, its impact continues over the years as follow up studies that both psychologists and dermatologists did display. Unfortunately, all these feelings and thoughts trigger the depressive state of individuals and may even lead to it. Since it is a condition that changes how we look, there are four negative psychological effects of it. Here are I wrote it for you:

1) Quality of Life

Studies show that people who suffer from hair loss have a greater sense of vulnerability than people who do not have such problems. In addition to that, these people are more likely to have an increase in the prevalence of depression and they are not very pleased with their current consultations. They think that their physicians are not concerned and sensitive to their problem, do not support them. They report that their self-confidence decreases, and they constantly try to hide their hair loss. All of these alterations bring about a huge reduction in the quality of life of the sufferers.

2) The Anxiety of Hair Loss

I informed you that anxiety and stress may accelerate the process of hair loss but sadly, hair loss itself lead to anxiety and stress. Research conducted with alopecia patients (a disease with chronic hair loss) displayed that hair loss give rise to social anxiety.

Even patients without social anxiety prior to hair loss demonstrate social anxiety symptoms like avoiding from social events, fear of being judged by someone and whether others see their hair loss, feeling of embarrassment, performance fears etc. They also experience sweating, fast breathing, and flushing etc. as the physiological changes of anxiety. 

3) Self-esteem and Extraversion

Psychological research conducted revealed that as hair loss increases self-esteem decreases. This relationship applies mostly to young people than old people. Thus, young people with hair loss problems are at more danger. In addition to that, psychologists found that people with hair loss problems and again particularly young people suffer from introversion and not much likely to be social.

They also showed high depressive symptoms and has a strong feeling of unattractiveness. Consequently, individuals with hair loss problems are at great danger in terms of psychological well-being and barriers to social life.

4) The Distress of Hair Loss

A study conducted with four European countries pools the variety of correlates of hair loss psychologically. This investigation conducted with men reveals that men with hair loss have a considerable dissatisfaction to their look and they think they seem older than they actually are. They also have feelings of helplessness and worry.

Distress about their appearance put high pressure on men and it causes concerns and dependence on others thought about their physical appearance. These impacts impair their social functioning and satisfaction with their life. Fortunately, hair loss does not impact sufferers career.

Related Questions

Can depression make your hair fall out?

Depression has serious consequences on people’s lives. It causes dramatic changes in both the psychological and physiological state of the individuals in terms of decreasing self-worth, self-esteem, lowering mood and weight loss, decreased activity, decreased appetite. All of these changes also affect our hair growth as I mentioned. However, recent research indicates that some anti-depressants may cause danger to hair growth as well. Apart from depression itself, anti-depressants as treatment of depression may lead to hair loss.

Can you lose your hair from stress?

Stress and anxiety also provoke hair loss in certain ways. Our body and mind interact with each other and our interpretation and thoughts about events make us feel disruptive emotions. Thus, an upcoming deadline makes us stressful if we think that it is a very important deadline that everything should be perfect.

These interpretations make our body aroused and when we aroused our body releases certain hormones like cortisol. Since the human body tries to establish equilibrium by decreasing and increasing activities, these associations can result in blocking the normal activities like hair-growth.

Can you feel your hair falling out?

Generally, when there is a problem with hair loss, you can sense it. You can notice there is much more hair coming out than usual during the shower. Also, you can notice from your pillow, comb or your clothes. Apart from these signs, there is a special case that you may not realize that your hair is falling out. It is a disease called “alopecia areata”.

Sometimes our immune system cannot identify some of the cells in our body and attacks them. Alopecia areata results from attacks of the immune system to the hair cells. Because it starts with thinning and develops in a progressive level, you may not easily recognize if your hair loss results from this disease.

Can your hair grow back after thinning?

Hair loss can be seen in people differently. Its course of development, underlying reasons and types of treatment could be different. For instance, in women, menopause has a contribution to hair loss because of the decreasing estrogen level. Estrogen is an important hormone for hair thickness and growth. There could be dozens of reasons for hair thinning so it can be hard to detect. Fortunately, there are 5 things to grow back hair after thinning.

1) Shampoo
Shampoos for hair thinning contains necessary supplements for hair growth and helps to strengthen hair. It is one of the affordable ways to treat and prevent hair loss.

2) Stress Management
I informed you about the danger of the stress and anxiety to your health and hair growth. Stress has relatively long-lasting effects in our body. One of the ways of getting rid of its negative effects is exercising. Exercise can help to throw away excessive cortisol in the body.

3) Fruits
Fruits contain essential vitamins, carbohydrates, and proteins to grow our hair. They supply energy to cells. It is important to take enough portions of fruit to the body for your hair growth.

4) Scalp massage
This way works thanks to the blood flow. If you kindly apply massage to your skin, blood flow to that area increases and it makes the cells refresh there. As American Hair Loss Association declared minoxidil treatment also works fine. In this treatment, you apply minoxidil to the scalp with massage and it provides development of hair.

5) Vitamin B12
All vitamin deficiencies cause significant problems in our lives and most of the time we neglect to take enough amount of vitamins to our body. Apart from its cognitive importance, Vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient for our hair. Paying attention to intake of Vitamin B12 could be preventative for hair loss and reverse the hair thinning.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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