Alopecia is the clinical term for hair loss. It’s a deceptive affliction as the physical effects can be seen depending on the extent of hair loss the sufferer is dealing with. Of course, the most profound impact can be seen with just a look. The person with hair loss is the only one who knows the depths of emotional anguish that it can cause them.
While it may sound dramatic, our hair is the first thing others notice about us. When you lack hair, the impact on your self-esteem can be great.
Alopecia is a chronic disorder that has three subtypes: alopecia areata, the loss of patches of hair from the head and the most responsive to treatment; alopecia totalis, the loss of all hair on the head; and alopecia Universalis, the loss of all head and body hair.
Technically, alopecia is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the hair follicle. It is not life-threatening or painful, though there can be times the skin becomes irritated. It can cause physical issues like loss of eyelashes and eyebrows. Doctors are not sure of the exact cause of chronic alopecia, but they do know it is an autoimmune disorder that comes about because of genetic and environmental influences.
A Link to Perceptions of Beauty
Everyone is affected differently but there is a large portion of individuals that are affected that have severe psychological issues and for some, it can be almost devastating. It can take their self-esteem but simply bringing back their hair can change their whole outlook.
In a British Medical Journal study, it was found that the experience of alopecia is psychologically damaging. It causes intense emotional suffering which often leads to personal, social, and even work-related issues for some people.
Additionally, there seem to be more psychological effects of hair loss in women than men, because hair is often a key component of beauty. About 40 percent of women with alopecia have had marital problems as a consequence, and about 63 percent claim to have had career-related problems, according to the study.
Appearance may Trump Health
Anxiety and depression are common responses to hair loss, and it can become a vicious cycle: The more hair a person loses, the more he or she may become depressed and avoid social situations. In fact, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center Department of Dermatology found that psychiatric disorders are more common in people with alopecia than in the general population, which suggests that “those with alopecia may be at higher risk for developing a serious depressive episode, anxiety disorder, social phobia, or paranoid disorder,” according to the study.
It can be extremely important to have good health, but for some, that doesn’t matter as much as how they look. That is why people like to wear nice clothing, and they wear jewelry. Hair loss can be extremely unnerving because an individual may hyper-focus on it. They then lose that psychological edge in their personal and professional lives.