Can Depression Cause Hair Loss?

While there are many potential causes of hair loss, depression is one possible culprit. Learn more about the link between depression and hair loss, and what you can do to treat both conditions.

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Depression is a serious mental illness that can have a variety of physical symptoms. One of the less talked about symptoms is hair loss. Depression can cause hair loss in both men and women, and it can be a temporary or permanent condition. While hair loss associated with depression is not as well-known as other symptoms, it is nonetheless a serious issue that can have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life.

What is Depression?

Depression is more than just feeling down or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that affects your mood, thoughts, and physical health. Depression can cause hair loss because of the stress it puts on your body. When you’re depressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This means that your body is preparing to either fight or flee from a perceived threat.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is more than just feeling “down.” It’s a serious mental illness that causes a range of symptoms, including:

-Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
-Fatigue and decreased energy
-Changes in appetite (usually a loss of interest in food, but some people eat more)
-Sleep problems (insomnia or sleeping too much)
-Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
-Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
-Loss of concentration, memory problems, and difficulty making decisions
-Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
-Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive disorders that do not respond to treatment
-Worthlessness or guilt

Types of Depression

There are different types of depression, each with its own symptoms, duration, and severity. Major depressive disorder, or MDD, is the most common type of depression. MDD is characterized by a persistently low mood that interferes with daily life for at least two weeks. Other types of depression include dysthymia, which is a less severe but more chronic form of depression; seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is caused by the changes in seasons; and bipolar disorder, which is characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood (“mania” and “depression”). While hair loss can be a symptom of all types of depression, it is most commonly associated with bipolar disorder.

How Does Depression Cause Hair Loss?

Depression is a mental illness that can have a profound effect on physical health, and hair loss is one of the potential side effects While the link between depression and hair loss is not fully understood, it is believed that the two conditions share a number of underlying causes.


Stress is one of the main causes of hair loss. When you’re under stress, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that can contribute to hair loss. If you’re experiencing increased hair shedding or thinning, it may be due to stress.

There are a number of ways to manage stress, including:

-Exercise: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Even a moderate amount of exercise can help manage stress levels.
-Yoga: Yoga is another excellent way to reduce stress. Yoga can help relax the mind and body, and may help reduce hair loss.
-Meditation: Meditation can also help relax the mind and body, and may help reduce hair loss.
-Stress management: There are a number of other stress management techniques that can help, including relaxation techniques, journaling, and spending time in nature.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Depression can lead to nutritional deficiencies for a number of reasons. Poor appetite, comfort eating, and gastrointestinal side effects of certain medications can all contribute to nutrient deficiencies. These deficiencies, in turn, can cause hair loss.

The most common nutrient deficiency associated with hair loss is iron. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the cells. When there isn’t enough iron in the blood, the cells don’t get enough oxygen and the hair follicles start to miniaturize, which leads to hair loss.

Other nutrients that are important for healthy hair include zinc, biotin, and vitamins A, C, and D. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can lead to hair loss.

Hormonal Imbalances

Depression can cause hair loss due to hormonal imbalances. When you’re depressed, your body goes through a lot of changes. Your sleeping patterns change, you may lose or gain weight, and your hormones can become imbalanced. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one of the ways that depression can cause hair loss is by throwing your hormones out of balance. This can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium, which causes your hair to fall out.

When to See a Doctor

If you’re shedding more hair than usual, it’s important to find out if it’s due to stress or another treatable condition. In most cases, hair loss related to stress is temporary. However, it can be permanent if the underlying cause is not addressed.

See your doctor if your hair loss:
-Is sudden or severe
-Is accompanied by scalp pain, itchiness, or redness
– Causes patchy hair loss
– Causes bald spots
-Is accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, or changes in appetite


Yes, depression can indeed cause hair loss. While the mechanisms by which this occurs are not fully understood, it is believed that depression can lead to a decrease in the production of certain hormones involved in hair growth, such as cortisol and testosterone. Stress, another common symptom of depression, is also thought to play a role in hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss and think it may be due to depression, it is important to see a doctor or mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment.

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