“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Hair Loss, Hair Thinning, Balding – Anxiety Symptoms

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: October 4, 2019


Anxiety and Hair Loss, Thinning, Balding, Bald Spots:

Common anxiety related hair loss descriptions:

  • You notice your hair is thinning
  • You notice your hair is falling out in clumps
  • You notice you are getting some bald spots
  • It seems your hair is falling out and/or thinning more than normal
  • It seems you are going bald
  • It looks like you are losing hair on your head and/or other spots on the body
  • You notice there is more hair in your comb, brush, or in the tub or shower
  • You fear you are going bald because of your anxiety
  • You also notice an increase in the amount of hair coming out when you comb or brush your hair, when washing or rubbing your skin, or that you are pulling out clumps of hair at a time

You can experience hair loss on one area of the head only, many areas of the head, and the entire head. You can experience hair loss on any other part of the body, as well.

Hair loss can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may experience hair loss, thinning, and balding once in a while and not that often, experience it off and on, or experience hair loss all the time.

Hair loss may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

Hair loss can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

Hair loss can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. For example, hair loss can be mildly, moderately, or greatly noticeable.

Hair loss can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

Why can anxiety cause hair loss, thinning, balding?

Medical Advisory

We recommend all new, changing, persistent, and returning anxiety symptoms be discussed with your doctor as some medical conditions and medications can cause anxiety-like symptoms, including this anxiety symptom. If your doctor concludes your symptoms are solely anxiety-related, you can be confident there isn't a medical cause. Generally, doctors can easily determine the difference between anxiety symptoms and those caused by a medical condition.

Doctors aren't infallible, however. If you are uncertain about your doctor’s diagnosis, you can seek a second or more opinions. But if all opinions agree, you can be assured anxiety is the cause of this symptom.

If your doctor said your hair loss is from anxiety or stress, yes, stress, including the stress caused by anxiety, can cause hair loss, thinning, and balding. Being stressed and anxious (worried, apprehensive, fretful, fearful) causes the body to produce the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.[1][2]

Because the stress response is supposed to elicit a dramatic change so that we are better equipped to deal with an adversary, stress hormones are powerful. But just as stress hormones are powerful, hormones, in general, are powerful, too. They control many of the body's functions, such as growth, fertility, energy, how the body develops, the body's biological clock, and so on. A change in hormone levels can have a profound affect on the body and how it functions.

And hormones can affect each other. When certain hormone levels are elevated, they can cause an increase and/or decrease in the levels of other hormones, which can cause all sorts of bodily function changes and anomalies.

For example, androgenic hormones (such as testosterone and its related hormone DHT) can affect hair growth. The presence of androgens can cause some hair follicles to regress and die. In women, hormones with androgenic activity cause hair loss as well. The adrenal glands produce androgenic hormones, as well as the hormones responsible for the stress response. An over stimulation of the adrenals can cause an increase in androgenic hormones, thereby indirectly causing hair loss.

Many people notice hair loss, thinning, and balding as a result of behaving overly apprehensively.

How to stop and reverse anxiety related hair loss, thinning, balding?

Stress caused hair loss can be stopped and reversed by reducing stress. When you reduce stress sufficiently and for sufficient time for the body to recover from being overly stressed, you should see this hair loss symptom subside.

When behaving apprehensively is the main source of your body’s stress, dealing with your anxiety issues and learning to contain can reduce the stress load on your body.

Approximately one third of those who struggle with anxiety unwellness experience hair loss, thinning, and balding. Most see this reversed when they’ve reduced their stress, dealt with their anxiety issues, and given their bodies sufficient time to recover.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any quick solutions to stress- and anxiety-caused hair loss, thinning, and balding. But you can reverse it when you deal with your stress and anxiety issues.

Since there can be other factors involved with hair loss, thinning, and balding, again, it’s best to talk with your doctor prior to assuming your hair loss is solely stress- and anxiety-related.

Play the clip below for Jim Folk's commentary about the hair loss anxiety symptoms. Jim Folk is the president of anxietycentre.com.


A little more than one third of anxious people experience hair loss due to their anxiety and the stress it causes. Jim Folk experienced hair loss during his 12 year struggle with anxiety disorder.

Some anxious personalities become anxious about their hair loss. It’s important to recognize that being anxious about hair loss will cause anxiety symptoms to persist, including hair loss. So it’s best to deal with your anxiety issues so that your body can recover and eliminate the hair loss symptom.

If you are having difficulty dealing with your anxiety issues, you may want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an anxiety therapist/coach is the most effective way to overcome anxiety issues and its symptoms.


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


Additional Resources:


Return to Anxiety Disorders Signs and Symptoms section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including hair loss anxiety symptoms.


REFERENCES:

1. Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York, NY, US: McGraw-Hill.

2. Folk, Jim and Folk, Marilyn. “The Stress Response And Anxiety Symptoms.” anxietycentre.com, August 2019.