Alopecia areata occurs when the body attacks the hair follicles. The attacks cause hair loss anywhere on the body and usually begin in isolated coin-sized patches. Hair growth and loss are unpredictable, and some face total hair loss on the entire scalp or body. As you can imagine, this can take a toll on the self-esteem and mental health of those diagnosed. It can feel like so much is out of your control, but there is hope. When you embrace your new normal and build a strong support foundation, you can begin to restore confidence, no matter how severe your alopecia is.
The Effects of Hair Loss
Hair loss can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life, even impacting loved ones around you. Those diagnosed may appear older than they are, or even sick. Having to explain why you look different while trying to mask or cover the missing hair can chip away at you. It can be especially difficult for children and teens in school. Parents may feel guilty for passing on the wrong genes, helpless because there is no cure, and anger from dealing with school, doctors, and bullies. Siblings can feel shame or anger from how the disease has affected their lives.
Know and Use Your Resources
Self-confidence and living your best life are not out of reach when you have alopecia areata. Educate yourself and those around you so you can stay informed about your condition and build the support system you need. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation has many resources for education and tips for living with alopecia. It features cosmetic options and techniques, and even an online shop for anyone interested. All are specifically geared for people with partial and total hair loss. There is also a support group locator to link with others diagnosed with alopecia areata.
If the sadness or depression is lasting or concerning you, it’s time to talk with your doctor. There are many treatments, no matter the severity, to get your mental health back on track.
Alopecia Areata Research
More effective alopecia treatments are being researched through clinical research studies. The research studies that have been conducted at our facility at New England Research Associates have been instrumental in bringing new and effective treatment options to the public. To learn more about our currently enrolling studies on alopecia, click here.