A new study has revealed that depression may increase alopecia areata risk. The most severe form of hair loss, there is currently no cure for alopecia areata and in some cases, it can leave patients completely bald.
It isn’t uncommon for patients to develop depression as a result of the condition, but up until now, practitioners were unaware that depression could also increase the risk of actually developing alopecia areata. Here, we’ll look at the link that has been discovered between the two conditions.
Depression could increase alopecia areata risk by up to 90%
Research into whether or not depression can increase the risk of alopecia areata was initially carried out after a recent discovery. It was discovered that depression is associated with a rise in systemic inflammatory markers, which ultimately revealed there could be a biologic link between the condition and alopecia areata. So, researchers from the Cumming School of Medicine decided to delve into the topic to assess the link between the two conditions.
What they discovered, was that depression does have the potential to increase the risk of alopecia areata by a staggering 90%. It was a large-scale study, looking at a health records database of more than 6 million patients, including up to 26 years of follow-ups. The sheer size of the study means the results are very conclusive and prove mental illness can impact alopecia areata, in the same way, alopecia areata can trigger depression.
Antidepressants may prevent alopecia areata
The study also found that antidepressants have the potential to prevent alopecia areata from developing. Those in the study who were prescribed antidepressants reported fewer incidences of hair loss.
This really highlights that although depression can increase alopecia areata risk by up to 90%, seeking treatment in the form of medication could eliminate the risk entirely.
How to cope when you have alopecia areata
Those who are suffering from alopecia areata can become extremely disheartened and frustrated that there is no cure. However, there are treatments available to minimise and cover up the condition. It is also worth keeping in mind that the hair may grow back. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll lose all of your hair as the condition varies in severity.
Several treatment options may be offered such as anti-inflammatory drugs known as Corticosteroids, or topical immunotherapy. Minoxidil and other medications may also be prescribed depending upon the severity of the hair loss. It’s important to seek advice from a hair specialist prior to starting any form of treatment to ensure you’re getting the best possible results.
Overall, this new research is certainly interesting and provides conclusive evidence that depression and alopecia areata can go hand-in-hand. Further research will now be required to determine how having depression with existing alopecia areata can impact the condition. Researchers also recommend that future research is carried out at a more molecular level. If the associations between the two conditions can be accurately identified, it paves the way for preventative treatments to be developed for dermatological conditions.