An emotional trauma can cause sudden hair loss; this reversible, normal condition is called telogen effluvium.
How can something that has nothing to do with your hair or scalp cause your hair to fall out? Well, according to doctors and hair loss experts, anything that disrupts your body’s normal rhythms or hormone levels can also disrupt the hair growth cycle. Sometimes, this disruption causes hair follicles to get stuck in the telogen, or resting, phase until they are pushed out in the exogen (shedding) phase. Because follicles do not return to the normal anagen (growth) phase, hair loss appears to be sudden and noticeable. This condition is known as telogen effluvium.
An emotional trauma can be just as shocking to the body as a physical trauma, such as going through chemotherapy or a severe car accident or even childbirth.
Some emotional traumas that can affect your body and your hair follicles negatively include:
- Death of a loved one
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as war-related trauma
- Being a crime victim
- Moving to a new Country
Many of these emotional traumas also cause problems with sleeping and eating, which further starve hair follicles and prevent them from entering their growth stage.
Treatment for emotional trauma causing telogen effluvium
Be gentle with yourself and give your mind and body time to adjust to whatever the new reality is. Consider counseling or a visit to your Trichologist to ease the transition and to express feelings. The closer you are to returning to your normal lifestyle and schedule, the less likely you are to suffer from telogen effluvium
Don’t worry about the hair loss, because this is your body’s normal response as it deals with shock — whether to the mind or the body — and tries to adjust. Experts say hair loss and thinning due to telogen effluvium are largely temporary, occurring about three months after an initial life-changing event such as those listed above — and hair usually regrows and resolves about six months after the initial hair loss.