Depression and Hair Loss

Your appearance is largely defined by the way your hair looks. After all, why else would people be spending hundreds and thousands of dollars each year having it styled and on the various products designed to keep hair looking healthy, lustrous, and young? For many people, hair is a symbol of their youth, their vitality.

The most famous parable pertaining to hair has to be the biblical tale of Sampson. With his long hair, he was able to defeat wild beasts and tame the gorgeous Delilah. Without it, he was the ancient version of the 98 pound weakling. Sampson’s story isn’t the only one of its kind to be found in the reserves of truly ancient history. The Egyptian Pharaohs wore great wigs and even false beards to emphasize their power and longevity.

Today, hair still has enormous importance in defining who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Psychologists theorize that when a man or a woman starts to lose his or her hair, they actually go through a period similar to mourning or grief. While this may seem odd, it is perfectly normal. Remember, a thick, healthy head of hair is in many ways symbolic of the youth that many of us remember fondly as we grow older.

But the loss of hair in a younger person can be doubly devastating. For this person, hair loss is something that is supposed to happen to older people. A twenty-one year old college graduate just isn’t ready to face what he considers a middle-aged syndrome. Furthermore, his hair loss may make him look five, even ten years older than his peers, further separating him from the age group he most closely identifies with.

It is not unusual for a young person, first experiencing hair loss, to fall into depression. Many young people who have lost their hair report of feeling isolated socially, even though the cause of that isolation may simply be that they don’t feel comfortable in public anymore. Lots of young men who’ve lost some of their hair will take to wearing baseball caps to cover their balding scalps. Some young men report that they would refuse to go to places that required them to remove their caps.

Some professionals report that they feel less productive at work after experiencing hair loss. A common complaint is that the subject feels a loss of confidence and is therefore less apt to succeed on the job. This can be a real problem for salespeople, where outward confidence is vital to success.

Regardless of how the loss of confidence manifests itself, the first symptoms of depression as a result of hair loss will alter the way other people perceive that individual. The physical change due to the actual loss of hair may be secondary to the manner in which the affected person interacts with others. If he feels less confident, less sure of himself; he will begin to appear so to others.