HAIR LOSS & THE 5 STAGES OF GRIEF
Hair loss can have a devastating effect on your emotional well being and self-esteem and if you are grieving, this is an additional trauma that you could do without. The trauma and psychological stress caused by hair loss is rarely acknowledged or taken seriously but during times of bereavement, it is another form of loss that can be devastating in a time of sorrow. We hope to ease this time of trauma and sorrow by explaining why grief causes hair loss, followed by the stages of grief you might experience upon losing your hair and how to treat hair loss, restoring hair growth.
Grief has a destabilising impact on physical and mental health. The loss of loved ones can leave you in a conscious or unconscious state of stress. The effects of grief are unpredictable and ongoing, with no immediate end in sight. Grief can make you feel sad, adrift, lonely and insecure. Such emotions have negative effects on your health, which can manifest in hair loss. Grief can trigger hair loss. To discover how, grief causes hair loss keep reading.
How Does Grief Cause Hair Loss?
Grief can cause hair loss because of the impact it has on your diet and health. Comfort eating and lack of exercise are a by product of bereavement. Comfort food does not contain the necessary nutrients required by the body to form hair and lack of exercise slows the circulation of blood which is a necessity for hair growth. Lack of exercise has a reductive impact on the circulation of blood around the scalp. Hair grows when blood circulates around the scalp and passes essential nutrients to the hair bulb, so, when the flow of blood and nutritious diet is disrupted, it has an impact on hair growth.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Hair Loss?
The trauma and stress cause by bereavement can cause conditions like high blood pressure, medically known as ‘hypertension’ and can cause hair loss. This is because high blood pressure has an adverse effect on the circulation of blood around the body because when you are in a stressful situation your body releases Adrenalin. Adrenalin causes your heart to beat faster and makes blood vessels narrow and has a restricting effect on the flow of blood around the body.
This, in turn, reduces the circulation of blood to the scalp, which results in less nutrients being passed to the hair bulb to assist the formation of hair, all of which has an adverse effect on hair growth and hair strength, possibly resulting in hair loss.
High blood pressure medication side effects can also cause hair loss. So, if you are suffering from high blood pressure and have noticed an increase in hair loss, it is advisable to seek treatment like ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion which stimulates the circulation of blood flow around the scalp, revitalises your hair follicles and contains the vital nutrients required for your hair to grow, reactivating hair growth.
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Hair Loss?
Physical and mental distress caused by grief can disrupt your hormones and when hormones become imbalanced, this can trigger hair loss.
Hormone imbalances can occur during periods of personal distress triggering hair loss conditions such as Alopecia Areata. Areata Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder which causes hair loss and prevents hair from growing in patches around the scalp. The autoimmune disorder causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles whilst in the growth (Anagen) stage which stops hair growth. Hair loss is caused through inflammation as T cell lymphocytes (natural killer cells) cluster around affected hair follicles.
ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion is so effective at treating Alopecia Areata because it works in tandem with the science of your hair’s growth cycle. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion revitalises hair follicles and increases the rate at which blood flows around the scalp, passing nutrients to the hair bulb (microcirculation), which helps to extend the Anagen (Growth) stage whilst shortening the Telogen (hair fall) phase of the hair growth cycle, because the hair follicle is renewed faster which reduces hair loss and improves hair growth.
My Hair is Falling Out in Clumps, What Should I Do?
Trauma caused by bereavement can trigger hormone imbalances which have a disruptive effect on the hair growth cycle, potentially resulting in hair falling in clumps as well as hair thinning. Hair thinning or hair fall in clumps, up to six months after a traumatic or stressful event, is symptomatic of Telogen Effluvium, a form of hair loss caused by an anomaly in the hair growth cycle. There are three stages in the hair growth cycle:
Stage 1 Growth – Anagen. This is the growing phase of a hair follicle. During this phase, hair grows, on average, between one centimetre and half an inch, every 28 days. Hair remains in this active growth phase for between 2–6 years. Between 80% to 90% of your hairs are in this phase at any time. Genetics determine the amount of time hair stays in the anagen stage.
Stage 2 Transition – Catagen. During this stage hair detaches from its blood supply during this stage of transition. The Catagen stage can last between 2 to 3 weeks.
Stage 3 Rest – Telogen. This is the final stage in the hair cycle whereby the hair is released from the hair bulb and the hair follicle rests for about three months before the follicle returns to the anagen stage. On average, you lose between 100–150 hairs a day as your hair works its way through the final stage of the hair cycle. Between 12% and 20% of your hair is in this stage at any one time.
The hair loss condition ‘Telogen Effluvium’ occurs when Stage 3, the ‘Telogen’ stage lasts longer than 3 months and effects more than 30% of scalp hair. The disruption to the normal time frame of the Telogen Stage is triggered after a traumatic or stressful event. The trauma or stress affects the blood supply to the hair bulb adversely. The reduction of blood flowing around the scalp limits the amount of nutrients that are passed to the hair bulb, which hinders the ability for new hair to be formed. This results in the hair bulb remaining in the Telogen Stage for a prolonged period of time, because there are not enough nutrients or oxygen to allow the hair creation process to take place. The process of moving from the Telogen Stage (rest) to the Anagen Stage (growth) is not possible due to the lack of blood circulation and nutrients available to form hair. This causes hair to fall, stop growing and become extremely thin.
Because Telogen Effluvium is a symptom of trauma, grief and stress, it is a temporary form of hair loss that can last between 6 to 9 months. There are cases where Telogen Effluvium can last longer if the stress and trauma is ongoing. However, the fact that Telogen Effluvium is temporary doesn’t make it any less devastating. Severe hair thinning or hair fall in clumps exasperates an existing stressful situation and can have a damaging effect on self-esteem at a time when self-confidence is required to weather the storm of adversity.
If you are suffering from Telogen Effluvium seeking treatment that reactivate the Anagen stage of the hair growth cycle is advisable. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion is made with the patented Si MATRIX PF, which stimulates the flow of blood around the scalp, contains the vital nutrients that your hair needs to grow and revitalises hair follicles, all of which prevents hair loss and restores hair growth. Made with natural extracts of Rosemary and Nettle, the shampoo has a cleansing and nourishing impact on the scalp, making hair thicker and stronger. For more information about our treatment please click here. To read our reviews, please click here.
Practical Steps to Stop Hair Loss and Restore Hair Growth
Exercising whilst grieving might seem absurd and is probably the last thing you would want to do but there are emotional benefits to exercise. Firstly, exercise releases endorphins to the brain, which is a natural pain reliever. Therefore endorphins will help to mitigate the excruciating pain of loss. Also, because the creation of hair is dependent on the flow of blood around the scalp, passing oxygen and vital nutrients such as protein to the hair bulb to form hair, lack of exercise can hinder this process. Exercise helps to improve circulation of blood around the body and scalp, so lack of exercise can slow down the hair creation process. Exercise also helps to reduce levels of stress by releasing endorphins to your brain, which in turn, minimises your perception of pain. So if you want to eradicate stress and keep hair loss at bay, start exercising, right away.
Jogging – Cardio is a great way to get blood to circulate around your entire body, including your scalp which promotes hair growth, preventing hair loss. Also vigorous exercise like jogging can make you sweat, particularly your scalp which helps to flush out toxins that can cause hair loss.
Neck Exercise – Stretching neck muscles by moving your head up and down and side to side can help to release tension and stress trapped in the neck and surrounding muscles which can obstruct the constant flow of blood to the scalp.
Breathing Exercise – Doing breathing exercises can prevent hair loss because it increases the amount of oxygen in circulation in your body which in turn improves the level of oxygen in blood. Oxygen is a vital component for hair formation because it is passed to the hair bulb via blood flow.
Your diet will affect the growth, health and shine of your hair. The nutrients in the blood, particularly protein, are transferred to the hair bulb, resulting in the formation of hair cells. Nutrients form the basis of hair creation. So, a poor, un- nutritious diet that is low in protein, will affect the amount of nutrients in the blood, thereby influencing the rate of hair growth negatively.
The 5 Stages of Grief
There is no denying that hair loss is an awful and if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above you are probably feeling disappointed, stressed, frustrated or helpless. When you lose your hair you are losing a function of your body that is used to cultivate your image, so when your hair goes, it can throw your life into crisis, aggravating the sense of loss you are already feeling. Part of you that was once there is now missing, so it is likely that when you experience hair loss you will go through the five stages of grief:
Denial is the first of five stages of grief. Denial helps you to cope with the loss of hair, especially when you are dealing with the sorrow of bereavement.
If the hair loss is gradual, denying that it is happening soothes the inner turmoil and prevents you from having to confront the issue and find a solution. Rapid hair loss on the other hand can cause shock because it is sudden and surprising, so the brain handles this by pretending that it is not happening, postponing dealing with the situation to a time when you are more equipped psychologically.
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process because it enables you to release the emotions and confront the fear caused by the loss of hair.
Feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, despair and fear are triggered by hair loss and manifest in anger.
- Disappointment – whether it is the first time you have lost your hair, or you have experienced frequent hair breakage, your mood will be effected and you will probably feel sad.
- Embarrassment – Hair affects your physical presentation, so losing your hair can leave you feeling self-conscious, ashamed or awkward. Also, obvious hair loss can be ridiculed/joked about by your peers, causing embarrassment and humiliation.
- Despair – When you experience excessive hair fall, you might feel like you don’t have any options in terms of hair styles. A general feeling of hopelessness and not knowing what to do next can prevail.
- Fear – losing your hair is a fearful experience because it is wrought with uncertainty and beyond your control. You do not know if the hair loss will stop and to what extent it will affect your physical appearance.
Once you have worked through the emotions caused by hair loss, through the outlet of anger, you will then try to do anything to save the hair that remains, to mixed results. The bargaining stage involves sourcing solutions that will prevent further hair loss. Maybe you will stop washing or combing your hair in an attempt stop hair loss. Anything that involves tugging or pulling your hair might be avoided to preserve the hair you have left. Should hair loss persist, bargaining might converge with desperation, wherein your judgement is clouded, and you indulge in peculiar remedies.
After bargaining, our attention turns to the present situation; persistent hair loss or hair loss that has stopped, leaving you with uneven hair lengths or even baldness. Whatever, your current hair loss situation, an element of grief will be involved as a result of the loss. The hair that was once there is now gone and mourning the loss through a feeling of depression is part of the healing process.
This stage is about accepting the reality that our hair has actually gone and that you have to start again from scratch or work with the hair you have left. Recognising your new ‘hair reality’ helps you to cope with your situation, whether that means finding a new way to style your hair, sourcing wigs, weaves or extensions or researching credible hair loss treatments, such as ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy 3 Month Treatment Pack. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion stimulates the flow of blood around the scalp and revitalises hair follicles which improves hair production, extending the anagen (growth) stage of the hair growth cycle, restoring hair growth, making hair thicker and stronger whilst reducing hair loss. Click here to learn more about ProTress and click here for product reviews. If hair loss is not treated it is likely to get worse.