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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Balding and Stress

08/14/2006

Question:

I have a bald spot on my head about the size of a dollar coin. I believe its stress. Can you help?

Answer:

Sounds like you might have alopecia areata, a common problem where a patch of hair becomes bald.  It is not felt to be related to stress or "nerves," but because it is so common (5 million people in the US alone) it is likely that many of these people are facing stressful situations at the time it occurs, although it is unlikely that the stress causes the alopecia.

See your doctor for sure to make sure that the diagnosis is correct.  Some skin infections can also cause hair to fall out.  Check out the National Alopecia Areata Foundation website for more information -- http://www.naaf.org/.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati