Alopecia areata and increased prevalence of psychiatric disorders

Int J Dermatol. 1994 Dec;33(12):849-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4362.1994.tb01018.x.


Background: The relationship between psychiatric disorders and alopecia areata has not been well studied. Although previous reports have been unable to correlate psychiatric illness with hair loss, a recent study determined that 74% of patients with alopecia areata (AA) under evaluation had one or more lifetime psychiatric diagnoses.

Methods: Two hundred and ninety-four community-based patients with alopecia areata responded to a detailed questionnaire distributed by Help Alopecia International Research, Inc. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders was determined using diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IIIR).

Results: Major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and paranoid disorder were all present in patients with alopecia areata at rates significantly higher than in the general population.

Conclusions: Alopecia areata patients are at a higher risk of developing psychiatric comorbidity during their clinical course.

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia Areata / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Paranoid Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Risk