Does Xanax cause hair loss?

8 min
When it comes to our appearance, we all aspire to look our best. One of the key elements that contribute to an elegant, healthy, and youthful look is having luscious, vibrant, and strong hair. It's the first thing people notice about us, playing a vital role in how we introduce ourselves to the world, and let's face it, looking nice does make us feel more confident. However, life constantly puts us face to face with challenges that get things out of hand. One common obstacle many face is the impact of mental health issues, with anxiety being among the most prevalent.

Fortunately, we live in a world where science is rapidly progressing, leading to the development of various treatments for anxiety. One of the most renowned medications for its swift action and calming effects is Xanax. In this article, we will delve into the world of Xanax and address a pressing question that often comes to mind: does Xanax cause hair loss?


Anxiety and hair loss:


Anxiety is a type of mental health issue characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and other physical changes. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorder is regarded as the most common mental disorder, and affects approximately 30% of adults throughout their lives.

You might be wondering if anxiety and hair loss are related. You probably think it’s a mental disorder, how could it affect our hair? Well, according to extensive research conducted by professional experts around the world, we can affirm that this is indeed the case.

Below are three forms of hair loss linked to high stress levels:

  • Telogen Effluvium: A disorder that could be developed because of extreme anxiety and stress. It leads to a significant number of hair follicles entering their resting phase prematurely, which increases hair shedding.
  • Trichotillomania: This is a psychiatric condition marked by the compulsion to pull one’s own hair out. It is frequently triggered by anxiety and stress and can cause substantial hair loss.
  • Alopecia areata: In this condition, the immune system targets, and damages hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. A range of factors, including significant stress, are believed to be potential triggers for alopecia areata.

It is important to note that all of these conditions are short-lived, and you may experience a period of temporary hair loss that can be treated by controlling your anxiety and stress levels. However, if you’re experiencing hair loss and suspect it may be related to anxiety, it’s always advisable to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional. They can help identify the specific cause of your hair loss, recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes according to your unique needs, and guide you through the process of addressing the issue.

Anxiety can be treated in many ways varying from lifestyle changes, self-help strategies, therapy with a professional, and sometimes medicines. Undoubtedly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anxiety treatment, the therapy approach is rather different to each case and the severity of the condition.

Medications are a common form of treatment that can help reduce stress and regulate the mood. It’s important to emphasize that you should not take medications for anxiety without the guidance of a qualified physician who can tailor the treatment to your unique needs, as drug abuse of these meds can have serious repercussions.

Xanax is one of the most frequently prescribed medicines for panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and anxiety associated with depression. Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used as an anti-anxiety medication that helps relax the nervous system and relieve symptoms of anxiety. It is extremely important to avoid taking Xanax without professional guidance, as it can lead to severe side effects. In the next part we will explore whether these side effects could also be associated with hair loss.


All side effects of Xanax


It is critical to understand the risks associated with starting or stopping any kind of medication, including potential side effects and drug interactions. This applies to taking Xanax, which must be done after consulting a doctor or specialist, because of its potentially serious side effects. To name a few, these are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Hallucinations or risk-taking behavior
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Jaundice that implies yellowing of the skin or eyes

Although hair loss is not a typically documented side effect of Xanax, many people suspected that Xanax has been the cause of their hair loss while they were on it. Let’s explore this further, and investigate whether there’s indeed a possible Xanax-hair loss link.


Xanax and hair loss


Numerous factors may contribute to hair loss. When using Xanax or other benzodiazepines, there are a few possible variables that might lead to hair loss. Let’s briefly discuss these factors:

  • Anxiety and Stress: Xanax is frequently recommended for conditions associated with stress and anxiety. On its own, excessive stress can cause hair loss, and if the drug doesn’t work to address the underlying anxiety, the hair loss caused by stress may persist.
  • Physical Well-being: Some people who use Xanax may have underlying health issues that contribute to hair loss. Specific medical concerns, deficiencies in essential nutrients, or hormonal imbalances, among others, which can all result in hair loss.
  • Interactions with Other Medicines: Patients taking Xanax may experience hair loss as a side effect of some other medications. If you are taking multiple medications, it’s important to inform your doctor before you start taking the medicine and discuss any potential interactions that may occur.
  • Lifestyle factors: Hair loss can be caused by many factors related to one’s lifestyle. For example, an inadequate diet, physical inactivity, smoking, or excessive alcohol use, all of which may impact a person’s overall health and contribute to hair loss.

Other antidepressants and hair loss


According to a study published in the International Clinical Psychopharmacology: an analysis of over a million new users of antidepressants, found that most other antidepressants did not cause hair loss as much as bupropion, with fluoxetine and paroxetine having the lowest rates. On the other hand, Fluvoxamine had the highest risk of causing hair loss.

It’s fundamental to keep in mind that not everyone who uses these drugs will encounter hair loss. It is advisable to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding this possible side effect. Specialist psychiatrists can also help you thoroughly compare the advantages and disadvantages of each medicine to ensure that you get the full picture.


Can my hair grow back if I stop taking Xanax?


We can say, in general, that yes, you can reverse hair loss after stopping Xanax if that was the real cause of your hair loss in the first place. This is because hair loss can be caused by a number of factors that may not be related to taking Xanax, therefore there may not be insurance for hair regrowth immediately after stopping the drug. Hair loss is frequently associated with stress or anxiety, conditions for which Xanax is often prescribed. If you stop taking Xanax and effectively manage your stress,  your hair may have a better chance of regrowing.


How to stop taking Xanax?


Any benzodiazepine drug, including Xanax (alprazolam), should be stopped under the supervision of a physician since the sudden stop might result in withdrawal symptoms and many other risks. A gradual tapering method is typically recommended for a smoother transition. Here are the actions to consider:

  • Consult a healthcare professional: Seek guidance from a doctor or psychiatrist to create a tailored tapering plan.
  • Gradual reduction: Follow the advice of your doctor to reduce your Xanax doses slowly to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  • Monitor your progress: Keep track of your symptoms and any challenges you may encounter and stay in close contact with your doctor.
  • Use other coping strategies: Learn and practice stress-reduction techniques and relaxation exercises.
  • Build a support system: Lean on friends and family for emotional support during the process and try to keep close to them.
  • Keep up a healthy lifestyle: Following proper nutrition and doing regular exercise can help you alleviate some withdrawal symptoms.
  • Trust the process: Keep in mind that the healing process may take time. For that, it’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s advice throughout the whole journey.

How can I treat my hair loss?


Treating hair loss may be done in many ways and that depends on the cause of hair loss. But we are here to provide you with some tips that would get you started:

  • Identify the main cause: Find out the root cause of your hair loss, whether it’s genetic, drug induced hair loss, a health condition, or a lifestyle factor.
  • Medications: Consult a doctor for prescription medications like Minoxidil or Finasteride, which may help increase hair growth.
  • Topical treatments: A few over-the-counter products can be useful as hair loss medications, such as serums and shampoos, as they can help enhance the condition of your scalp and hair.
  • Healthy habits: As we often say, inner wellness is the basis of good health. Maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress, and getting regular exercise will help promote overall health that will positively impact your hair.
  • Follow a hair care routine: Be gentle with your hair, empower it with essential oils, and avoid harsh chemicals and excessive heat.
  • Take the advice from the specialist: If your hair loss is severe or persistent, consult a dermatologist or hair specialist for personalized recommendations.

Live smart, take care of your mental health:


Our feelings affect our health in one way or another. Alongside maintaining physical health through diet and exercise, it’s equally important to prioritize your mental well-being. Always remember that you are not alone, and your family and friends play an essential role in supporting you through the difficult times in your life. Additionally, seeking guidance from a qualified expert can contribute to a more fulfilling life.

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