The psychological impact of alopecia

HUNT, Nigel and MCHALE, Susan (2005). The psychological impact of alopecia. BMJ, 331 (7522), 951-953.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7522.951
Link to published version:: 10.1136/bmj.331.7522.951

Abstract

Introduction - Alopecia is a chronic dermatological disorder in which people lose some or all of the hair on their head and sometimes on their body as well. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the hair follicles. It is neither life threatening nor painful, though there can be irritation of the skin, as well as physical problems resulting from the loss of eyelashes and eyebrows. The aetiology and subsequent development of alopecia is not fully understood, but it is an autoimmune disorder that arises from a combination of genetic and environmental influences.1 We have included alopecia secondary to chemotherapy in the current review as, although there are fundamental aetiological differences, they may share similarities—for example, anxiety arising from the alopecia and the psychological impact relating to identity.

Alopecia has few physically harmful effects, but may lead to psychological consequences, including high levels of anxiety and depression. Medical treatment for the disorder has limited effectiveness, and the failure to find a cure can leave patients very distressed. This article reviews the research into the psychological impact of alopecia.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Psychology Research Group
Identification Number: 10.1136/bmj.331.7522.951
Depositing User: Sam Wharam
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 09:39
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2012 09:39
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6203

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