A study has been announced which will explore whether mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCBT) could help people with Alopecia Areata who experience social anxiety as a result of their condition.
Alopecia Areta is an autoimmune disorder which can affect men, women and children, presenting suddenly as anything from rounded patches of hair loss on the scalp, to total baldness of the head, or from head to toe. These two more extensive iterations are known as Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, though they are also often referred to as severe Alopecia Areata.
The behavioural research is being conducted by the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the leading hair loss charity, Alopecia UK.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy
Eight participants are currently being recruited for this study which will concentrate on teaching these volunteers techniques for reducing their social anxiety.
The outcomes will be measured by comparing the test subjects’ data obtained from during the eight-week course and afterwards. seeing if the University team’s hypotheses about how MBCT could benefit people with Alopecia Areata, are correct.
These hypotheses are that participants will experience an “increase in mindfulness during the intervention period, relative to the baseline phase and this will be maintained at follow-up” and that “increases in mindfulness will be associated with decreases in social anxiety, anxiety and depression, and increases in dermatology quality of life”.
Help in coping with Alopecia Areata
As such, it is important that they be offered the appropriate support for the psychological effects of the condition, not just the hair loss itself – where that it is possible.
Presently, only the scalp-only form has Alopecia Areata treatment options with a notable success rate; treatments for Alopecia Totalis and Universalis are, however, in the latter stages of development and looking promising for a potential release by 2021/22.
These conditions can sometimes clear up naturally, with hair regrowth often resuming naturally within 12 months in the case of mild, scalp-only Alopecia Areata, however, they can also recur. If and when this could happen cannot be predicted, which can be another source of anxiety.
Cognitivie behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy which some people with hair loss find helpful in coming to terms with their condition and learning how to cope.
Hair loss charities, such as Alopecia UK, can be an invaluable source of support for those affected – as well as their friends and family – particularly in the newly-diagnosed. In addition to recommending services that could be useful, they can generally provide information about local peer support groups. Talking to others who are going through the same experience can be important in fostering feelings of inclusion and building a community.
Results from this University of Sheffield study are expected in the summer of 2019 and we will publish the findings here on the Belgravia hair loss blog as soon as they become available.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.