Patients with alopecia areata may have multiple risk factors for mental health disorders, including psychological distress and impaired quality of life. These patients may require close monitoring, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Individuals were comprised of patients with alopecia areata culled from a national impatient sample of US hospitalizations, and alopecia areata was identified by ICD-9-CM code 704.01. The reference group included patients without alopecia areata. Mental health statistics in patients with alopecia areata were measured against those in the general population, and statistical analyses were performed using SURVEY procedures. Logistic regression models assessed 60 associations between alopecia areata and mental health disorders.

Inpatients for mental health disorders with alopecia areata were younger compared with those who did not have alopecia areata (average age 42.2 years, compared with 47.9 years, respectively.) Inpatients with alopecia areata also had a higher number of mental health disorder diagnoses at 32.8%, compared with 20.0% of inpatients without alopecia areata, and 2.2% with primary mental health diagnosis (P <.0001).

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Researchers concluded that individuals with alopecia areata had higher rates of schizophrenia. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders and conduct disorders had a stronger association with patients diagnosed with alopecia areata compared with those in the general population. Researchers were able to examine the association between alopecia areata and several mental health disorders, but concluded that “large-scale prospective studies are needed to address the complex relationship and mechanisms of [mental health] disorders in [alopecia areata].” 

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This publication was made possible with support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Dermatology Foundation.


Singam V, Patel KR, Lee HH, Rastogi S, Silverberg JI. Association of alopecia areata with hospitalization for mental health disorders in US adults [published online August 6, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2018.07.044.