Alcohol and Hair Loss 

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : October 30, 
| 4 Sources

Alcoholism Side Effects

Negative impacts of hair loss on mental health
Addressing hair loss associated with Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse is a drinking pattern that leads to significant and recurrent negative consequences. When we talk about negative physical consequences, we often think about cirrhosis of the liver or other digestive concerns. The truth is, that heavy and regular use of alcohol can have a variety of consequences on our bodies, alcohol and hair loss is just one.

The lesser known consequences associated with alcoholism is hair loss. Hair loss is usually a distressing condition and could have a huge impact on the patient's self-confidence and quality of life. In this article,alcohol and hair loss, we will briefly review the factors that are known to contribute to hair loss, as well as the role that alcoholism can play.

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Factors that Contribute to Hair Loss

There are several factors that we know influence a person’s risk of hair loss. The simplest reason would be a predisposition to hair loss. Simply put, if your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles experience hair loss, then you may have a genetic predisposition.

Another common factor contributing to hair loss is stress. This can be stress from financial concerns, relationship difficulties, family concerns, health problems, school or work conflict. Learning to cope with these stressors would likely have a positive impact on the associated hair loss. Easier said than done, of course, however this means that by decreasing your stress you would likely see some changes in your hair loss.

Alcohol and Hair Loss
How it Can Contribute

If you can identify with the previous two factors mentioned, and you struggle with alcoholism, you may have several factors going against you.

Over time, extreme alcohol abuse could result in the development of serious chronic diseases as well as other health issues. A common concern among individuals who have struggled with alcoholism for some time is malnutrition. When someone is struggling with an alcohol addiction, alcohol becomes their main priority. The basic needs are out the window, and your focus is now on drinking. When your next drink will be, how you are going to get there and so then the pattern continues.

A common result of this is that by focusing so much on alcohol, we either forget to eat because we are distracted, or we eat foods that lack nutritional value. Either way, this can lead to vitamin deficiencies that can have a negative impact on hair health.

If you would like to read more on alcoholism and hair loss, please click the link for further information.  

How Hair Loss Can Impact Your Mental Health

Hair loss can have a significant impact on some individual’s mental health. For others, it may not have much of an impact. Everyone is different and will have different response to it.

For some, hair loss can impact their confidence and how they feel about themselves. Our appearance can have a positive or negative impact on our confidence, and for some, a sudden or significant change in your hair line can be impactful. Some worry that having hair loss will make them less attractive, or less likely to find a partner.

For others, they may experience some depressive and/or anxiety symptoms related to their hair loss. It is important to note that hair loss can effect both men and women. We tend to associate hair loss with hair on our head, however other possible areas that can be impacted would be our eyebrows, arms and legs.


The Combination of Hair Loss and Addiction

When we think about individuals who struggle with addiction, there is a variety of mental health concerns that can come up for them.

For example, common struggles among alcoholics would be depression and anxiety symptoms. This can be related to their behaviors or negative consequences from their addiction. Examples of this would be a loss of employment, separation from partner, relationship turmoil or legal concerns.

So when we think about a person already struggling with their mental health due to an addiction, by throwing in the additional stress or of hair loss, the person would likely struggle more than if they only had one of the two concerns, alcohol and hair loss.

After looking at the downsides of hair loss and addiction, it is important to note that there are options to address both hair loss and addiction concerns. There is hope!

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Coping with Hair Loss

Hair loss can vary from slight hair thinning to complete baldness. Living with hair loss can be a challenging experience that can lead to some mental health struggles. The good news is that there are things that you can try to help cope with any distress you may be experiencing.

The first would be to try and gain some perspective on the situation. Unlike other health difficulties, alcohol and hair loss is not life threatening. For some, trying to recognize this can help lessen the hardships associated with hair loss.

As mentioned above, there are some factors that contribute to hair loss that are not permanent, such as stress, which means that your hair loss may be a temporary struggle for you.

With that being said, if stress is a main contributing factor for you then try to make changes to decrease your stress level. For some, this may mean asking for help which can be challenging. An additional option would be to meet with a mental health provider for some talk therapy.

The benefits of working with a mental health provider is that they are an unbiased person who will keep your session private. You would have a safe place to openly talk about your concerns, worries and fears. Your therapist would be supportive, and try to help you find ways to cope with your distress.

For some, working with your hair stylist or barber to see if they have ideas for changes that may help hide or minimize your concerns with hair loss.

This may not be helpful in the present moment, however, as time goes on there are more and more options for products that can be used to help decrease hair loss. If you are unable to find a product that works for you at this time, there may be something that comes out down the road that is a better fit for you.

If this is the case for you, it may be worth considering trying some of the other options for coping skills.

Others find comfort in trying to use products to help re-grow hair. It may be worth having a conversation with your doctor first in case malnutrition is a contributing factor for you. For further information regarding hair loss products, please click the link.

 Coping with Alcoholism

When it comes to coping with a drinking problem, it may not be as simple or straight forward as coping with hair loss.

There are several factors that go into deciding what treatment options would be appropriate for someone struggling with an alcohol addiction. These factors include:

· How much they drink during one drinking occasion

· How often they drink

· The length of time that they have been drinking heavily

· Any history of withdrawal symptoms including any symptoms in the present moment

· Any history of blackouts

· Any previous experiences with medically supervised detoxification

· Any previous inpatient and/or outpatient treatment program experiences

· Consequences resulting from drinking including: job ramifications, relationship concerns, legal charges or health concerns

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If you find yourself wondering if you have a drinking problem, it may be worth having an honest conversation with your Primary Care Physician. Chances are, after talking about your concern with them they can point you in the direction of appropriate options for you.

Recommendations can range from detoxification, to inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment. Some may benefit from engaging in therapy if they are struggling with drinking behaviors and do not meet criteria necessary for the other treatment options.

If you are thinking that you may have a drinking problem, but are not ready to commit to the options mentioned above, it may be worth checking out a self-help meeting. Alcoholics Anonymous is widely known and has a history of helping many alcoholics.

Try not to be discouraged by the statistics associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, and have an open mind. Even taking time to look through their website and reviewing the free materials on their website can help exposure you to the material.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not for everyone, so know that there are other options for meetings that you can try if you feel that AA is not a good fit for you.

What we know about addiction is that it is a chronic and progressive disease. Unfortunately, what this means is that if you do not do something to address your alcohol addiction, it will continue to progress and likely kill you.

Long term heavy drinking is known to have some serious health consequences. It is also known to contribute to negative consequences in other areas of a person’s life such as family, mental health, career and finances.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

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