Alopecia  areata sudden hair loss, most commonly a condition that occurs in 2 percent of the population.  Alopecia starts abruptly, usually with one or more bald patches, up to three inches across that may overlap.  The bald areas are smooth and painless.  

The cause of Alopecia is unknown.  In true cases of Alopecia Neurotica the cause of the hair loss is due to excessive anxiety and/or stress.  Other suspected factors include: family predisposition, and autoimmune reactions to your own hair follicles.  In 90% of the causes, the hair grows back in 6 to 24 months.  The outcome is worse if the episode occurs early in life, or if you lose all of your scalp hair in single episode.  To diagnose Alopecia, you physician will perform a complete medical history and examination.  Testing may be need if an underling disorder might be the cause.  Endocrine disorders (such as Hypothyroidism), dermatitis, radiation, high fevers, and drugs  may also cause hair loss. 


Treatment will depend on curing or controlling any underling conditions, if one exists.  Tranquilizers, and antihistamines are often prescribed to help control the patients stress reaction, and reduce the possibility of an autoimmune reaction.  Psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and hypnosis are among the various psychological treatments, which may help in reducing the stress, which in may causes is responsible for the hair loss. Your physician may also suggest various techniques to make your hair grow.  Even after the hair is gone the roots remain alive. This allows the for new hair growth. Cortisone tablets are sometimes prescribed to be taken orally to promote new hair growth.  

Unfortunately prolonged use of the Cortisone can cause physical and mental side effects. The new hair usually falls out when the tablets are discontinued.  Other forms of Cortisone are rubbed on or injected into your scalp. Their effect is also often temporary, and this treatment is practical and effective for only small areas.  Another method employs irritants rubbed onto the scalp, to cause chronic skin inflammation.  

This can sometimes make hair grow.  Allergen sensitizers are also applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth.  These methods require professional supervision, and are time consuming, but effective.  Another approach uses Minoxidil.  This drug was developed for high blood pressure, and had the unanticipated side effect of stimulating hair growth, sometimes in unwanted areas. For treating baldness, it is used as a topical lotion.  The hair produced is usually fuzzy, the treatment is expensive, and so far the results have been varied.