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Int J Trichology. 2017 Oct-Dec;9(4):160-164. doi: 10.4103/ijt.ijt_53_17.

Utilization of Mental Health Resources and Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Alopecia Areata: A U.S. Survey.

Author information

1
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH, USA.
2
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
5
The Geisel School of Medicine, Hanover, NH, USA.
6
Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA.

Abstract

Background:

The efficacy of traditional medical treatments for alopecia areata (AA) is limited, leading some to pursue alternative treatments. The utilization and nature of these treatments are unclear.

Objective:

To assess the extent to which patients with AA pursue alternative treatments and to characterize these treatments.

Methods:

A 13-item electronic survey was E-mailed by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) to their patient database and shared on the NAAF social media to individuals with AA.

Results:

Of 1083 respondents, 78.1% of patients were very or somewhat unsatisfied, compared to 7.7% who were very or somewhat satisfied with the current medical treatments for AA. Approximately a third of patients pursued therapy-related mental health services (31.2%) and attended support groups (29.0%). Patients were more likely to pursue a mental health-related therapy if they had long-standing alopecia, or if they were young, female, or white.

Limitations:

This was a convenience sample of patients recruited online and via the NAAF AA registry.

Conclusion:

Many patients with AA are dissatisfied with current treatments and are seeking mental health treatment for AA. While the efficacy of alternative therapies is unknown, further research is needed to determine their role in the treatment of AA.

KEYWORDS:

Alopecia areata; alopecia totalis; alopecia universalis; alternative; complementary; dermatology; emotional; hair loss; mental health; predictors; psychiatry; psychological; psychology; psychotherapy; satisfaction; support group; survey; therapy; treatments; unconventional

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