Can your itchy scalp be caused by anxiety

Can your itchy scalp be caused by anxiety?

When you suffer from anxiety you may experience some emotional as well as physical symptoms. One of the many symptoms of anxiety is profuse sweating or hyperhidrosis. Sweat provides an ideal site for bacteria and the presence of these bacteria can cause you to itch. Because your head is covered in hair it may not always be so easy to get rid of all the sweat and if you suffer from anxiety you may find yourself sweating anyway the moment you step out of the shower.

Can your itchy scalp be caused by anxietySweat is unfortunately not the only reason for your itchy scalp. A condition known as neurodermatitis, where you experience an itch without any physical explanation is a very common side effect of anxiety.

Not only can the constant itch cause you to be distracted at work or at home, but it can also lead to scarring and permanent hair loss if left untreated. Your scalp may itch more at night especially before bedtime as you are then less distracted by work and social responsibilities than during the day. This can in turn lead to a bad night as far as sleep is concerned and hamper your ability to deal effectively with stressful situations the following day.  You may also feel afraid that your colleagues, family or friends will think that you are dirty from the constant itching and scratching. Even though scratching may bring you temporary relief it won’t be soon before you find yourself scratching at an inch on your scalp again.

Some serious underlying diseases such as liver or kidney disease may also cause an itchy skin so it is important to make sure that you are not suffering from one of these conditions.

If anxiety is confirmed to be the reason for your itchy scalp you should seriously address the underlying cause of anxiety before you necessarily treat its symptoms. Anxiety can rob you not only of your emotional well-being but also of your physical health. The good news is that anxiety can be overcome and has been overcome by many others just like you.

 Psychological therapies such as behavioral therapy or talk therapy can prove to be very helpful in identifying the cause of your anxiety. Learning new stress management skills can help reduce the chances of future anxiety attacks and all of its unpleasant associated symptoms.

While you are in the process of beating your anxiety you can relieve your itchy scull by washing your hair with cool water to which you added some baking soda to relieve the itch. To limit the amount of damage you can do to your skin try to keep your nails short. The worst thing you can do is to try strong chemical shampoos. Even in these shampoos help in the short term they tend to dry out your scalp making it more prone to injury. Hypnosis and acupuncture may be effective in breaking the itch scratch cycle which forms quite easily as a result of anxiety.

Do not lose heart. If so many other people have beaten anxiety you can too. All it will take is time and a little effort on your side.


Cyr, Peggy R; Dreher, George K. “Neurotic Excoriations.” American Family Physician. 2001. (October 9, 2012).

“Neurodermatitis.” Mayo Clinic. 2012. (October 9, 2012).

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