female hair loss is a psychological disadvantage for women
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Female hair loss is a psychological disadvantage for women

The development of female pattern hair loss can be associated with some significant psychological effects according to two researchers from Monash University. To counter the potentially devastating effect of hair loss on the psyche of women, a new group therapy program called HALO (short for HAir LOss) has been developed by lecturer in Behavioural Studies Dr Francesca Collins and Monash honorary research associate Ms Sebastiana Biondo. This program has achieved positive outcomes in dealing with the psychological effects of hair loss and can be pretty effective.

Statistics show that around 50% of women in Australia suffer from female pattern hair loss. Female pattern hair loss typically presents as an overall thinning, but with maintenance of a normal hairline. The effect can be seen in one in five women over the age of 30 and one in two women aged 60 or more. As such, the professionals claim the problem of female pattern hair loss is universal and needs to addressed at the national and even global level.

The Halo program is a program that is specially designed for adult women in Australia. The women that are admitted to this program are suffering from female pattern hair loss and are receiving, or waiting to receive, medical treatment for the condition. This program was successfully launched by Alfred Hospital in 2004, where around 20 women initially took part in the 8-week program.

The program evaluates important issues that are related to the psychological effect on women of female pattern hair loss, including, self-esteem, body image, self-confidence, relationships, anxiety, quality of life, and depression. A report on the treatment will be presented at the annual Australian Psychological Society conference in Melbourne.

The history of Australian research on the psychological effects of female hair loss is limited. However, in 2002, Ms Biondo undertook the first Australian study that explored the quality of life and psychological impact on women with hereditary hair loss. This became the launch pad for the Halo program, in association with Dr Collins, and Dr Rodney Sinclair, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Melbourne.

The main purpose of the Halo program is to counsel women about the disease and the effects of it on their personality. The Halo program organizers have noticed that most of the women who join the program are unaware about the very idea that such a disease could happen to them, and that so many women are suffering from it. The fear and anxiety about the problem is so much that women fear discussing the situation with their doctors. Research and counseling programs such as Halo are needed to improve the overall psychology of women who are suffering from female pattern hair loss in conjunction with more effective clinical treatments.

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