Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder which leads to hair loss. Initially, the disease is characterized by rapid hair loss, usually on the scalp, but it can also lead to hair loss on other parts of the body. Alopecia Areata may lead to complete loss of hair, creating bald patches on the scalp or body, or it may be more diffuse, where the hair becomes thinner and more fragile.

Typically, Alopecia Areata is diagnosed when there is rapid hair loss, patchiness, and a more significant loss of hair on one side of the head compared to the other. It is believed to be caused by an immune disorder in which the body's own cells attack the hair follicles and disrupt normal hair growth and formation. Alopecia Areata is often associated with other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Typically, the condition is diagnosed by the presence of so-called "exclamation point hairs", which are short, close to the scalp, and are broken off.

Treatment for this condition typically includes injections, steroid creams and other medications. The longer the time between hair loss and treatment, the less likely the hair is to regrow. Hypnosis has been tested as an adjunctive treatment, and has produced interesting results. The mechanism for this effect is related to the fact that Alopecia Areata symptoms worsen under stress.

The International Journal of Clinical Experimental Hypnosis (July 2008) has published research suggesting that hypnosis can improve hair growth in patients with alopecia areata, as well as significantly reduce the anxiety and depression associated with the disorder.

Based on this finding, those suffering from Alopecia Areata should seek ways to actively reduce their stress, as an adjunct to ongoing medical treatment. Stress reduction, such as that provided by hypnotic suggestions, can go a long way to reducing the impact and progression of this type of autoimmune disorder.