Hidden Struggle; Explaining the Lived Experience of Patients with Alopecia Areata: A Qualitative Study Based on a Phenomenological Approach
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune and non-scarring hair loss which has relapsing and remitting periods. It has extensive psychological impacts on affected individuals; like severe depression, anxiety, phobic reaction, paranoia. Also, it can affect the quality of life by lowering self-esteem and self-confidence.
This study considers the psychological and social aspects of the disease and hopes to be effective in promoting the treatment and improvement of the disease and quality of life of patients.
This study has been done with the phenomenology approach on eleven patients in the dermatology clinic of imam Reza Hospital. In this study, deep interviews were performed using a semi-structured questionnaire. And after interpretation, it was analyzed with MAXqda software.
When the patients first encountered the hair loss, they started to find a reason and justify the condition. Most of them were trying to find an external factor other than believing they have a serious illness. In order to be accepted by other human beings and be a part of human society the individuals at first tried to hide their lesions to be like other members of society since they could not do this satisfactorily, they got a series of complications like depression, anxiety, and loss of self-confidence, and then they would start to hide from others which cause social avoidance in these patients.
Eventually, this situation leads to dysfunction in various aspects of career and academic life, and this causes a vicious cycle in an individual's life.