Alopecia Areata
Understanding and Coping with Hair Loss



Alopecia areata is a poorly understood, unpredictable disorder that affects more than 2.5 million men, women, and children in the United States and Canada. Causing patchy hair loss on the scalp and sometimes elsewhere on the body, this mysterious, noncontagious condition can be treated, but it cannot yet be cured.

Alopecia areata is considered a medically harmless condition. But psychologically, alopecia areata can be acutely painful, affecting a person’s emotional well-being and sense of self. The social problems of alopecia can range from ostracism to loss of a job to divorce.

Alopecia Areata: Understanding and Coping with Hair Loss is a sensitive yet straightforward guide to the diagnosis and treatment of alopecia areata. With great compassion, Wendy Thompson, M.A., and Jerry Shapiro, M.D., explain how hair loss can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life. They provide medically reliable information on the latest research, diagnosis, and treatment options, including:

Thompson and Shapiro also offer practical strategies for living with alopecia areata, which can go into and out of remission without any apparent reason. They discuss the physical and psychological adjustments to wearing a hairpiece and give pointers on selecting, securing, and maintaining a wig, whether human hair or synthetic, custom- or ready-made. They also discuss how to deal with insurance companies to get compensation for a hairpiece.

Alopecia Areata includes a chapter devoted to the special needs of children with this condition and concludes with an epilogue that tells the story of a day in the life of a woman with alopecia areata, illustrating the various challenges she faces and the strategies she uses to cope with them. With frankness, hope, and good humor, Thompson and Shapiro strive to enhance the lives of people suffering from alopecia areata and to ease the pain that comes with living in a world that often values external appearances over all else.

WENDY THOMPSON, M.A., is an educational gerontologist and professional writer who has had alopecia areata since she was a child. She was a competitor on the Canadian Olympic speed skating team. JERRY SHAPIRO, M.D., is director of the University of British Columbia Hair Clinic at the Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre and clinical associate professor, Division of Dermatology, University of British Columbia.

“The book is an excellent source of information about the disease and the roller coaster emotional ride that usually accompanies it . . . A pleasure to read because of its intimate style and humor. It will go a long way in helping those with alopecia areata.”
Vera H. Price, M.D., professor of clinical dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, and chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation

Table of Contents:

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