Connection Between Hormones And Mental Health
If you’ve been feeling irritable or fatigued lately, you might be tempted to write it off as the result of a bad night’s sleep.
If the feeling persists and is joined by depression or anxiety, you might start to think it’s actually all in your head.
But what’s going on in your head could be a signal of a problem in other parts of your body. Hormone imbalances can lead you to feel off and show up as mental symptoms. While you can treat depression or anxiety with medication and therapy, it’s important to deal with any underlying physical causes as well.
Many of our hormones directly relate to our mood, leading to a direct link between the body’s chemicals and our state of mind. Let’s take a quick look at the connection and how to handle the fluctuations as we age.
Mental Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalances show up as a variety of physical and mental symptoms. In some cases, physical symptoms like weight gain or fatigue can make you feel worse about yourself and magnify your mental symptoms.
Among the more common mental issues that arise from hormone problems are the following:
- Trouble concentrating
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
How Specific Hormones Relate to Mental Health
Depression, stress, and anxiety can be brought on by outside factors, but they have close ties to our hormone levels as well. When we experience changes in our sex hormones or thyroid, you will definitely notice a difference in your mood as well.
We think of testosterone and estrogen as reproductive factors, but they have big impacts on the brain as well. New studies show they influence the development of adult ADHD, while low levels can bring on signs of depression. Estrogen helps with producing mood-regulating neurotransmitters, while progesterone promotes calm when at the right level.
Too much cortisol keeps brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin from doing their jobs to help with mood and sleep. It also keeps you feeling stressed and can lead to anxiety disorders. Consistent over-production can eventually hurt your body’s ability to make and use cortisol, leading to fatigue, weight gain, and depression.
The brain is full of T3 receptors, making low levels of that hormone a common source of mood problems. Aggression can be a symptom of an overactive thyroid, while depression is common with an underactive one. Either state can lead to erratic and unpredictable mood swings.
Treating the Imbalance
Getting hormones back in balance involves either adding them or blocking them. Hormone replacement therapy has been a common treatment option as women hit perimenopause, while testosterone replacement therapy or TRT is growing in use as more men are diagnosed with low levels as they age. In both cases, you’re given doses of hormones to bring your levels back up to normal.
On the other end, if you have an overactive thyroid, you might receive medication to suppress hormone production to keep your levels in a normal range.
Make the Mind-Body Connection
Changes to your body over time can lead to changes in your mindset as well. Our hormones play such a huge role in our mental wellbeing that it’s important to check that they’re in balance as part of your overall health plan. Replacement therapy and other treatment options can get you feeling more like yourself quickly.
Need to know more about how your hormones are impacting your mental health? Contact us to learn more about our integrated approach to treating your mind and body.