Hormones play a significant role in how well your body functions. While you may understand some of the ways hormones can impact your body, what you may not realize is just how much these hormones can affect your mental health. In this article, you can learn more about how your hormones can significantly impact anxiety issues and your overall mental health.
How Different Hormone Imbalances and Mental Health are Related
There are mental health issues conditions that can stem from hormonal imbalances. People are already aware of how neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine can impact your mental health. While these neurohormones are the foundation for most biochemical, pharmaceutical treatments in combination with other therapies, these aren’t the only hormones that can negatively impact you. In this section, you can get a closer look at hormone imbalances related to mental health.
Estrogen is a term that includes a group of hormones (E1, E2, E3), which plays a significant role in the body. This is the hormone responsible for bone health and what creates female characteristics to develop, in addition to your mental well-being. As far as its role in your mental health, this hormone is responsible for regulating the neurotransmitters, as mentioned earlier, that are involved in regulating mood.
Estrogen can increase the production of both serotonin and the serotonin receptors in the brain, which impacts happiness. It is also responsible for regulating endorphins, which are the hormones that block pain while also offering a feeling of joy or euphoria. When you have fluctuating estrogen levels, this can be associated with mood swings and irritability.
- Low Levels of Estrogen
This means lower serotonin levels lead to mood swings, irritability, fatigue, depression, and difficulty concentrating.
- High Levels of Estrogen
When you have incredibly high levels of estrogen as well as having low levels of progesterone, this can be known as “estrogen dominance.” Estrogen dominance can lead to fatigue, memory problems, irritability, mental fog, anxiety, and depression.
Progesterone may be more known for its role in the reproductive cycle. High levels of progesterone can be associated with an increased amygdala sensitivity. This part of your brain is responsible for the panic response of fight or flight. This leads to an increased risk of insomnia, depression, anxiety, and this general feeling of glum. Low levels can lead to estrogen dominance and the mood changes associated with that.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and its sulfated form (DHEA-S) are androgens, the most highly potent hormone naturally occurring within the body. This is an essential hormone for your body to function correctly. Low levels of these hormones are associated with depression. It showed that older depressed patients could be treated with DHEA supplements. However, the problem is that taking these supplements can raise testosterone levels, which brings their side effects, including abnormal menses, insulin resistance, insomnia, and hirsutism. It’s important to know that the safety of taking this approach has not been thoroughly researched to see if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Thyroid Hormones: Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4)
The thyroid is generally associated with metabolic issues, but metabolism can significantly affect the energy of your entire body. As a result, these can impact your emotions as well. This will be further addressed in the next section.
Also known as the stress hormone, cortisol is essential for the fight or flight response. Due to chronic stress, you will likely end up with higher cortisol levels in the body. This leads to anxiety, depression, and various other mental health problems.
Closer Look at Specific Hormone-Related Conditions That May Impact Your Mental Health
Some conditions are linked to hormone imbalances, leading to problems in your everyday life. Whether it’s the result of fluctuations in hormone levels or other reasons for an imbalance, it can help to know how these conditions can affect your emotional and mental health.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
PCOS sufferers are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety than those without this condition. They also report more severe symptoms than people without PCOS. Science hasn’t figured out exactly why this is the case, though.
Whether it’s because of the extreme pain sufferers experience with this condition or the hormonal issues, people living with endometriosis tend to experience mental health problems. These problems include psychosis, anger management issues, somatization, anxiety, and depression.
PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
PMDD is a condition that can impact mental health. Those people who suffer from this condition will recurrently experience depression premenstrually. The fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle are likely responsible for this problem.
It can be hard to distinguish between thyroid disorders and depression due to the similar symptoms one can experience with these conditions. These symptoms include depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, and reduced libido.
Perimenopause and menopause are naturally occurring events as a woman gets older. While it has been widely reported that these shifts in hormones are related to depression symptoms, it’s not sure whether or not it impacts anxiety.
Pregnancy and postpartum can be highly taxing on mental health due to hormone fluctuations. Postpartum depression is more common than you think, which can take a toll on you while you are already struggling with this new adjustment in your life.
Hormones play a significant role in how well your body functions physically and how well it functions mentally. By understanding the roles that these hormone imbalances can play in your system, you can better learn how you can help ease these struggles that you may be having. Knowing the underlying cause of your mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, can help you get the best treatment for your needs. Properly treating these issues is essential in improving your quality of life.
Test Your Cortisol Levels From the Comfort of Your Home
The DUTCH Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) test provides advanced insight into your stress response and adrenal function. This at-home saliva test provides your physician with helpful information to help create the best hormone treatment plan for cortisone/cortisol imbalances.
The Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) Test Kit Includes:
- Easy-to-follow Directions and Requisition Form
- (6) Salivette™ Saliva Collection Tubes
- Resealable Plastic Bag
- Return Envelope with Paid Return Label (Domestic Only)
The Results Include:
- Analysis of cortisol awakening response (CAR) from cortisone and cortisol
- Graphical representation of results
- Provider notes with specific additional information explicitly created for the patient.