Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Depression and Anxiety?
Hormone Imbalances and Depression
Have you ever wondered if hormone imbalances contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety? Many factors that can impact depression and anxiety, and hormone imbalance may be a cause. An imbalance in cortisol, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone can be a problem, especially if your depression or anxiety is new or suddenly worse than usual.
What is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that affects how you think, feel, and act. Depression can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad
- Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite (either up or down)
- Trouble falling asleep or sleeping more than normal
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Increased activity, such as being fidgety, or the opposite – moving so slowly that others notice
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide or death
What is anxiety?
Anxiety causes feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness. Sometimes, anxiety can be a typical stress reaction, but for some people, anxiety is unrelenting and interferes with their ability to perform everyday activities. Anxiety may cause:
- Feeling tense or restless
- Rapid heartbeat
- Thoughts that seem to spiral out of control
- Shortness of breath
- Avoidance of activities that trigger anxiety
Women experience many hormonal fluctuations throughout their lifespan. Things like puberty, menopause, perimenstrual periods, and postpartum periods are all times when hormones are in flux. But don’t just think this is a female problem. Men with low testosterone, thyroid problems, or cortisol imbalance can experience depression and anxiety related to hormonal imbalance.
Hormone imbalance can cause several symptoms. These include:
- Mood fluctuations
- Weight changes
- Muscle aches
- Memory loss or brain fog
- Problems concentrating
The hormones that can contribute to depression and anxiety include:
- The thyroid gland can become over or underactive. When the thyroid hormone is not balanced, neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine are affected. These neurotransmitters impact mood regulation.
- Estrogen also affects the neurotransmitters serotonin, GABA, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Low estrogen levels can lead to depression, mood swings, trouble concentrating, fatigue, and irritability.
- Progesterone supports feelings of relaxation. You may note depression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and brain fog when it is out of balance.
- Low testosterone levels can affect both men and women. Low levels can contribute to depression, brain fog, anxiety, decreased motivation, fatigue, and trouble concentrating.
- Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone.” When our bodies are under constant stress, cortisol becomes imbalanced. High cortisol levels can cause increased depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
It’s not enough just to look at individual hormones. Considering the big picture involves looking at how the hormones interact with each other. For example, a high estrogen level with a low progesterone level is referred to as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can lead to depression, irritability, fatigue, brain fog, memory problems, and anxiety.
What treatment options are available for Hormone Imbalance?
So what can you do if you think you might have a hormonal imbalance that is causing symptoms of anxiety or depression? It all starts with checking your hormone levels. Laboratory evaluation can determine if your levels are high or low and if they are in balance. Our Vitality Aesthetic and Regenerative Medicine providers are experts at interpreting your lab results. Once any deficiencies or imbalances are found, we can begin designing a plan to get you back to feeling your best.
Treating your hormones can be achieved by several methods. Our specialists will design a treatment plan to meet your goals. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can be administered by topical creams, oral medicine, injectable medicine, or pellet therapy.
If you are experiencing mood changes, particularly depression or anxiety, don’t discount your hormones’ role in regulating your mood. Let us help you get back to feeling your best.