Emotional and Hormonal Health by Candice Lane, M.D.
Posted Sep 22 2008 10:59am
We often think of emotional health in terms of what’s going on in our lives, but more often it is tied to what’s going on in our bodies.
Emotional health is very much tied to our hormones. Depression in particular can be governed by deficiencies and imbalances in our hormones.
In men, testosterone deficiency is linked with depression, irritability, and lack of motivation. The term “grumpy old men” is often used to describe the emotional changes that occur in men with testosterone deficiency. In women, lack of testosterone can be associated with lack of emotional shield and panic attacks.
In women, estrogen enhances formation of serotonin and estrogen deficiency can cause depression, but lack of progesterone is also tied to depression, irritability, and mood swings. With decreasing estrogen and progesterone in the pre- and peri-menopause it makes sense why women experience more depression in mid-life. Lack of estrogen can also effect concentration and memory.
Post- partum depression is really a disorder of a precipitous drop in progesterone after childbirth and inability to rebound from this drop. Some informed obstetricians treat this change in mood not with anti-depressants but with bioidentical progesterone with great success.
Many young women on the birth control pill or other forms of hormonal birth control experience increased depression, irritability, and mood swings. This is because the synthetic hormones in these drugs interfere with normal hormone balance, occupying normal progesterone receptors in addition to decreasing the production in progesterone eliminating the natural calming effect of this hormone.
Another hormone that can affect emotional health is cortisol (the stress hormone) excess or deficiency. These conditions can cause irritability, confusion, sleep disturbances, mood disturbances, depression, emotional imbalances, foggy thinking, and panic disorders.
Thyroid hormone deficiency can also cause depression, anxiety or panic attacks, decreased memory, inability to concentrate, slow speech, insomnia, and agitation.
Growth Hormone deficiency can also manifest not only as a lack of motivation but also as a lack of sociability. In addition, a prominent characteristic of low growth hormone is an inability to concentrate and a failing memory.
A deficiency in any of our major hormones can have mental and emotional effects. The best way to determine if hormone loss is a factor in your mental health is to see a doctor familiar with the emotional effects of hormone loss, discuss your symptoms, and have hormone testing. If deficiencies are detected, replace lost hormones only with bioidentical hormones. It could make all the difference!
Candice Lane, M.D., 1250 La Venta Dr., Ste.206, Westlake Village, CA 91361, 805-496-7869.