May 17, 2021
How Hormones Can Impact Your Mental Health
The workings of mental health are deeply complex and can be affected by any number of genetic and environmental factors working in tandem. But if you’re struggling to identify the cause of your mood swings, anxiety, or depression, you may want to consider if hormones are at fault.
These chemical messengers in the body are essential for regulating mood, and when an imbalance occurs, your mental health is often the first to suffer. The effect of hormone levels that are too high or too low ripples throughout the whole body and mind.
Read on to find out about the key hormones that could be throwing your moods into disarray.
1. Estrogen and Progesterone
These sex hormones are absolutely vital for regulating mood as well as menstrual cycles. Changes in their levels or balance due to pre-menstruation, menopause, or childbirth can all lead to disruptions in the mood. Premenstrual syndrome can manifest in symptoms like anxiety, irritability, sadness, tension, and poor concentration. Menopause is commonly marked by bouts of tiredness, forgetfulness, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. And childbirth can be followed by symptoms like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
Testosterone is found in both sexes and can play a major role in regulating mood so that any imbalance can lead to a depressed mood. People with a male reproductive system, in particular, may experience problems brought on by reduced testosterone levels as they age, such as irritability, low mood, poor concentration. Testosterone levels can also be affected by significant weight gain, cancer treatments, or certain long-term medical conditions.
3. Thyroid Hormone
When the thyroid fails to produce sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone, mental health issues are quick to follow. Disorders of the thyroid include hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, goiter, and more. Common symptoms include increased anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, and difficulty sleeping.
This important hormone, produced by the adrenal glands, affects mood, energy, and immune function. When it occurs in overly high amounts, it can lead to serious mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. In women who are pregnant or suffering from chronic long-term stress, elevated cortisol levels can even cause memory loss and premature aging of the brain. Insufficient cortisol levels can be just as damaging, with effects like fatigue and mood swings.
Serotonin is commonly associated with feelings of happiness and wellbeing and helps with crucial brain functions like memory, learning, and more. Serotonin deficiency is linked with depression, but so is excessive serotonin production. Both an excess and lack of this powerful hormone and neurotransmitter can adversely affect normal mood regulation.
If you think you are suffering from disrupted mental health due to a hormonal imbalance, consult a medical professional today. Be sure to provide them with full disclosure of all your physical and mental health symptoms so that they can get a holistic view. Do not hesitate to seek help, especially if your symptoms are severely disrupting and interfere with your quality of life.