Did you know that your hormones can affect your mental health? But how? Mental Health concerns are not always associated with emotional, psychological, and social well-being but really could be a hormonal imbalance which in turn affects the proper functioning of the brain. Mental health is connected to one’s physical health.
According to the Holtorf Medical Group (2017) writes, for many men and women, the first exposure to the mood-changing impact of hormones is puberty. For some young women, puberty can feel like permanent premenstrual syndrome(PMS), with the constant emotional ups and downs, irritability, depression, anxiety, brain fog, and moodiness. Young men don’t escape the hormonal effect of puberty, however; they can have similar symptoms, along with anger and depression with rising and fluctuating testosterone.
Pregnancy and post-partum are other key points when mind and hormones intersect. Some women have their first experience with significant depression during pregnancy, or after pregnancy (post-partum depression), the next commonly recognized, but not well-understood — point, is broadly referred to as menopause (Holtorf Medical Group, 2017).
Thyroid issues are an often overlooked, hormonally-triggered cause of symptoms. When the thyroid becomes overactive – hyperthyroidism — symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, moodiness, panic attacks, and depression (Holtorf Medical Group, 2017). Some women have even been mistakenly misdiagnosed as having panic disorder or anorexia, before properly diagnosed with an overactive thyroid. An underactive thyroid — hypothyroidism — can cause depression, moodiness, fatigue, and in some cases, anxiety as well (Holtorf Medical Group, 2017).
Adrenal issues — imbalances in the body’s stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and the precursor hormone (DHEA), can cause a variety of symptoms that seem to be mental health-related, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia (Holtorf Medical Group, 2017).
Over the past several decades psychiatric diagnostic acumen has improved. Diagnostic accuracy has not followed suit. More and more people carry psychiatric diagnoses which are inaccurate and have very negative consequences for their lives (Goodman, 2013). Arguably the most frequent, popular and incorrect diagnose is
Bipolar Disorder (BP), in all of its sundry subtypes and flavours. It seems that anyone who is moody, angry, temperamental, objectionable, or who objects to something is BIPOLAR (Goodman, 2013).
One of the major reasons why the two areas of health are so intertwined is that the brain is responsible for secreting many of the hormones (chemicals that carry messages to your organs and tissue) which dictate mood, emotional balance, and stress response. If there is an overproduction or underproduction of key hormones, this can make it hard for a person to deal with normal life, let alone extreme stress and hardship (Universal Class, 2017). These key hormones include norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, cortisol and adrenaline. They play a role in mental and emotional balance. Chemical imbalances in the brain can also cause a person to lose touch with reality, become compulsive or having any number of other mental disorders (Universal Class, 2017).
Before you go down the road of antidepressants and or anti-anxiety medications, make sure your physician takes a complete medical history, assesses your symptoms, does a thorough clinical exam, and runs comprehensive blood testing to evaluate and diagnose any hormone balances (Holtorf Medical Group, 2017). Unlike most medications and supplements that support, and balance hormones, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications often have significant side effects, and frequently don’t even resolve your symptoms if the underlying cause is, in fact, a hormonal issue (Holtorf Medical Group, 2017).
Author: Jonelle O’Connor
Goodman, J. (2013). Hormone imbalance not bipolar disorder. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/attention-please/201310/hormone-imbalance-not-bipolar-disorder
Holtorf Medical Group. (2017). It’s Not in Your Head, It’s in Your Hormones: The Mental Health-Hormone Link. Retrieved from https://www.holtorfmed.com/hormones-mental-health
Universal Class. (2017). Understanding the Role of Hormones and Neurotransmitters in Mental and Emotional Health. Retrieved from https://www.universalclass.com/articles/health/understanding-the-role-of-hormones-and-neurotransmitters-in-mental-and-emotional-health.htm.