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Is It Depression Or Hormones

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Androgens Dhea And Dhea

Hormones, Depression, and Anxiety (3 of 8)

Dehydroepiandrosterone and itâs sulfated form DHEA-S is the most highly concentrated hormone naturally occurring in our body. As a precursor to other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, DHEA is essential for healthy functioning.

Low levels of DHEA and DHEA-S is associated with depression some studies have even found positive results when treating older depressed patients with DHEA supplements. Although DHEA supplementation tends to quickly raise natural testosterone levels, and therefore comes with a long list of side effects including hirsutism, insulin resistance, insomnia, and abnormal menses.

Further research is needed to understand the physiological effects of DHEA efficacy of DHEA supplementation is low and the risk of drug interactions or strong side-effects are high.

Menopause And Depression: The Untold Symptoms

Rachel was prepared for menopause to bring changes to her sex drive and energy levels. She didnt expect increased anxiety. Shes started to struggle to get out of the house. Normal social activities leave her feeling flustered and upset. She worries more than she ever did before. She cant find an outside reason for those changes.

Her hormones are to blame for anxiety and depression.

Menopause brings with it plenty of changes. Many of those changes can also increase the risk of depression. Unfortunately, depression during menopause often goes undetected. Postmenopausal womenthose who are more than a year from their last periodhave higher rates of depression than women who havent yet gone through menopause. In fact, you are more susceptible to depression after menopause than at any other time of your life.

Hormones And Depression: What You Can Do

Its easy to get your hormones tested. Talk to your healthcare provider about hormones and depression. Be honest about what is going on as mental health is important.

If they dont bring up hormone imbalance being a possible cause for your condition, bring it up yourself. You have the right to bring it up-its your body. They can order the tests that you need to have to get those hormone levels checked out. Then you can work with your provider to set up a treatment plan for hormone optimization.

Read Also: Can Stress Cause Hormonal Acne

Tip : Challenge Negative Thinking

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future. When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, its important to remember that this is a symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudesknown as cognitive distortionsarent realistic.

Women also tend to ruminate when were depressed, perhaps spending hours trying to figure out why were feeling this way. However, rumination can maintain depression or even make it worse. You cant break out of this pessimistic mind frame by just telling yourself to think positive. Often, its part of a lifelong pattern of thinking thats become so automatic youre not even completely aware of it.

You can develop a more balanced way of thinking by identifying the type of negative thoughts that are contributing to your depression, and then learning to replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.

Read Also: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Are My Hormones Connected To Anxiety And Depression


Although a variety of factors must be considered, the fact that women are most vulnerable to feelings of anxiety and depression during adolescence, pregnancy, postpartum, premenstrual, and as they enter perimenopause and menopause, points to the role of reproductive hormones in triggering depression. Estrogen boosts serotonin, which can help fight depression. Low estrogen levels, often found in menopause, can cause feelings of sadness and hopelessness. The other major sex hormone, progesterone, helps to balance estrogen, promotes deeper sleep and has a natural calming effect. This is due to its ability to increases GABA, a calming neurotransmitter, which helps you feel relaxed. Progesterone also normalizes libido, is a natural diuretic and a natural antidepressant. Abnormal levels of progesterone can cause insomnia and can contribute to a variety of mood issues.

Stress also plays a huge roll in relation to your hormones and overall mental health. Cortisol, our stress hormone, can cause depression if levels rise too high or fall too far below average.

High levels of cortisol can create:

Low levels of cortisol can be associated with:

  • Inability to handle stress
  • Mood instability

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Depression Can Be A Symptom Of Hormone Imbalances

Imbalances in your hormones and depression are interrelated. Conventional medical providers are quick to prescribe antidepressants when their patients present with symptoms of depression, however hormones could actually be the cause. Depression is a disease in and of itself, but it can also be a symptom of another underlying disorder. If the underlying disorder isnt addressed, then antidepressants will only put a band-aid on the symptom and not treat the cause.

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States. Chances are that if you walk into your primary care doctors office complaining of feeling depressed, most are going to write you a prescription for an antidepressant medication without ever considering that there may be something else going on.

Interestingly, the largest demographic taking antidepressants are women in their forties and fifties. One out of every three women in this age group present with symptoms of depression. This is quite telling because this is also the time that women go through the phases of their lives called perimenopause and menopause. Hormones undergo drastic changes and can produce many symptoms including depression another tell tale sign of the hormones and depression link.

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Hormones And Mental Health

Hormone levels fluctuate throughout your life, particularly during formative stages like puberty or menopause. Your endocrine glands are responsible for creating, storing, and releasing hormones throughout your body to ensure everything stays balanced.

These glands also work to maintain your bodys hormone levels. If something happens to alter or affect your endocrine glands, they can be thrown out of sync and wreak havoc on your hormone levels.

Because several hormones are in charge of regulating mood, this hormonal dysfunction can lead to changes in your emotional or mental health, as well as possibly heighten existing conditions.

A hormonal imbalance can impact or cause a variety of mental health conditions, including:

Hundreds of hormones course through our bodies, but only specific ones are tied to our mood. When they become imbalanced, these hormones can cause signs and symptoms of depression.

Some of the hormones linked to depression include:

  • Estrogen: helps produce the mood-regulating neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin
  • Progesterone: promotes calm and relaxation, but can cause depression, anxiety, and irritability when not at the right levels
  • Testosterone: found in higher levels in men , and regulates muscle and bone health, as well as sex drive low levels share many common signs of depression
  • Thyroid: regulates metabolism, energy levels, and other necessary bodily functions both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
  • diabetes medications, like metformin

What Hormones Are Associated With Depression

What Causes Depression?

Imbalanced depression hormones can cause a variety of depressive symptoms like change in appetite, decreased pleasure in life, lack of or decreased sex drive, fatigue, feeling hopeless or worthless, indecisiveness, insomnia, lethargy, and more.

There are dozens of hormones in the human body. While not all of them are known to regulate the mood and emotions, those that do include:

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone

Lets take a closer look at how a hormonal change might lead to depression or worsening depression symptoms.

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Take Care Of Yourself

You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.

Sometimes depression doesnt respond to medication. Your healthcare professional may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms dont improve.

These options include electroconvulsive therapy or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression and improve your mood.

Here Are The Common Hormonal Imbalances That Can Cause Symptoms Of Depression

ThyroidYour thyroid is a small gland located in your neck and is involved in the production of many neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and GABAall of which are involved in mood regulation. Its estimated around 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime, and 60% of people with a thyroid problem are unaware of their condition.

In fact, thyroid dysfunction is directly linked to one-third of all depression.

EstrogenLike your thyroid, estrogen also plays a role in the production of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Too much or too little can alter those levels, leading to feelings of depression.

ProgesteroneProgesterone is also called the relaxation hormone because it has a calming effect when its produced at optimal levels. However, when its in low supply, it can lead to depression, as well as irritability, anxiety, sleepless nights, and brain fog.

TestosteroneTestosterone is found in both men and women and helps ward off depression, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimers disease. You may experience symptoms of depression or anxiety when you have low levels.

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Brain Regions And Mood

Popular lore has it that emotions reside in the heart. Science, though, tracks the seat of your emotions to the brain. Certain areas of the brain help regulate mood. Researchers believe that more important than levels of specific brain chemicals nerve cell connections, nerve cell growth, and the functioning of nerve circuits have a major impact on depression.

Increasingly sophisticated forms of brain imaging such as positron emission tomography , single-photon emission computed tomography , and functional magnetic resonance imaging permit a much closer look at the working brain than was possible in the past. An fMRI scan, for example, can track changes that take place when a region of the brain responds during various tasks. A PET or SPECT scan can map the brain by measuring the distribution and density of neurotransmitter receptors in certain areas.

Use of this technology has led to a better understanding of which brain regions regulate mood and how other functions, such as memory, may be affected by depression. Areas that play a significant role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus .

Figure 1: Areas of the brain involved with depression

The regions shown here are mirrored in both hemispheres of the brain. Also, these structures are interlocking the illustration suggests relative position but not precise location.

Additional Contributors To Depression

depression infographic

Women with a history of mood disorders are pre-conditioned to experience hormonal depression during menopause. Surgical menopause, or a hysterectomy, also heightens the risk of developing depression because of the drastic, rather than gradual, drop in estrogen. Additional stressors like children, a high stress job, or smoking, also make menopause depression more likely in women. Stress is difficult enough for our bodies to handle, add to thathormone imbalances and drastic physical changes, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Also Check: Do I Need Hormones After Hysterectomy

Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Some women find dietary modifications, nutritional supplements and herbal remedies can help aid in the relief of depression symptoms. These include:

Cutting back on salt, unhealthy fats, caffeine, sugar/refined carbs, and alcohol can help improve depression symptoms.

Not skipping meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.

Boosting your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To increase your intake, eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs. Vitamin B-6 along with calcium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and tryptophan have all been shown to benefit women suffering from PMDD.

Eating foods with Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and tuna, or vegetarian options such as seaweed, flaxseed, and walnuts.

Making sure youre getting enough iron. Low iron levels can produce common depression symptoms like irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Iron rich foods to add to your diet include red meat, beans, leafy greens and dried fruit.

Adding herbal supplements may be helpful. Primrose oil and chaste tree berry have both been found to be effective in the treatment of PMDD.

Changes In Steroid Hormone Concentrations

Testosterone, the end product of the hypothalamuspituitarygonadal axis, has been investigated extensively as putative biomarker of depression. Studies indicate that hypogonadal men are more likely to develop depression . Testosterone treatment has been shown to exhibit beneficial effects on mood in men . These effects may be age-specific as low levels of testosterone seem to be associated with suicidal behavior in older men, while high testosterone levels might be associated with suicidal behavior in youth .

KEY CONCEPT 3 Hypothalamuspituitarygonadal axis

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is secreted from the hypothalamus and stimulates production of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone in the pituitary gland. LH and FSH then stimulate production of estrogen and testosterone in the gonads. Testosterone tends to be lowered in specific subcategories of men with depression.

KEY CONCEPT 4 Hypothalamuspituitaryadrenocortical axis

Corticotropin-releasing hormone is secreted from the hypothalamus and stimulates the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone in the pituitary gland. ACTH then stimulates the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands. Cortisol tends to be elevated in patients with depression, which is considered a stress-related disease.

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Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight

Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.

  • Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or spend time gardening.
  • Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
  • Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
  • If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.

Is It Your Hormones Or Depression

Hormonal Imbalances That Cause Depression, Anxiety and Mood Swings.

Are you struggling to focus on work? Dont have the energy to get off the couch? Cant shake the sadness?

These are all common signs of depression, and often, when you discuss symptoms with your doctor, youll walk out the door with an antidepressant. For some people, thats what theyll need to feel like themselves again.

But for others, antidepressants may not help.


Because you could have a hormonal imbalance that can lead to symptoms of depression. Heres what you need to know to determine the path forward for you.

Also Check: Does Low Estrogen Cause Weight Gain

Our Approach At The Offices Of Leigh Ann Scott Md In Las Colinas

Dr. Leigh Ann Scott and Nurse Practitioner Elise Lewis are both hormone experts. Treatment begins with comprehensive lab testing to include hormones, as well as a myriad of other health markers to give us a clear picture of any underlying issues that may be the cause of your depression.

Additionally, we recognize that many factors can contribute to hormone imbalances and symptoms. We discuss ways to improve diet and nutrition, stress management, and ways to get better sleep. Read more about our Hormone Balancing here.

Our philosophy is that everyone is unique and individual we realize that normal varies from person to person. Our mission is to help you obtain optimal health and feel great again.

Eat A Hormone And Mood Balancing Diet

What you eat affects your mood and can alter your hormones. If you are eating a poor diet containing processed food, refined sugars, and white flours then your meals are completely devoid of nutrients your body needs to balance your mood. An unhealthy diet, environmental toxins, certain medications, and stress can all lead to leaky gut. As a result, your body cant absorb foods properly. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inflammation, health problems, and mood imbalances. We teach that artificial foods are incredibly damaging to your body, robbing you of nutrients while adding harmful chemicals and hormones. To counteract this damage, we equip our clients with knowledge and practical tools to heal and fuel their bodies with whole foods they can find in the grocery store. The specific ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, types and amounts of foods used, are all working together to balance the body.

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