How Hormones affect your Mental Well-Being
Over the past decade, Hormones have become an area of growing interest in the medical community. Doctors and Researchers have started paying more attention to hormone levels and how they affect the mind by developing correlations and learning about treating disorders or diseases caused due to hormonal imbalances.
Hormones are chemical substances that behave as messenger molecules in the body. Travelling throughout the body trying to maintain homeostasis, hormones are secreted by the body in the adrenal glands when the brain signals that there are lower levels of hormones circulating in the body. Usually, Hormones fluctuate in transitory phases of life such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause, old age, etc. While physical causes are quite prominent, let’s look at how hormonal imbalances can affect your mental health. Some common causes of hormonal imbalance can be:
- Life Stressors
Hormonal Imbalances aren’t easy to point out immediately as hormones fluctuate from time to time, depending on what phase of life you are in. However, if taken care of at the right time, you can prevent the development of severe disorders. Below is a list of hormones and their mental health effects to look out for:
Female Hormones and Mental Health
- Estrogen- The primary sex hormone in females but is also found in males in small quantities. For women, estrogen levels keep varying according to their menstrual cycles and age. Estrogen levels have been linked with mood disruptions and cognitive decline in women, with high estrogen levels women may be likely to experience symptoms of tension, irritability, and anxiety. On the other hand, low estrogen levels can often lead to episodes of depression, confusion, impaired short-term memory, and fatigue. Most women experience hormonal fluctuations daily, it's only when these fluctuations go to extremes that hormonal imbalances can become a problem and lead to the development of mental health problems.
- Progesterone- Popularly known as the anti-anxiety hormone, progesterone gives a calming effect to your mind and protects your nerves in the brain. The sweet spot is to maintain a balance between progesterone and estrogen which stabilizes moods and promotes sleep. However, if there’s too little progesterone then you might find yourself feeling a bit more anxious, irritable, and craving for a good night’s sleep.
- Thyroid- Thyroid Hormones affect every part of your body indirectly. It regulates how your body uses energy and is also responsible for the production of some neurotransmitters critical to mental well being such as dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. In the case of hyperthyroidism, one may experience anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and irritability. Whereas in hypothyroidism, memory impairment, depression, difficulty in concentrating are more common. The key, however, is to balance thyroid functioning to maintain mental stability.
Male Dominant Hormones and Mental Health
- Testosterone- Despite testosterone being considered a hormone majorly for males it is also prevalent in females who require testosterone (like men) but in smaller quantities. Testosterone helps to boost motivation, prevent depression and cognitive impairment. Most aging men often have low testosterone levels which increase symptoms of anxiety, moodiness, and depression. Low testosterone levels could also be the cause of your lack of motivation, low libido, and hot flashes.
Hormones can majorly cause mood disorders and cognitive impairments which could develop into serious disorders in the long run. Detecting hormonal imbalances early on and acting immediately can help to mitigate and prevent mild to severe psychological disorders before it occurs. Before starting any medications it’s imperative to examine any underlying hormonal imbalances. It may be the root cause you’ve been neglecting all along. To know more about your mental wellbeing try out our self-help app here and get detailed reports of your mental health with specific hormone profiles.