According to a recent study conducted by the government, antidepressant medications are among the most prescribed drugs across the country. In fact, there are more antidepressants prescribe than there are prescriptions for asthma, headaches, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Additionally, women are twice more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than men are. And the reason for this is closely related to the role our hormones have on our overall mood and mental health.
How Our Hormones Affect Our Mood
While many people believe hormones have an impact only on sex, the truth is our hormones play a role in just about every part of our overall health and well-being, both physical and mental. Hormones are carried through our bodies to every organ and act as a means of communication between cells. An imbalance of hormones either too high or too low can affect our mental health and well-being and cause anxiety and depression.
Estrogen affects our levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter in our brains that control our mood and emotions. Because estrogen encourages the formation of serotonin, low levels of estrogen can also cause low levels of serotonin. These low levels of serotonin can then cause us to develop mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Low levels of serotonin can also cause difficulty sleeping, which also contributes to problems with our mood.
Even though testosterone is generally known as the male sex hormone, testosterone is also present in women in smaller doses. Testosterone is known to help improve our overall self-confidence and sense of well-being, both of which are essential to maintaining our mental health and a happy mood. Both anxiety and depression are mental health conditions commonly associated with low testosterone.
Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone”. This hormone is important to your body’s ability to appropriately manage and control stress and respond to danger. Cortisol also plays an important role in regulating our metabolism and immune system. If cortisol levels are low when stress is present, your body may have difficulty properly responding to this stress and can lead to many mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Progesterone is an extremely important hormone that affects our overall mood. Progesterone provides a calming sensation to the GABA receptors in your brain leaving you in a relaxed state and promoting a peaceful night’s sleep. Natural progesterone hormones are known to help improve the symptoms of irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance?
Our hormones impact almost every aspect of our overall health and well-being, which means the signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can vary greatly from one person to another. A few of the most common signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance include:
- Decreased energy levels or fatigue
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty losing weight or sudden weight gain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sudden changes in your hair, skin, or nails
- Unusually strong or painful menstrual cycles
- Indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome
- Decreased interest in sex
It is important to keep in mind that an individual being affected by a hormonal imbalance may experience just one of these symptoms, or they may experience multiple symptoms at once. Symptoms vary from one person to another, and similar symptoms may exist even when a hormonal imbalance does not. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult with a doctor to determine if a hormonal imbalance is the cause.