Hormones are chemicals that travel through your body and pass messages to coordinate various bodily functions. They are part of the endocrine system and responsible for various processes, such as metabolism, growth and development, sexual function, reproduction, and the sleep-wake cycle.
Research also reveals a relationship between your hormones and mental health. Hormones tell your body what to do, when to do it, and how long to do it. The endocrine system is a delicate balance, and small hormonal changes can create big impacts. Hormonal imbalances can cause a variety of detrimental mental health effects. How do hormones and mental health relate?
How Are Hormones and Mental Health Related?
When your endocrine system isn’t functioning properly, you’re left to deal with hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances are usually associated with the physical problems they cause but also affect mental health. For example, people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are three times more likely to experience anxiety or depression.1
Hormones That Can Affect Mental Health
The endocrine system consists of many hormones that can impact your mental health. Past research often focused heavily on hormonal imbalances’ effects on women, but these difficulties aren’t reserved for women alone.2 Hormones and mental health affect both men and women alike. Some of the hormones that can affect mental health include:
- Cortisol: Also known as the “stress hormone,” cortisol regulates stress responses, blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation. Too much cortisol may cause weight gain, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and hormonal panic attacks.
- Thyroid (T3 and T4): Your thyroid gland is responsible for controlling metabolism. Thyroid imbalances cause weight gain (hypothyroidism), weight loss (hyperthyroidism), irregular heart rate, mood changes, and depression.
- Estrogen: Estrogen controls the female reproductive system. High estrogen levels may lead to stroke, blood clots, and mood changes; low estrogen levels can cause weight gain, low libido, and decreased bone density.
- Progesterone: Like estrogen, progesterone is responsible for the female reproductive system. It also has notable effects on mood: too much progesterone causes fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, irritability, and depression, and too little progesterone causes mood changes and poor mental well-being.
- Testosterone: Testosterone controls the male reproductive system. High testosterone levels lead to aggression, anger, and mood swings, while low testosterone levels lead to low libido, decreased bone mass, and low mood.
Finding Help for Mental Health
These are only some of the many ways hormones and mental health are related. If you’re struggling with mental health problems that you think may be related to hormonal imbalances, talking with your doctor should always be the first step. It’s best to determine whether you can eliminate mental health disorder symptoms by addressing other bodily functions first.
If your mental health difficulties persist, mental health treatment is the next step. Clearview Treatment Programs is a leader in Southern California mental health treatment. We help adults with mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, dual diagnosis, and more. Want to find out how Clearview Treatment Programs can help you? Call our admissions team at 866-339-3544 and learn more about our services today.
- Human Reproduction. (2011). Anxiety and depression in polycystic ovary syndrome..
- News Medical Life Sciences. (2022). Hormones vs Mental Health.