Many medical conditions affect or involve the endocrine system or glands, causing hormone imbalances. In fact, thyroid disorders and diabetes, the two most common conditions that endocrinologists treat, result from hormonal imbalances.
Hormonal imbalances or disorders can cause the entire body to be out-of-sync. As hormones significantly influence a person’s mood, it only seems natural that there would be an overlap in these two fields, i.e., hormonal disruptions can directly affect one’s mental health.
Many patients who visit a psychologist with a sudden onset of symptoms are often referred to an endocrinologist or primary care provider to have their hormone levels checked. This is because many of the symptoms associated with endocrine issues and hormonal imbalances mimic psychological distress like depression, low energy, low motivation, low sex drive, difficulty concentrating, and brain fog – all relating to mental health.
Here are five key hormones and how their imbalances can impact mental health.
This group of hormones regulates neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which are responsible for mood regulation. It increases the production of the feel-good or happy hormone “serotonin” and is also associated with blocking pain and stimulating a rush of happiness and euphoria. An imbalance or fluctuation in this hormone can lead to mood swings, irritability, fatigue, trouble concentrating, anxiety, memory problem, and mental fog.
As these hormones are associated with reproductive shifts, high progesterone levels increase amygdala sensitivity, the part of the brain that is linked to the fight-or-flight panic response. This can easily cause a greater likelihood of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and a general glum. Low progesterone levels cause estrogen dominance and mood changes such as anxiety, depression, mental fog, irritability, etc.
Androgens DHEA and DHEA-S
Just like other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, DHEA is essential for healthy functioning and is the most highly concentrated hormone naturally occurring in our body. Low levels of DHEA and DHEA-S are closely associated with depression, and some studies have even found positive results when treating older depressed patients with DHEA supplements.
Thyroid Hormones T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxine)
Activated by Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), the thyroid gland releases hormones T3 and T4. They are mood regulators, which, if exposed to an imbalance, can directly influence the metabolic rate, affecting our energy levels and emotions.
Commonly known as the stress hormone, cortisols are significantly involved with our fight-or-flight response. The fast-paced society we live in has caused unending chronic stress, leading to the continuous release of cortisol and stimulating chronic inflammation throughout the body. This imbalance in cortisol hormones can cause conditions like blood sugar, blood pressure, and fat storage. In addition, raised cortisol and inflammation levels are correlated with high rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Other Effects Of Hormonal Imbalance On Mental Health
Hormonal imbalances often lead to noticeable symptoms such as body weight, hair thinning or excessive growth, facial acne, and other physical transformations. These effects contribute to one’s perception of body image, self-esteem, confidence, and social skills, taking a toll on mental health.
Conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), menopause, pre-menopause, and postpartum caused by hormonal imbalances also exhibit similar influences on mental health and overall well-being.
Take Charge With Treatments
It’s important to remember that our body does not work in isolated segments. Our hormones and emotional well-being work collectively. So to take charge of your mental health, it is important to identify and diagnose the underlying health conditions that are causing it.
As the only super-specialty one-stop facility for endocrinology and metabolic diseases in the United Arab Emirates, we provide the highest quality care for patients with hormonal and metabolic disorders. We cater to every aspect of a patient’s endocrine (hormonal) requirements without needing multiple visits or referrals.
The effective integration of AI, remote monitoring capabilities, and digital therapeutics allows us to provide the most reliable, accurate, and effective diagnosis and treatment solutions for all your hormonal issues. Our team of endocrinologists works alongside other specialty areas to give a multidisciplinary approach toward patient care and support, which focuses on both mental health and overall well-being.