According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability on a global scale. It’s estimated that about 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. This mental health condition is a deeply complex one with a wide range of possible causes. While some people develop depression as a result of environmental factors, others have an extensive family history that influences the onset of this disorder.
One of the lesser known causes of depression is low levels of testosterone. A testosterone deficiency can adversely affect your mood and emotions in a number of ways. You might notice that you feel more sluggish than usual, or you may lose interest in activities you used to enjoy—both of which are key symptoms of depression.
To properly address this mental health issue, it’s crucial to understand the link between low testosterone and depression. Here is everything you need to know.
How Testosterone Impacts Your Mood
Although it’s known as the male sex hormone, testosterone plays many other roles in the body that are unrelated to sex drive. Some of its main purposes include managing the distribution of body fat, supporting muscle mass development, enhancing bone density and regulating mood.
Mood regulation is an important function of testosterone that is often overlooked. Like every other hormone in your body, testosterone is regulated by a structure in your brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus plays a vital part in managing your moods and balancing your emotions.
When your hormone levels are lower than normal, your hypothalamus responds by causing a noticeable shift in your emotional state. As a result, you may struggle with higher levels of irritability, stress or other negative emotions. The effects of low testosterone may also lead to a state of depression, which can impact various areas of your overall health and well-being.
Is it Depression?
It can be difficult to determine whether your symptoms fall under the umbrella of depression. Everyone has periods where they feel down or out of sorts, but this isn’t necessarily indicative of a mental health condition. Knowing the difference between a low mood and depression can help you determine whether you need professional help.
Fortunately, there are several telltale signs that can help shed light on your condition. Here are some of the most common symptoms of depression.
Loss of Interest
One of the most defining symptoms of depression is a lost of interest in the activities you used to enjoy. Hobbies or pastimes that used to bring you joy or pleasure may no longer have that effect on you. You might also find that you have to force yourself to take part in activities that you used to look forward to, such as hanging out with your friends or playing your favorite sport.
Negative Outlook on Life
People who live with depression tend to have a pessimistic outlook on life in general. They may feel hopeless about their future and focus solely on the negative aspects of their lives. Not only is this mindset a common sign of depression, but it can also feed the feelings of despair and hopelessness that are commonly associated with depression.
Feelings of Worthlessness
Depression can also impact the way you think and feel about yourself. Feelings of worthlessness and self-hate are a common characteristic of this mental health condition. Your mind may lie to you and say the way you feel is all your fault or that you don’t deserve happiness in life. Despite their falsity, these thoughts are often a recurring theme of depression.
Anxiety and depression are usually seen as two separate mental disorders. In reality, though, these two conditions frequently co-exist. Someone with depression can also be diagnosed with anxiety and vice versa. The most common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feelings of panic, dread or impending danger
- Restlessness or tension
- Heavy sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle twitching or trembling
- Rapid breathing
If you’ve been sleeping more than usual or have trouble falling asleep at night, this may be a sign of depression. Extreme fatigue and a lack of energy are hallmarks of this mental health condition. In some situations, fatigue may cause someone to sleep excessively. In other cases, though, depression leads to insomnia, which is defined as persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Changes in weight or appetite that aren’t intentional are typically a result of depression. Like sleep patterns, fluctuations in weight differ significantly from one person to the next. For some, depression causes a sharp increase in appetite, which causes them to overeat. Meanwhile, others may not feel hungry at all and lose weight as a result.
There are several differences in the way depression behaves in women and men. For example, men are more likely to experience irritability and anger than women. However, both sexes are prone to mood swings, one of the defining characteristics of depression. If you feel that you can’t predict your mood from one moment to the next, you may be struggling with depression.
How to Manage Mood Changes Caused by Low Testosterone
If you’ve noticed any significant changes in your mood or emotions lately, there are several strategies that you can use to improve your outlook on life. It’s important to try out different methods to see which one works best for you. Here are some key tips for boosting your mood and feeling better on a daily basis.
Monitor Your Stress Levels
Stress and testosterone are closely linked. If you routinely struggle with high levels of stress, you may be causing your testosterone to fall. Persistent stress can also prevent you from finding the relief you need from any hormone-related emotional issues that you may be experiencing. It’s crucial to keep your stress levels in check to determine whether you need to reach out for help.
Adjust Your Diet
The food you eat also plays a central role in your mental health. Foods that may help to raise testosterone levels and improve your mood include egg yolks, cruciferous vegetables, tuna, oysters, pomegranate and low-fat or skim milk. Be sure to weed out any food items that are riddled with preservatives, saturated fats and artificial colors or flavors. These unhealthy choices can harm both your physical and mental well-being over time.
An inactive lifestyle is a major contributing factor to low testosterone. This, in turn, can adversely affect your mood and lead to depression in some cases. If your exercise game is a little rusty, remember not to push yourself. Starting out slow allows you to gauge your unique pace and determine what works best for you. Even something as simple as going for a fifteen-minute walk every day can make a difference in the long run.
Don’t Skimp on Sleep
If you routinely deprive yourself of the sleep you need, your mental health will pay the price. In addition to building immunity, adequate sleep is essential to improving your mood, sharpening focus and memory and reducing the risk of mental disorders like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. It’s crucial to make sleep a priority if you aren’t getting the recommended seven to eight hours.
Spend Time Outdoors
Nature’s healing powers can do wonders for your mental well-being. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors plays a key role in promoting happiness, enhancing mental clarity, minimizing stress, improving concentration and sparking creativity. In addition, getting enough sunlight helps raise vitamin D levels, which is a key nutrient for overall health. Whether you head outside during your lunch break or go for a jog in the morning, this simple lifestyle adjustment can lead to amazing benefits.
Talk to Someone You Trust
Having a strong support system can make a meaningful difference in your mood and overall happiness. Find someone in your life that you trust, whether it’s a close friend, family member or significant other, and seek their counsel if you can. Even the simple act of venting your frustrations and getting advice from a loved one can help you feel more capable and confident.
Is it Time to Seek Professional Help?
For some men, the mood changes caused by low testosterone can be addressed by adopting the above strategies. Unfortunately, simple lifestyle changes don’t always address the underlying problem. If you believe that you’re struggling with depression and can’t seem to find relief, it may be time to talk to a mental health professional.
If you aren’t sure whether professional help is necessary, there are a few questions you can ask yourself. Do you spend a significant amount of time thinking about your mental health condition on a daily basis? Has it caused your quality of life to decrease in some way? Has it negatively impacted your career, relationships and other important aspects of your life?
If your answer to any (or all) of the above questions is “yes,” you will likely benefit from seeking help for your depression. A mental health professional can enable you to better understand your condition and teach you effective coping mechanisms to manage your disorder in a healthy way.
In some situations, you may have to be prescribed medication to better cope with the symptoms of depression. An expert can discuss your options with you and guide you toward the decision that is best for your needs.
How Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Help
Although each of the above guidelines can help provide temporary relief from hormone-related mood changes, they don’t get to the root of a more severe issue, such as depression. Fortunately, there are a number of other effective methods that you can turn to for treating low testosterone.
Hormone replacement therapy in Dallas, TX, has a host of positive effects on men’s hormone health. Some of the most notable benefits of this treatment option include:
- Enhanced muscle mass
- Better sleep quality
- Improved sex drive
- Prevention of hair loss
- Increased energy levels
- A stabler mood
- Increased bone mass
By opting for hormone replacement therapy, you can also help combat the many negative effects that are associated with low testosterone levels. Some of these include low sex drive, reduced muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, irregular sleeping patterns, memory problems, mood changes, decreased bone mass, hair loss and lower energy levels.
Before you begin replacement therapy, it’s a good idea to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. A medical professional can help you determine what the best course of action is depending on your situation. Once you’ve made an informed decision, you can begin the hormone replacement process with a greater sense of confidence and peace of mind.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that hormone replacement therapy itself isn’t a solution for depression. If you’re concerned about your mental health, be sure to see a trained specialist to receive the appropriate treatment for your needs.
Find Relief From Depression Caused by Low Testosterone
As you age, it’s completely normal for your testosterone levels to begin a steady decline. This is your body’s natural response to the process of growing older. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to blindly go along with the various types of changes that are occurring throughout your body, especially serious changes like depression. It’s still possible to become the ideal version of yourself, even as the aging process begins.
At Texas Men’s Health Group, we’re proud to provide top-quality men’s hormone replacement therapy and treatment to residents of Dallas, TX. Our skilled and experienced experts are well-versed in the many effects that the aging process can have on men’s health, such as those involving libido, energy levels, sleep quality and mental well-being.
We’re dedicated to optimizing your hormones to keep these unpleasant side effects at bay. No matter where you are in the aging process or what goals you have, we’re ready to work with you to ensure that you’re exactly where you want to be.
To learn more about what we do and how we can enrich your hormone health, feel free to reach out to us today.