Feeling down in the dumps, even if life’s been treating you well?
Depression can manifest in different ways, some experience it in response to specific situations, while others grapple with the disorder persistently over time. The same goes for anxiety.
No matter the severity, battling these mental illnesses is always an uphill struggle. You may have even changed your lifestyle and taken some medication to fix your mental state, but to no avail.
In a sizable fraction of these cases, the root cause of a person’s internal crisis might be linked to factors they aren’t even consciously aware of in their daily life.
Indeed, one potential cause of your mental distress could be a hormonal imbalance within your bloodstream.
And in fact, low testosterone levels can play a vital role in exacerbating anxiety and depression, among a host of other physical symptoms.
Let’s dive into the inextricable link between anxiety, low testosterone, and depression, and find ways that you can effectively boost your testosterone levels and improve your mental state.
What is Testosterone and When is It Considered Low?
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that’s responsible for regulating primary and secondary male characteristics. This includes physical, emotional, and sexual characteristics.
Testosterone levels tend to spike in a man’s late teens to early 20s. Once he hits the age of 30, that’s when testosterone levels undergo a slow but gradual dip.
Normal testosterone levels tend to range between 300 ng/dL to 1,000 ng/dL. When testosterone levels dip below 300 ng/dL, then such a condition can be classified as hypogonadism or a testosterone deficiency.
When testosterone levels fall below normal ranges, it can cause the development of a plethora of symptoms that affect one’s physical, emotional, and sexual health.
The Connection Between Low T, Anxiety, and Depression
Multiple studies have established a link between low testosterone and these two mental health disorders.
According to a peer-reviewed study published in the Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, adolescents—specifically males—with low testosterone levels in their saliva faced an increased risk of having depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Another study reported similar findings for senior-aged individuals, as it’s been found that there’s a significant association between men with major depressive disorder and low testosterone levels.
Furthermore, socially anxious men also had a sharp drop in their testosterone levels amidst socially-embarrassing situations, more so than healthy males.
With all that said, it’s clear that a disruption in testosterone levels can have adverse implications on one’s mental health.
And while it would be fine for it to stop there, the fact of the matter is that these anxiety disorders and depression symptoms only scratch the surface of the harms caused by testosterone deficiency.
Other Signs of Low Testosterone
Testosterone imbalance can also cause an array of physical symptoms. The proliferation of these symptoms can cause mental turmoil in patients, causing them to feel even more depressed or anxious than they already are.
Here are some symptoms of low testosterone:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Decreased muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sudden weight gain
- Reduced sexual desire
With all these physical and emotional symptoms at play, it’s clear that this sexual dysfunction can lead to great distress in one’s personal life.
But then, you may wonder, how exactly does low testosterone (or hypogonadism) cause the emergence of mental illness and these other symptoms?
How Can Low Testosterone Cause Anxiety and Depression?
The interaction between hormones doesn’t happen in a vacuum; a change in one can severely impact how the body regulates other hormones.
As a result, testosterone’s influence is far-reaching and can impact one’s mental state in many ways, with one notable one being mood regulation.
Here are the direct ways low testosterone can cause problems in one’s mental state.
1. Low T Reduces Serotonin Production
Testosterone is reported to play a role in facilitating the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin, often dubbed the feel-good hormone, is a hormone that’s responsible for making you feel happy and controlling your emotions in general.
When there’s an absence or severe lack of testosterone in the body, this can cause a slowdown of serotonin production in the brain. As a consequence, this can make people feel their depressive symptoms and anxiety disorder in full force.
2. Low T Contributes to Worsening Self-Image
Low testosterone can also impact our physical image. It can make us look heavier and less muscular. It can also make you less energetic than before.
If your happiness is tied to how you look, this sudden physical deterioration may cultivate self-esteem issues and depression.
3. Low T Increases Cortisol Levels
Low testosterone levels can lead to heightened cortisol levels. Cortisol, or the stress hormone, is responsible for stimulating our fight or flight response.
When cortisol levels are high, this can make us feel more anxious than what the situation actually calls for.
4. Low T Can Cause Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Low testosterone can contribute to a reduced ability to sleep normally.
Couple this with the fact that low testosterone causes lethargy on its own, and this can spiral into feelings of frustration and drowsiness throughout the day. This can further worsen bouts of depression and anxiety as you’re not in peak health.
How to Increase Testosterone Levels Safely
Treating low testosterone is best performed under the guidance of a medical professional.
Here are some ways men can improve their testosterone levels.
- Take testosterone therapy: Your doctor may prescribe a combination of injections, pellets, patches or gels to replace and elevate testosterone levels in the body.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Eating protein-rich foods, exercising regularly, and sleeping 8 hours a night consistently can improve your T levels naturally.
- Go through therapy: If you’re mentally unwell, you may benefit from talking to a mental health professional to address the source of your problems.
Overcome Low Testosterone’s Effects with Tampa’s Best Testosterone Medical Specialists
Don’t let your depression and social anxiety disorder control your life—testosterone therapy is widely accessible, with thousands of men nationwide taking regular treatment.
Need help to regain control? Tampa’s local men’s health providers at Prestige Men’s Medical Center have in-house doctors that are specially trained to help restore hormone levels in men back to their normal ranges.
Contact us today to learn more about your testosterone levels, your initial consultation and first treatment are completely free.