The mental toll of having low testosterone can be one of the most difficult parts of the whole ordeal. On top of having your inherent ‘manliness’ stripped from you before your eyes, the depression and anxious mentality is like adding salt to a wound.
What’s the relationship between low testosterone and anxiety?
On a biological level, the truth is that our neurological and endocrine systems are vastly interconnected. It’s that inter-connectivity that can make us feel on top of the world during peak T levels, but miserably unhappy at our lowest.
It’s a double-edged sword.
In order to manage your mental health, it’s imperative that you at least get your testosterone levels checked out. While they might not be the source of the issue, they could lead you to the main cause of your anxiety.
Testosterone is the main androgen in the human male body. It’s what we obsess over, in our strive to be more ‘manly’ men.
We monitor what we eat, when we eat, how we eat, and attend the gym religiously. We supplement and guzzle protein shakes, all in the name of increasing our testosterone.
But what does high testosterone really mean?
Testosterone is the naturally-occurring steroid hormone responsible for the building and maintenance of muscle mass, the production and distribution of body fat, libido, among many other things. It functions to help our sperm remain motile and ever plentiful, too.
While testosterone is not exclusive to men, it is only found in small amounts in women. However, lowered testosterone in both genders can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being .
Hypogonadism is a term referring to less-than-desirable amounts of testosterone in your body. This can be caused by a variety of different issues, either in the physical location where testosterone is produced (the testes) or in the proper signaling of the pituitary gland that regulates hormone messages.
Either way, hypogonadism is a surefire way to flush your mental well-being down the toilet, as it opens up doors for self-doubt, depression, and anxiety to come creeping in.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
So how do you know if you’re actually suffering from low-testosterone induced anxiety?
First things first: have you noticed any panic attacks? These feel like they could be cardiac issues at first: jackhammer heart rate, hot flashes, nausea, dizziness, feeling like you can’t breathe or like you need to flee…
As unpleasant as it sounds, anxiety-induced attacks are not at all uncommon. They can last from a few moments to several minutes, and are often debilitating .
While not all people who suffer from anxiety get regular panic attacks, there tends to be a general feeling of uneasiness when placed in certain situations (especially social).
Many people just seek treatment to mask or stifle the symptoms of their anxiety. However, if you suspect that low testosterone is your culprit, you should absolutely investigate into it, as it could make your life a lot easier.
Depression is another mental condition that often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, especially when low T levels are involved . The combination of the two is enough to make anybody feel hopeless about improving. Physical fatigue, apathy, and insomnia are all signs that you may be depressed.
If any of the symptoms I’ve described apply to you, make sure that it’s not just the result of low testosterone levels.
How Are Anxiety and Testosterone Interconnected?
Any offset of neurological signals or hormone imbalance is sure to throw off a lot of things in your body. Because the nervous and endocrine systems both rely so heavily on signaling within and in between each other, the two are particularly well-connected.
Basically: if something’s wrong with your hormones, it’ll affect your neurological health and vice-versa. Low testosterone is an insidious problem because it’s often undiagnosed, or attributed to something else. As men age, we have a way of having our testosterone levels drop, something that could be responsible for a variety of other symptoms.
Research has shown that testosterone therapy has had a really positive effect on patients who suffer from anxiety. However, testosterone therapy (injections and the like) comes with its own issues, namely the fact that a few varieties of cancer are dependent on the presence of excess testosterone .
I, as you can probably guess, am a much bigger proponent of raising T levels the natural way, sans needle. The same goes from anxiety or depression. Why take a bunch of prescription drugs with nasty side effects to mask your problems, when you might get to the root of them by doing some digging into your testosterone troubles?
The research shows a resounding correlation between low T and mental health issues. This is most likely due to the fact that your body releases a specific hormone called cortisol in times of stress. Cortisol actively interferes with and inhibits testosterone function in your body . And low testosterone makes you more stressed.
The catch-22 situation here must be combated with direct attempts to raise your T and reduce anxious or depressive symptoms.
Where Do I Go From Here?
If you suspect that low testosterone could be taking a huge toll on your mental health, it’s time to go in for an evaluation of your T levels. Ensure that not only your total testosterone is tested. Abnormalities in your free testosterone levels could be hidden by seemingly normal total testosterone levels.
If you’ve been tested and the issue is with your low testosterone, decide which method of increasing T levels is going to suit you best. If you’re insistent on taking prescribed testosterone therapy, insist on being educated about the side effects and collateral damage that could occur due to it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
If you feel that the natural approach is more up your alley, check out my program and e-book TestShock to see where to move from here. In the mean time, some suggestions:
- Don’t take it easy on the oranges. Vitamin C breaks up cortisol, which can have a great impact on both your mood and your testosterone.
- Don’t settle for drugs, and investigate your options. If your anxiety is persistent, talk to your doctor about counseling or group therapy.
- Give yourself a break. Struggling with low testosterone can oftentimes seem like an uphill battle. Remember that it’s in your power to make it better.
Is Low Testosterone Causing My Depression? (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/depression#1
Vann, M. (2014, May 28). What It’s Like to Have an Anxiety Attack. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
Shapiro, S. (2013, April 9). The Great Masqueraders of Depression, Anxiety, Low Energy. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
Cooper, M., & Ritchie, E. (2000, November 1). Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Anxiety. Retrieved July 5, 2015.