Testosterone, Anxiety, and Depression

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on June 4th, 2024
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Anxiety is a major health issue that impacts male health at a psychological as well as a physiological level.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a medical condition that is characterized by apprehension, subconscious hyperactivity, physical tension, and hyper-awareness.

Symptoms of subconscious hyperactivity include elevated pulse, flushing, dizziness, dry mouth, clammy palms, heart palpitations, and sweating. Physical tension includes sighing, muscle aches, and restlessness.

Hyper awareness includes morning exhaustion, issues with sleep, insomnia, focus issues, irritability, distractibility, edginess, and hypervigilance.

Apprehension includes the whole bound of things which prevent us from being ourselves, including an intense worry about what other people think, unfounded fear in one's daily life, and excessive worrying about the welfare of oneself or others.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety expresses itself in many different ways, but it can be described most succinctly as an overwhelming sense of worry or anxiety that gets in the way of living one's life as he or she wishes it to be. Anxiety can be absolutely debilitating, and there is powerful evidence that Testosterone Deficiency contributes to worry and anxiety.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

Low-T has been associated with a number of different issues that are related to Anxiety and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Both research and field study has shown that men with Low Testosterone are more likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Mood Swings

  • Nervousness

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Inhibited Sense of Well-Being

How are Anxiety and Low-T Related?

Researchers and clinicians have long been aware of these symptoms, and they have been established in the medical record since at least 1946. In a 1946 study, researchers discovered the following:

  • Around 1/3 of men with Low-T experience issues with worrying

  • 4 out of 10 experienced fear

  • ½ of men with Hypogonadism was easily excitable

  • 56% struggled with uneasiness and dread

  • 4 out of 5 were irritable

  • 9 out of 10 experienced high levels of nervousness

These numbers are much higher than normal, and researchers found that by treating these patients with bio-identical Testosterone, it was possible to alleviate their anxiety and improve their quality of life. In many cases, the symptoms completely disappeared!

Women Need Testosterone Too

Did you know that women also have a distinct need for Testosterone? Women produce significantly less of the hormone than men, but it still plays an important role in their health and wellness.

There is even strong evidence that feminine Low-T contributes to heightened anxiety in female patients.

There is evidence that, for women with Low-T that suffer from anxiety, two months of Testosterone treatment was enough to mitigate the effects of anxiety for many patients, bringing them closer to a baseline psychological profile.

Estradiol was effective at reducing anxiety on its own, but, when combined with Testosterone, the results improved dramatically.

How Does Testosterone Affect Anxiety?

There are a lot of anxiety studies that simply can't be performed on humans, but animal research helps fill the gap in our knowledge. According to research conducted on lab rats, Testosterone interacts with the hippocampus in a positive way.

Lab rats without Testosterone had trouble learning and experienced high levels of anxiety, but similar lab rats treated with 3-Alpha-diol, DHT, or Testosterone experienced enhanced learning and mitigated anxiety.

Another similar study produced similar results, and there is broadening evidence that strongly supports the notion that Testosterone and other Androgens interact with the Hippocampus in a manner which reduces anxiety.

On the other hand, there is evidence that Testosterone primarily impacts subconscious fear, which is, of course, related to expressed fear and anxiety, but not directly.

Low-T patients that were treated with Testosterone were shown to be less liable to experience unconscious fear in a surprise situation than their control counterparts.

Testosterone Deficiency and Depression

Low-T is also associated with an increased incidence of depression and moodiness. Depression is defined clinically by the expression of symptoms. Symptoms of Depression include:

  • Reduced libido and desire

  • Issues with indecisiveness, focus, and controlled thought

  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability or reduced response to a stimulus

  • Excessive sleep, insomnia, suppressed hunger, or weight loss

  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Testosterone Deficiency sometimes leads both to mild feelings of depression, as well as an increased incidence of clinically-diagnosed depression.

Low-T Increases the Likelihood of Experiencing Depression

Of course, Depression can occur on its own, but Testosterone Deficiency is a contributing factor for many patients.

Also, the younger a man is when he experiences Low-T, the more likely he is to experience symptoms of Depression. Low-T patients treated with Testosterone patches, pills, or injections were alleviated of depression, but the administration of Testosterone had no effect on patients with normal Testosterone levels.

Depression is Complicated

Depression is a complex disorder which is the end result of a multitude of factors which weigh down the individual, including, but not limited to stress, diet, alcohol use, smoking, obesity, and mental illness, all of which make the Low-T individual more likely to experience Depression.

It is not completely clear which Low-T patients benefit most with regard to psychological health when it comes to Low-T treatment, but there is clinical evidence that Testosterone injections have a significant and perceptible effect on mood when taken for six weeks.

Impact of DHEA on Mood

In addition to Testosterone, DHEA also has a positive impact on mood. In addition to being the precursor hormone which is eventually converted into Testosterone and Estrogen (depending on sex), the hormone also has a controlling influence on levels of GABA in the brain, and has the ability to control and uplift mood as a direct result.

There is also evidence that the presence of DHEA in the brain suppresses the activity of Pregnenolone, a hormone associated with Depression and anxiety.

DHEA supplementation was found to have a positive effect on both psychological and physical well-being in both sexes. 84% of women experienced improvement, whereas 67% of men experienced improvement.

Enhanced well-being in this context is defined as the improved capacity to handle stress, increased relaxation, uplifted mood, sounder sleep, and increased energy.

If You are Experiencing Depression and Anxiety as You Grow Older, You May Benefit from Testosterone Therapy!

As you can see, Testosterone and DHEA are not only hormones that promote sexual health, they also play an important role in sustaining psychological health in both sexes.

If you are growing older and experiencing increased issues related to anxiety, as well as other symptoms which are inhibiting your quality of life, you may be suffering from Andropause, and Testosterone therapy may be able to improve your quality of life as well as your health!

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