The Link Between Low Testosterone and Depression

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on January 16th, 2023
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Link Between Low Testosterone and Depression

Aging is inevitable and is considered by some people to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing is that older people become wiser, more tranquil, and more patient and can use their experience as a yardstick to measure people, situations, and circumstances.

Also, many older folks have a deep philosophical and spiritual foundation that enables them to experience the vicissitudes of aging with a peaceful acceptance.

However, there are many downsides to aging:

• Loss of muscle size and strength.
• Stiffness that makes moving more challenging.
• Persistent pain from creaky, run-down joints.
• Insomnia, along with an inability to stay asleep.
• Baldness.
• Dental problems.
• Failing eyesight.
• Having difficulty concentrating.
• Chronic fatigue and an increasing inability to adapt to today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing society.
• Dry, withering, shriveling skin with enough wrinkles to resemble a road map.
• Diminished sex drive and, for men, erectile dysfunction (ED).
• And perhaps the most severe and unpleasant development: depression.

These symptoms may be due to aging.

However, there may be another reason for the appearance of these quality-of-life destroyers:

Hypogonadism (Low testosterone levels, or “Low-T”)

If you’re a man experiencing a diminished sex drive and plummeting energy, you might attribute these conditions to aging. But if you are suffering from many signs of aging, especially depression, the problem could be hypogonadism (low testosterone).

To determine if your condition is depression or low testosterone requires examination from a medical professional. Urologist Lawrence Hakim, MD, describes the link between low testosterone and mood and how these conditions may be tied together.

Androgens, like testosterone, are the hormones that give people their “male” and “female” characteristics. They also play a crucial role in puberty, the development of your sexual reproductive system, and your ability to reproduce.

The Endocrine system controls hormones through a network of glands and organs throughout the body. Hormones are secreted by the glands and travel by the bloodstream to the organs to control their functions.

Here is the key takeaway: the hormone system is in a delicate balance; if that balance is altered, a cascade of physical, mental, and emotional problems are unleashed. How impactful these changes depend on the unbalanced hormone, but other hormones may also be affected.

Beginning at age 30, testosterone levels drop at around 10% per decade. Testosterone levels can also crash due to injury, illness, lack of sleep, stress, working out too intense or not at all, and your food intake.

If your testosterone levels are elevated, you may experience outbursts of anger and excessive bursts of energy. In contrast, Low-T can cause ebbing energy, constant fatigue, apathy, and depression.

“People with hypogonadism, or low testosterone, will often say they have no energy, no desire for sexual activity, and noticed a decrease in muscle mass,” says Dr. Hakim.

“In fact, hypogonadism is often associated with increased fat mass and reduced muscle mass, which can lead to obesity and other health risks, including cardiovascular disease. Those are all common signs and symptoms that may be associated with low testosterone.”

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone and depression

Low testosterone and depression share a lot of the same symptoms, including:

• Chronic Fatigue
• Moodiness
• Lack of interest in sex
• Easy to anger
• Lack of motivation.
• Social withdrawal and isolation.
• Anxiety
• Unable to concentrate
• Insomnia, poor sleep quality, and trouble staying asleep.

“When we say people are depressed, what are we describing? We’re often describing someone as having low energy and no desire to partake in activities that normally bring them pleasure — these are common things we see with low testosterone, too,” notes Dr. Hakim.

“Sometimes, people are actually misdiagnosed with clinical depression, and they might instead have low testosterone or hypogonadism. It is therefore important to rule-out a physical cause of the condition, such as hypogonadism, prior to treatment.”

Either depression or low testosterone may cause some symptoms. People who have depression might experience fatigue but may not suffer other symptoms commonly seen with low testosterone like:

• Shrinking muscles.
• Loss of strength.
• Sudden weight gain.
• Erectile dysfunction
Worse, having one of these conditions can result in a vicious cycle of problems that cause the other condition to develop or worsen.

For example, low testosterone leads to erectile dysfunction and low libido. These conditions foster social isolation, which in turn leads to more depression.

“If you come in to see your doctor with any of these symptoms, especially if you have some form of sexual dysfunction, it is important to evaluate your total and free testosterone levels since hypogonadism may be the underlying cause,” advises Dr. Hakim.

“You don’t want to ignore low testosterone. You want to address it as well as look for any other underlying diagnosis that needs to be addressed.”

Dr. Hakim added that “Many of these symptoms, especially as men get older, can be due to other factors such as stress, anxiety, pressure, work, aging, relationship issues, and even other medications. Ultimately, a multispecialty approach is important to assure the best outcomes and patient satisfaction.”

Here is where our clinic can help

Our clinic will determine your testosterone levels. If you have Low-T, we will prescribe a treatment regimen to restore your testosterone to normal levels. Our treatment therapy will be specifically designed for you and will consider your current condition, age, and lifestyle.

In addition to our hormone therapy, we will also give recommendations for nutrition, sleep, exercise, the importance of hydration, stress control, and methods of lowering your exposure to toxins.

We take a holistic approach to restoring your good health and promoting longevity.

Contact us for a FREE, no-obligation discussion concerning the incredible benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)!

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