Jane Fisher discusses why hormonal imbalances can be a root cause of mental health challenges and that this occurs much more frequently than most would think.
A hormonal imbalance is defined by medical experts as “too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream.” Although hormonal imbalances are often discussed as a problem that primarily affects women, men can also experience health issues related to an excess or deficiency of hormones. In addition to the physical symptoms that can result, various mental health challenges can also occur as a result of a hormonal imbalance. When the chemistry of one’s body changes significantly, mental health conditions that lead to hearing voices can occur. Because there are so many health problems that can cause changes in one’s cognitive state, it is crucial to become familiar with those conditions and symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
Hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and the like have the power to do much more than create unpleasant physical symptoms. Certain hormone-linked health conditions can actually lead to mental health disorders. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are two examples of this. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland becomes overactive, leading to excess production of the hormone thyroxine. Conversely, hypothyroidism is characterised by an underactive thyroid gland. In this case, not enough of the thyroid hormone is produced. Individuals who have been diagnosed with either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can develop anxiety, moodiness, depression, and panic attacks. They can also experience fatigue and insomnia, which can result in further behavioural changes.
Hormonal imbalances after pregnancy
Whether a woman has just had her first child or fifth child, postnatal hormonal changes have been shown to cause significant shifts in behaviour and mental health. Up to 80% of mothers who have just given birth experience some level of sadness or anxiety. This is due to the sharp decrease of both progesterone and estrogen that occurs after childbirth. Additionally, a condition known as postnatal depression is characterised by loss of interest in activities, difficulty controlling one’s anger, intense sadness, feelings of anxiety, crying, and moodiness.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Although many have heard of premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (or PMDD) is a far more severe hormonal condition. This condition can result in severe depression symptoms, intense anxiety, irritability, feelings of hopelessness, and decreased interest in many activities. Even though the symptoms ultimately go away after a short period of time, it is crucial for women who have these symptoms to seek treatment (since they will continue to come back each month).
Although most people do not initially think of a hormonal imbalance as the root cause of mental health challenges, this occurs much more frequently than most would think. The conditions listed above are just a sample of the potential health conditions that trigger a hormonal imbalance, and resulting behaviour changes. If you or someone you know could be experiencing a shift in personality due to a hormonal imbalance, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.