How Does Hormone Imbalance Cause Anxiety?

by Kimberly Dean

Anxiety due to hormonal imbalance is caused by a hormonal imbalance in the endocrine system. The endocrine system plays a very large role in the emotional state of humans. From regulating energy levels, how we deal with stress and keeping us calm. When the hormonal system gets out of balance, there are certain emotional changes that can occur.

Hormonal imbalance can not only cause anxiety, but things like; depression, feeling disoriented (brain fog), disassociation and mood swings. These states of mood can exist either alone or in combination with each other. Doctors will usually do blood testing for a hormone imbalance first before referring a patient to psychotherapy.

Hormonal imbalances can be caused by many things. When the endocrine system (the system in the body that regulates hormones) gets out of balance, the production of hormones can either go up or down in the body. Too much or too little of certain hormones can trigger anxiety. While these conditions are not a direct cause of anxiety, the associated symptoms of a hormone imbalance can trigger anxiety attacks. Here is a short list of some of the conditions that can cause hormonal imbalance and how they can trigger anxiety:

Thyroid disease – The thyroid regulates metabolism. These hormones work by either speeding up or slowing down the body’s processes. People who have hyperthyroidism experience anxiety because their thyroid produces too much of the hormone that speeds up the heart, digestion, breathing and other processes.

Menopause – Women have reported that at the start of menopause, they experience anxiety attacks along with the night sweats and hot flashes. This is a very common complaint. Dropping hormone levels such as estrogen and progesterone can trigger anxiety. This is especially progesterone that is a calming hormone on the body. Some women find natural hormone replacement, such as progesterone creams to be very helpful in this situation.

Diabetes – One of the main symptoms of low blood sugar in diabetic patients is anxiety. Carbohydrates have a calming effect on the body. When blood sugar drops, anxiety is a sign the body needs carbohydrates. Diabetics need to be especially cautious of this sign and treat low blood sugar immediately.

Adrenal gland conditions – This hormonal imbalance is a little more straightforward. It is a medical proven fact that anxiety is directly caused by a surge in adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands. With certain adrenal conditions, this can happen often due to adrenal gland disease. Examples are; pheochromocytoma (a cyst develops on the adrenal gland), Addison’ Disease (an auto-immune disease of the adrenal’s), and Adrenal Insufficiency.

The good news in relation to anxiety caused by hormonal imbalances is that once the imbalance is corrected the anxiety usually subsides. Treatments may need to be lifelong in cases of insufficiency and may need to be used in conjunction with other therapy to minimize the effects of the hormonal imbalance. This may include; the use of bio-identical hormones and natural herbal anxiety relief.

People with anxiety due to hormonal imbalances may think that they have a mental illness, but this is not always the case. It is just the body’s way of telling them something is not right. The treatments for any type of anxiety can also include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help relieve attacks. In cases of anxiety for hormonal imbalances can also be lessened with CBT exercises. This method works by the patient learning certain techniques to help minimize the effects of an anxiety attack. This is a completely “non-medicinal” approach and can work anywhere or anytime in conjunction to bio-identical hormonal therapy.

The most important point is when anxiety is related to a hormonal imbalance it must be evaluated and hormone replacement or corrective measures must be taken. This is a true signal that something is “off” in the body and not something to be ignored. There are many other causes of anxiety that are not related to physical disorders that can easily be treated with “non-medicinal” approaches, but in this case the physical cause needs to be corrected. The first thing to do when anxiety sets in is see a practitioner that can help you obtain the testing and corrective supplements to get you on the path to feeling better. There are many different types of practitioners that can help you with this including Naturopathic doctors. Proper diet and rest are other ways to help the body correct hormone imbalances. It is also helpful to eliminate things in the diet that make this condition worse like; caffeine, smoking and excess junk foods.

Anxiety caused by hormonal imbalance is a very common condition in many people with many different health conditions. Getting the problem diagnosed and treated right away can ease and help prevent the miserable occurrences of anxiety attacks.

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