Woman with menopause struggles with depression

Hormonal Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by a variety of different issues including genetics, a traumatic event, PTSD, substance abuse, and other various physical imbalances. One common cause for depression can be hormonal imbalance. People of all ages experience changing hormonal levels. Some of these shifts are normal, and others can cause imbalances and other symptoms such as depression. Here are some of the major hormonal causes for depression that can happen during a person’s life.

Puberty. The onset of puberty in both girls and boys can result in depression. Boys may actually experience decreased depression. Girls may experience increased depression as puberty progresses. Pubertal depression can be due to physiological, hormonal, and cultural changes experienced during early adolescence. Simply put, puberty is a time of difficult transition, both physically and emotionally. The combination of societal and physical factors is potent and can be overwhelming to young people fighting to emerge from childhood into adulthood.

Postpartum Depression. This is also known as “the baby blues.” Many new mothers experience mild depression after the birth of a child. Symptoms usually fade within a week. While the cause has not ben definitely linked, a drop of estrogen and progesterone levels five days after delivery may bring on feelings of depression. In a very small number of women, postpartum psychosis can result, causing severe depression and hallucinations. Studies indicate that if you have a history of depression prior to pregnancy, you are at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression.

Premenstrual Syndrome. This syndrome is increasingly linked to the depressive symptoms of despondent moods, irritability, exhaustion, and bouts of crying. Research is being done on the link between depression in PMS and lowered levels of melatonin and serotonin. Because of the link between PMS and depression, if you are a woman, you will want to beware of how your monthly cycle coincides with your feelings of depression.

Menopausal Phases. During menopause in women, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — all vital hormones. Progesterone and testosterone production can decrease at a faster rate than estrogen, upsetting the proper balance, causing estrogen dominance. With this imbalance, mood changes can occur and depression may result. These hormonal fluctuations can also affect the operation of the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism.

Low Testosterone. During the natural aging process in men, testosterone production is decreased. Higher testosterone levels are known to produce vitality, lean muscle mass, lower body fat, and enhanced sexual performance. The lowering or loss of these functions can produce depression in men as they age. This influences the physical as well as psychological changes in men. One study found a significant link between low testosterone and depression in older men.

These various hormonal imbalances may be difficult to detect without the help of a professional. If you think someone you know is suffering from hormonal imbalance and subsequent depression, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today. The Center • A Place of HOPE was recently ranked as the #1 treatment facility in the country for depression, and our team is standing by to help you and your loved ones.