Hormones and Anxiety: What’s the Connection?

Hormones and Anxiety

As humans, it’s normal to experience anxiety from time to time. However, if you are one of the millions who experience anxiety often, you may be searching for a means to an end. While some instances of anxiety are common due to the stresses of everyday life, you may encounter significant bouts of emotional distress that have the power to impact your quality of life and that of those close to you.

Determining the root cause of your anxiety can prove invaluable in finding an adequate method of coping. Hormones may play an important role in your anxiety, as can a number of other factors you may be unaware of.  Hormones and anxiety are often related. Anxiety can be caused by any number of hormonal imbalances, wreaking havoc on your mental health in severe cases. If you suspect that hormonal imbalance may be to blame for your anxiety, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with how certain hormones and anxiety can affect your mental health.

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

 

There are different types of anxiety, and everyone experiences them differently. These feelings of anxiousness may come seemingly out of nowhere, or there may be a direct correlation between your anxiety and other life events. Some examples of anxiety disorders include Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

While the psychological symptoms of anxiety are difficult enough to cope with for some people, there is also a host of physical symptoms that may accompany anxiety disorders. Some general symptoms of anxiety include…

  •      Panic, unease or fear;
  •      Sleeping issues;
  •      Cold hands or feet;
  •      Sweaty palms;
  •      Heart palpitations;
  •      Shortness of breath;
  •      Dizziness; and
  •      Nausea.        

How Are Hormones and Anxiety Related?

 

Your body contains dozens of different hormones and additional sub-hormones that may contribute to hormonal imbalances, which can result in anxiety. While the notion that hormonal imbalance can cause anxiety is undisputed, some experts believe that the majority of hormonal imbalances do not create anxiety but, rather, exacerbate it. Both women and men can be affected by hormonal imbalance, but it is also possible that these hormonal imbalances are caused by already-existing anxiety.

Some of the most common forms of hormonal imbalance include the following:

Menstruation

Many studies have shown that the effects of menstruation on certain hormones can either contribute to or heighten anxiety. Other common emotional symptoms associated with menstruation include irritability, depression, anger, oversensitivity and nervousness.

Adrenaline

Your body releases adrenaline when stressed, which makes surges of adrenaline a symptom of anxiety. In some cases, though, stress can damage your body’s adrenaline symptom by releasing adrenaline without warning, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety or unease.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy has a severe impact on hormones, which can lead to variety of personality change, including anxiety.

Which Hormones Can Affect Anxiety?

 

Hormones are, in many ways, messengers to the brain. Your body would not be able to produce sufficient amounts of neurotransmitters without certain hormones. Some hormones that may contribute to anxiety include the following: 

Stress Hormones

Cortisol is one stress hormone with the potential to cause anxiety. Your body releases cortisol when you are mentally stressed. Research has shown that excess amounts of this stress hormone may result in both depression and anxiety, contributing to the chances of an anxiety attack. Factors that increase or decrease cortisol production – for example, a lack of exercise – may cause anxiety.

Sex Hormones

Sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone may contribute to anxiety as they are present during periods of drastic hormonal changes, such as pregnancy and menopause.

Thyroid Hormones

Health issues like hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, may lead to the overproduction of various hormones, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. If you have a condition like hyperthyroidism, your body begins to increase its metabolish, which can cause hyperventilation, an increased heart rate and other physical symptoms. On the other hand, hypothyroidism occurs when your body lacks the thyroid hormone, which can also contribute to instances of anxiety.

How Can I Manage My Anxiety?

 

Whether your hormonal imbalance is caused by thyroid issues or any number of other culprits, if you are experiencing anxiety, finding a sufficient method of management is crucial to maintaining quality of life. Anxiety caused by a hormonal imbalance is treatable. There are a variety of steps you can take to help maintain hormonal balance. Certain techniques can be highly effective in coping with anxiety, and reducing your anxiety may even help to balance your hormones.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is highly effective for the management of certain anxiety disorders. This proven method of coping has helped millions change their way of thinking, resulting in a decrease in anxiety and other related conditions. The reason for CBT’s success among patients may be its framework. With CBT, patients are actively involved in their recovery as they maintain a sense of control.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is one form of CBT that has been particularly effective in treating certain phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The goal of exposure therapy is to reduce fear and anxiety responses by gradually exposing a subject to a feared situation. They learn to be less sensitive over a period of time.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with ideals from Eastern meditation to promote acceptance and change. DBT involves individual therapy and group therapy sessions that teach the power of mindfulness and other skills that can be effective in tolerating distress and regulating emotions.

It’s important to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks as these can have adverse effects on your overall health. Ensuring you are getting proper nutrition, adequate exercise and sleep is helpful in maintaining good mental health. Natural herbal remedies and other hemp supplements, when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, can be also be effective in managing your condition. Speak to your doctor about different options regarding hormones and anxiety; this can help you pinpoint the very best method of management for you.

Is your anxiety due to hormonal imbalance? How do you cope with your anxiety? Do you think there is a connection between hormones and anxiety? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.