Anxiety is seen as a psychological condition, but the causes of anxiety are far more complex. Anxiety can be caused muscle energy - you can genuinely get mental stresses simply because you're not moving your muscles enough. Anxiety can also be caused by nutrition. Anxiety can be caused by thousands of different things.
So it should come as no surprise that hormonal imbalances may cause anxiety as well. The term "hormonal imbalance" has a variety of meanings, but it's also very clear that it can lead to anxiety.
Is Anxiety Affecting Hormones?
Hormone activity is responsible for a variety of physical and psychological reactions, including anxiety. Anxiety can also affect hormones. Take our free 7 minute anxiety test to score your anxiety symptoms, compare it to others, and find treatment ideas.
Hormones and Anxiety
"Hormonal Imbalance" can be an incredibly broad term - one that in some ways doesn't have a specific meaning. For example, it's possible that your body releases too much thyroid hormone which may trigger panic attacks. It's also possible that stress is causing too much cortisol production, which leads to further anxiety symptoms.
Start by taking my 7 minute anxiety test, since it will give you a snapshot of your anxiety symptoms that can help be used to treat them. Take it here now if you haven't yet.
The key thing to understand about your hormones is that they are responsible for nearly every process in your body, and your body gets used to a very specific amount of each hormone. Any changes in your hormones may create anxiety, for example:
- Menstrual Cycle/Birth Control Pills
- Thyroid Health Issues
- General Stress
Anxiety is complex enough that it's even possible for stress and anxiety to cause hormonal imbalances that lead to further stress and anxiety. Hormonal imbalances are an issue that can be physical and natural, or caused by stress, or both, and no matter what causes it can lead to anxiety.
Types of Hormonal Imbalances and Anxiety
It would be impossible to go over each and every example of a hormonal imbalance. Your body has dozens of hormones and many more types of sub-hormones within those hormone groups, and in some ways any imbalance has the potential to lead to anxiety because any imbalance can lead to physical responses that create stress. But a few examples of these hormonal imbalances include:
- Menstruation Menstruation is unfairly blamed and stereotyped for a variety of emotional and psychological issues, but many studies have confirmed that menstruation (and its effects on estrogen and progesterone) can either contribute to anxiety, or exacerbate anxiety.
- Adrenaline Adrenaline is released by stress, so in general adrenaline is a symptom of anxiety, not an imbalance in and of itself. But in some cases stress can essentially damage the body's adrenaline symptom so that if fires adrenaline without warning, and that adrenaline will almost assuredly create a feeling of unease or anxiety.
- Pregnancy The king (or queen, as it were) of all hormonal changes, pregnancy throws nearly all of your hormones out of whack, and changes far more than just your appetite. This can lead to a host of personality changes, and anxiety is chief among them - especially combined with the stress of pregnancy itself.
- Thyroid Thyroid health issues are usually due to either nutrition or hypo/hyperthyroidism, so a doctor will generally need to diagnose and recommend proper treatment, but issues like hyperthyroidism can lead to an overproduction of various hormones that may lead to note only anxiety, but also severe anxiety attacks.
These are just a few examples of hormonal imbalances that may cause anxiety.
Anxiety and Hormones - Chicken and Egg
Interestingly, while there is no doubt that hormone problems can cause anxiety and stress, in many cases it is believed that what most hormonal imbalances do is not create anxiety necessarily, but rather make anxiety worse.
This is especially the case with the menstrual cycle. Experts believe that most women that experience anxiety as a result of menstruation often have lower levels of anxiety before their periods, and then when their period comes the changes in emotional sensitivity may lead to strong anxiety sensations.
Hormonal imbalances can affect both men and women, and hormonal imbalances can cause anxiety even if no anxiety is present. But it is likely that many of those suffering from hormonal issues have anxiety or stress already, possibly in a lesser form, and that eventually is what creates further anxiety when hormones are unbalanced.
Curing Anxiety Without Hormonal Drugs
When hormonal imbalances cause anxiety, curing it completely can be tough. In some cases, you may need to seek out professional assistance, especially if a condition is causing the hormonal issues, such as those caused by the thyroid.
But even if your hormones are causing your anxiety, anxiety reduction tips can still successfully help you cope with that anxiety, and in some cases once your anxiety is reduced, your hormones may even go back to normal.
Curing Anxiety From Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes can be a problematic anxiety culprit, because they generally can't be cured overnight. If you're suffering from a hormonal imbalance, then you are also likely in need of some type of hormonal care.
There are many things you can do that will help your hormones stay regulated. There are also some herbal remedies that may be useful, depending on the type of condition you have.
The good news is that you can still treat anxiety even if your hormones are causing it, because anxiety is still mental health related, and your own mental strength can help you recover.
I've helped thousands of people with hormonal imbalances overcome their anxiety. As always, I tell them that the most important place to start is with my 7 minute anxiety test. It's a free test that will give you an incredibly valuable snapshot of your anxiety, which you can then use to seek out the right treatment.
If you haven't yet, take the test now.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.