Is Anxiety A Chemical Imbalance
Anxiety disorders can be linked to chemical imbalances in the body, along with other physiological factors such as sleep, diet, and exercise. So too, hormone imbalances can also reduce or increase your anxiety. Progesterone, the female sex hormone, stimulates the part in the brain that is responsible to your fight-or-flight responses and may trigger your anxiety. Low testosterone contributes to anxiety as well, as it regulates the part of the brain that is responsible to assess social threats and emotions of others to allow us to lead a healthy social life. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol induce our anxiety in safe, normal scenarios like a job interview or a date. And oxytocin can intensify memories and generate dread towards future similar events.
Here is a more detailed overview of these hormones and how they work:
You May Like: What Will Testosterone Do For Me
How Worrying Is This
There are important things to know about this study
- Firstly, the difference is very small – 1 extra person received antidepressants out of 200 people using hormonal methods for a year
- Secondly, a link doesn’t necessarily mean that contraception causes depression. For example, it could be that there’s another explanation, say that young people who are on hormones are also more likely to have relationship breakups, more heartbreak and therefore more depression.
- Some studies from other countries found the same link, some show the opposite , and other studies found no link between depression and hormonal contraception.
The Effect Of Levonorgestrel
Editors Note: As we continue our series highlighting Mental Health Awareness Month, we are featuring a patient interview that makes clear the dual need for comprehensive contraceptive counseling in modern medicine and compassionate care for patients with mental health issues. It also highlights an often unrecognized problem, the trauma many women experience at the hands of the medical community when their concerns are not adequately addressed. Sunny Lee, a medical student who participated in the FACTS elective, interviewed a 28-year-old woman who experienced psychiatric symptoms after insertion of a hormonal IUD.
This is a true story about a 28-year-old female and her experience with a hormonal intrauterine device . Though commonly prescribed and advertised as a safe, reliable form of contraception, hormonal IUDs may have overlooked adverse drug reactions involving mood symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. I was inspired to write about this womans story in hopes of giving a voice to those with a similar experience and raising awareness when counseling patients on various forms of contraception. The patient agreed to be quoted under the pseudonym Bella to protect her privacy.
She became very anxious and started experiencing palpitations at night. Bella visited her OB-GYN to discuss these new symptoms but was told that the IUD was not the cause of her worsening mental health.
Recommended Reading: Will I Have Depression For The Rest Of My Life
Depression Anxiety Irritability And Low Moods Can Hormonal Imbalances Be The Cause
Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate the processes and activities throughout the body including our moods, metabolism, energy levels, our periods, fertility, stress response, sugar cravings, weight and many others.
It is not surprising that for many women, hormonal imbalance is an overlooked cause of many symptoms, while for others it may unfortunately be brushed under the rug and even considered as normal.
Its important to understand that while hormonal changes are normal and in fact expected, there is no need to suffer through them.
If you are struggling with low moods, anxiety, depression or mood swings, any of these symptoms could be caused or triggered by underlying hormonal imbalances.
Unexpected Pregnancy & Ectopic Pregnancy
Over a five-year period, about eight in 1,000 women became pregnant while using Mirena, according to Bayers Mirena Welcome Kit. This can be life threatening. It may also cause loss of fertility. Study results on ectopic pregnancy risk are mixed.
In patients becoming pregnant with an IUD in place, septic abortion with septicemia, septic shock, and deathmay occur.
- Bladder or bowel problems
Read Also: Free Online Support Groups For Depression
Hormonal Vs Nonhormonal Iuds
Not all IUDs are linked to depression. Only hormonal birth control increases your risk of depression. Hormonal IUD brands include:
Hormonal IUDs work by releasing a progestin called levonorgestrel into the body. Progestin makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and fertilize an egg by thickening the cervical mucus and thinning the uterus lining. These IUDs can last for three to seven years, depending on the brand.
Nonhormonal IUDs, on the other hand, are not linked to a risk of depression. This type of IUD, which has the brand name ParaGard, is made with copper, which prevents pregnancy by acting as a spermicide. The copper essentially kills sperm before it has the chance to fertilize an egg. Depression is not considered one of the possible ParaGard side effects. A copper IUD can last up to 10 years before you need to have it replaced.
Other Possible Side Effects Of Hormonal Iuds
Aside from the possible connection between IUDs and anxiety, there are other side effects from IUDs that can range from mild to severe. Most women feel a small, sharp pain when the IUD is put in and cramping or lower back aches for several days afterward. You may notice spotting more than usual between periods, irregular periods, or heavier periods and more severe cramps.
Most women feel a small, sharp pain when the IUD is put in and cramping or lower back aches for several days afterward.
Over-the-counter pain medication can help with the initial pain of having your IUD implanted and the cramping associated with your period. However, if the bleeding is unusually heavy and the cramping doesnt go away, see your doctor.
Also Check: Plants That Help With Anxiety And Depression
Emerging Research: Nomegestrol Acetate With 17
Currently, all available oral contraceptive pills affect mood. We have shown that nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol is better tolerated by women with mood disorders.30 Our pilot study was a single-site clinical follow-up study that assessed the tolerability and subjective mood response to nomegestrol acetate 17-beta estradiol. Based on a sample of 49 women, we showed that women report a positive mood response and reduced self-reported overall DASS-21 score after taking nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol compared to previously used oral contraceptive pills.30 Future research with a larger sample is required.
Nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol is a monophasic preparation with an extended regimen of 24 active pills followed by four placebo pills. The drug can cross the bloodbrain barrier, interact with serotonin receptors and regulate cerebral blood flow to the amygdala, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and many other areas of the brain involved in depression.31 Women who develop depression soon after taking other oral contraceptive pills may better tolerate nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol. This is consistent with its successful use in clinical practice for the off-label treatment of mood symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.30
Pros Of Hormonal Iuds:
Unlike all other types of hormonal birth control, hormonal IUDs do not completely suppress ovulation . According to one study, Mirena suppresses ovulation in 85 percent of cycles during the first year , and then in 15 percent of cycles after that. Lower dose IUDs permit ovulation more of the time.
Compared to pills and implants, hormonal IUD delivers a lower dose of a contraceptive drug. The blood level of levonorgestrel in Mirena-users is about one-tenth of pill-users. Unfortunately, even that low dose can cause side effects .
Hormonal IUDs are more effective than almost any other method of contraception, with a failure rate of just 0.7 percent.
After insertion, you dont need to do anything or take anything, and IUDs lasts three years or five years .
In theory, fertility returns to normalalmost as soon as a hormonal IUD is removed.
Hormonal IUDs reduce menstrual flow by at least 90 percent, and thats a huge pro for heavy menstrual bleeding.
Hormonal IUDs can relieve some of the symptoms of endometriosis. For other endometriosis treatment ideas. .
What You May Have Heard
You may hear people say hormonal birth control negatively affected their mood, making them feel depressed, anxious, or irritable. You may also hear people say that hormonal birth control improved their mood, making them feel more calm or stable. Of course each personâs bodyâand brainâis unique and their response to hormonal birth control can be different.
Hormonal birth control comes in several forms, including the implant, the intrauterine device , the shot, the pill, the patch, and the ring. Progestin-only hormonal birth control contains just progestin . Combined-hormonal birth control contains both progestin and a form of estrogen.
Several large studies have explored whether there is a connection between different types and formulations of hormonal birth control and changes in mood or mental health with some conflicting results.
A 2016 study of more than one million women in Denmark really brought the possible connection between birth control and mental health to mainstream attention . This study analyzed nationwide health records and showed that hormonal birth control users were more likely to be diagnosed with or treated for depression .
Two large studies in the United States and Finland showed something different. In these studies, people using hormonal birth control of any type reported fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety .
Did My Iud Trigger My Depression
Four months ago I switched from the Mirena intrauterine device to the Kyleena IUD. Two weeks later I was hit by a period of major depression, from which I have still not recovered. Its important for people with depression and bipolar disorder to monitor their symptoms and attempt to find what triggers them in order to possibly prevent future episodes or extend time between episodes. In considering what may have triggered this latest episode of depression, I only recently connected the fact that the change in my birth control and the onset of the depressive episode were around the same time. So now Im questioning whether my new IUD may have caused my depression.
Intrauterine devices are T-shaped devices placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are currently five brands approved by the FDA: Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, Skyla and ParaGard. ParaGard contains copper as its contraceptive mechanism. The others use the hormone levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy. In hormone-releasing IUDs, the hormone is slowly released over 3-5 years depending on which brand is used.
In my case, Ive been using one form of birth control or another for the past 15 years and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder almost 10 years ago. So, why would I suddenly be able to blame my depressive episode on my IUD? Well, it could all come down to hormone changes.
You May Like: How Much Of The World Has Depression
Can Birth Control Cause Mood Swings
We all know someone who swears that birth control completely wrecked their mood. Whether it was making them feel anxious, depressed, angry or like a crazy, jealous mad woman, theres no denying theres a link between birth control and mood swings or mood changes.
And maybe you were one of those people. I know I was.
When I was a teenager, my doctor put me on birth control pills. These made me feel depressed and I honestly had days where I didnt even recognize who I was anymore. But despite my insistence that the pill was the cause of my mood swings, my doctor assured me that there was no link.
Fast forward to me now. A doctor who works with women every day in my medical practice to undo the effects that hormonal birth control causes. Because it is real. Women come to me with new onset of depression, anxiety and mood swings after starting hormonal birth control. And I listen to their stories of how the pill or other synthetic hormones have created a huge disruption in their life.
Ive had patients tell me stories about completely falling out of love with their husband or partner after starting birth control.
Many women report lacking all motivation and joy, losing interest in hobbies and feeling like birth control robbed them of their mental edge at work.
And there are the women who feel disconnectedfrom their child, their friends, even themselves.
Read Also: Can Birth Control Pills Cause Depression
Supreme Court Avoids Major Ruling In Birth Control Dispute
Women who choose to go on hormonal contraception might be doing so to control health problems like menstrual pain or bleeding that could put them at higher risk of depression. They might also turn to birth control because theyre in stressful social situations that would make pregnancy undesirable and also put them at risk for depression.
Several experts said they wished the study had specifically looked at the health outcomes of women using copper IUDs or condoms or other non-hormonal forms of contraception, to see how they compared with women using no contraception and hormonal contraception.
Lidegaard said copper IUDs werent tracked in the study because they are free over the counter in Denmark, meaning that they are not tracked in the countrys database. He said it was unlikely that the need for birth control was driving the findings.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Out Of Deep Depression
Read Also: Who Treats Anxiety And Depression
Does Hormonal Contraception Cause Depression
There has been concern in the media about a posssible link between hormonal contraception and depression.
A study from Denmark in 2016 looked at the medical records of more than one million people aged 15 to 34 with no previous depression
Researchers found that people who used hormonal contraception were more likely to be started on anti-depressants or to be diagnosed with depression in a hospital. The link was stronger for teenagers.
This study has caused worry about hormonal contraception.
Hormones And Anxiety: Understanding The Relationship And Tips For Relief
For many adults, anxious feelings can turn up at any corner. It can be caused by excess caffeine, local or global events, or even an ex-partner. So, it shouldnât be too hard to believe that anxiety is a possible symptom of certain hormone imbalances.
Hormones are your bodyâs chemical messengers that send signals to different parts of your body. Theyâre responsible for regulating many different processes like growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood. If your hormones become imbalanced , they can interfere with a variety of your bodyâs normal processesâcausing a variety of complications, including anxiety.
While there could be a number of reasons why a person experiences anxiety, symptoms unrelated to trauma, loss, a major life event, or a mental health condition may be attributed to a hormonal imbalance. Read on or skip to our infographic as we go into more detail on the relationship between hormones and anxiety, and provide tips that can help manage or relieve these feelings.
Read Also: Is It Possible To Recover From Depression
Anxiety Depression And Hormones
Take a look at Lucy. Shes had depression most of her life. There have always been good days and bad days, but recently, Lucy found an unexpected link: her menstrual cycle. Her moods, it turned out, were much lower during certain parts of her cycle, and much higher during others.
With hormone treatment, however, Lucy found that she could have more good days than bad days. Even better, those treatments banished some of her depressive symptoms once and for all.
Hormonal imbalances often cause or contribute to womens anxiety and depression systems. Across the United States, as many as 18% of the adult population suffers from an anxiety-related disorder. Another 7% deals with a major depressive disorder on a regular basis.
That number goes up significantly for women, who are more than twice as likely to face mood disorders. Its not just a US problem, either. Around the world, women have a higher likelihood than men of suffering from anxiety or depression. Thats a huge difference! The difference suggests that sex hormones may have a huge impact on anxiety and depression.
Are you still on the fence about whether hormones could be to blame for your anxiety or depression?
Are you reluctant to assign the blame to hormones?
Consider this: studies show that women have more problems with a variety of issues during times when hormones swing more widely. These include:
Dont Miss: How To Get Estrogen Mtf
Is Your Period Healthy
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.
Don’t Miss: Best Way To Get Out Of Depression
Oxidative Stress And Depression
Since most people have never heard of oxidative stress as it related to Depression and anxiety, Lets talk for just a moment about oxidative stress
- Why you need to know about it,
- How to test for it and
- Its connection to depression and anxiety
First off, Oxidative stress is a destructive force on the cells in your body and it happens when you dont have sufficient amount of antioxidants due to poor diet, poor absorption underlying inflammatory condition in the body.
While that might not seem like a big deal-its a huge problem to the integrity of the cells in your body. I like to use this illustration of an apple when explaining oxidative stress to my patients.
We all have apples in our house sitting on our kitchen table. As long as you dont bite into that apple and disturb the outer skin of the apple, that apple will keep fresh for several weeks and perhaps even a month or two.
But have you ever noticed that when you take a bit out of that apple, within just a few short minutes, that apple begins to turn brown. If you left that apple on the kitchen table for a week it would be rotten. Thats Oxidative stress! But when it happens in your body- that oxidative stress is damaging the cells and causing disease at the cellular level. One way we measure oxidative stress is by measuring lipid peroxidation,
Also Check: How To Tell The Doctor Your Depressed