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Depression & Hormones

Depression & Hormones

Is there a link between our hormone imbalances and feelings of depression? It’s been something I’ve been asking myself as “depression” comes up more and more in the symptom list associated with hormone imbalances

So what does cause depression?
There are many possible causes of depression. In fact there are normally several forces at work that bring on depression. Some of those being faulty mood regulation by your brain, stressful events, genetic vulnerability, medications, and more. 

According to Harvard Medical School “There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.” Which makes treating depression complicated. Even if the symptoms of depression sound similar, on the inside it can be very different, which is why alternate treatments are needed depending on the person. 

So what about hormones?
You’re probably thinking Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. Those are pretty common ones but there are more. Hormones are chemical messages sent throughout your body from the glands in your endocrine system. This system sends out hormones to tell your body what to do and for how long. 

How do hormones work with depression?
Remember there are a lot of different causes of depression. It’s such a vast subject that can go in tons of directions however as far as hormones are concerned the hypothalamus is our focus. The hypothalamus is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems. The hypothalamus produces releasing and inhibiting hormones, which stop and start the production of other hormones throughout the body. Stress can signal the hypothalamus and cause a trio known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. HPA controls this hormonal activities in your body that may play a roll in depression. 

Interesting facts about depression:

- Main areas that play a significant role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus.
- Research has found that women with a history of depression on average have a small hippocampus (9-13% smaller compared to those who were not depressed). Stress can suppress the productions of neurons in the hippocampus so it is believed stress may cause this. *Study done by Journal of Neuroscience
- An estimated 16 million adults in the United States experience at least one major depressive episode a year.
- Major depressive episodes are higher among adult females (8.7%) compared to males (5.3%).

Types of depression:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Seasonal Depression
- Postpartum Depression
- Psychotic Depression 

At the end of the day, there are too many causes of depression to know what could be causing the emotional turmoil you’ve gone through or the depression you’ve seen in family or friends. It’s important to know your body and rule out elements like stress in order to live a happy and healthier life. It's also important to know when it's time to seek out medical help. 

Also, don't rule out exercise. It might not help for everyone but I overcame depression from exercise (swing dancing to be exact) and I became very dependent on it. I was going out dancing four nights a week for about four hours at a time and after a year of that, I was finally able to just dance for fun instead of using it to just feel better. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which make you feel really good. It also reduces stress. Find something that could work for you! 

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Medical Disclaimer

This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.