In its compartmentalised view of the world, modern medicine tends to treat anxiety as a purely mental issue. Patients are encouraged to go to counsellors and doctors hand out pills like candy.
These pills might stave off the effects of anxiety for a while, but inevitably it returns.
The problem is modern medicine treats symptoms rather than the underlying issue. And it turns out that low testosterone is often the cause of anxiety.
Low Testosterone and Anxiety: My Story
Every human being has their own worries, doubts and fears. You’ll always have them and it’s how you choose to view them that counts.
In your darkest moments they can consume you, if you let them.
However, when your hormones are imbalanced you have little say in the matter:
The anxiety controls you.
And before you know it, it has become your default state of mind.
The symptoms of low testosterone crept up on me over the course of a few years. And because they were so gradual I didn’t pay much attention to them at first.
In much the same way, anxiety started out low-level until I was agonising over almost everything. I could scarcely make a decision with fretting over it.
The link between low testosterone and anxiety didn’t occur to me at the time. I figured perhaps I was just a worrywart and that I needed to learn how to control my anxiety.
Eventually, I decided to see a psychiatrist because my anxiety was getting out of control. It was taking over my life.
I reached the point where I was having regular panic attacks.
It would begin with a pain in my chest. My heart pounded, my airwaves became constricted and I couldn’t think. I became white as a sheet and felt like I was going to pass out.
One time I was on the train home after work and I had a panic attack. My chest became tight, I started to feel dizzy; I was stumbling and my vision was blurred. I thought I was having a heart attack. So, I got off the train and stumbled off to the nearest hospital.
In a panicked state, I asked them to check my heart. Little did I know that my heart wasn’t the issue, rather my out of control anxiety.
They did an x-ray and an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check my heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
Everything appeared normal.
I felt relieved for the time being – that was until it resurfaced.
Indeed, the psychiatrist told me seeking reassurance is part of the anxiety feedback loop:
You become anxious about something > you seek reassurance > you become reassured > then you panic about the next thing and the whole process starts again.
A vicious cycle.
I understood the concept and it made total sense to me. So I became to determined to work on my anxiety, and I tried to not give in to the panic attacks when they surfaced. When they came I controlled my breathing.
This did help to reduce my anxiety levels. But it was always there in the background:
It felt like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get a handle on it. I was fighting a losing battle.
Eventually, I asked myself, ‘Should it really be this hard to control anxiety?’
And it wasn’t until I did some research that I understood the link between low testosterone and anxiety.
Testosterone Optimisation Therapy and Anxiety
I’ve been pretty diligent about monitoring my testosterone levels:
I’ve had my blood work done every year since my mid 20s.
Therefore, in theory I was well-placed to preempt low testosterone before it happened. The problem is, I NEVER expected to have low testosterone in my 20s.
In hindsight, the alarm bells were there even at the age of 26, but I was oblivious to them. I normalised the symptoms of low testosterone and became accustomed to them.
I had unconsciously accepted the constant, gnawing anxiety as part of my daily existence.
It wasn’t until I had my blood work done at 28 showing the hormone profile of an 80 year old man that it hit home. Suddenly the anxiety, depression, low libido – EVERYTHING – all made sense.
Eventually I got a prescription for testosterone optimisation therapy and I began my journey.
During the first few weeks of TOT, I still had some residual anxiety:
‘Oh god, I have to do this for the rest of my life!’
‘What if it doesn’t work?’
Low T was still causing my mind to frantically go around in circles. The testosterone hadn’t kicked in yet. But as soon as it did – boy did I notice a difference.
Almost overnight the anxiety VANISHED.
I no longer had to battle anxiety everyday and police my thoughts. I felt positive and centred without even trying.
Now I truly understood the effect hormonal imbalance can have your mental state.
Finally, I was free from the shackles of anxiety. The energy I wasted on mental anguish was now put to productive use.
Do Studies Show Low Testosterone Causes Anxiety?
According to the literature, the answer is yes.
Studies show women tend to exhibit higher anxiety levels than men. And researchers think this may be due to men’s higher levels of blood testosterone.
Nevertheless, the mechanism of action that enables testosterone to reduce anxiety is not entirely clear. Researchers hypothesise the process is mediated by the 5alpha reductase enzyme that is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Anxiety is when your mind projects itself into the future and you become distressed over a potential outcome.
And most of the time what you fear never comes to pass, yet the anxiety remains.
So can low testosterone cause anxiety? It’s a categorical yes.
I speak to men everyday who have low testosterone. Although having low testosterone doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have all the symptoms of it.
In fact, you may only have a few.
However, the common trend I see is that most men with low testosterone suffer from anxiety.
Some people claim that testosterone optimisation therapy is expensive. But consider this – if you have anxiety, how much time and money have you spent on supplements, doctor’s consultations and other things?
When all along, your low testosterone could be responsible for your anxiety.
If this is you and you haven’t done it yet – get your testosterone levels checked.