Testosterone and Depression
Testosterone is a hormone that’s sometimes also called an androgen. Androgens, including testosterone, are also known as male hormones. Testosterone contributes to a number of bodily functions, such as
- muscle strength
- sex drive
- bone density
- body fat distribution
Testosterone in men also aids sperm production. Although testosterone is categorized as a male hormone, women also produce testosterone. Females, however, have lower concentrations of the hormone than men. Low testosterone in men and women can cause a number of physical and emotional symptoms, including depression.
Sex hormones may play a role in the development of depression. Women have a higher risk of depression than men until they reach age 65, at which time sexual differences wane. Sex hormones may be responsible for the difference in susceptibility to depression, according to several studies. Men produce seven times the testosterone that women produce, and abnormally high or low levels of testosterone may also increase risk of depression.
Testosterone is a hormone secreted from the testes and adrenal glands. Testosterone helps regulate sexual activity, libido, social behaviors, cognitive functions, aggression and sleep. It also plays a role in establishing a sense of well-being. In men, testosterone helps maintain bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and mass, red blood cell production and sperm production, according to MayoClinic.com.
In men, below-average levels of testosterone are associated with higher depression risk, according to a 1999 study published by Alan Booth and colleagues in the “Journal of Health and Social Behavior.” Older men with lower free testosterone levels in their blood have an increased risk of depression, according to a study published by Osvaldo P. Almeida and colleagues in a 2008 issue of “Archives of General Psychiatry,” cited by Science Daily. Testosterone therapy reverses the effect.
Excessive androgens, such as testosterone, are associated with aggression and anti-social behavior in women, which may increase risk of depression, states a 2010 study published by Sükrü Kartalci in “Current Approaches in Psychiatry,” also known by its Turkish title, “Psikiyatride Guncel Yaklasimlar.” Low testosterone levels are also associated with depression in women, according to a 2002 study published by U.D. Rohr in “Maturitas,” the official journal of the European Menopause and Andropause Society.