Low testosterone, also known as Low-t, can be easily mis-diagnosed. This is especially true in the mental health field because it looks, feels, and sounds like clinical depression. Low testosterone does not just effect people who have testicles.
Low-t affects women as well. Yes, both genetic sexes have testosterone, although not at the same levels. If a person has Low-t, all the anti-depression and anti-psychotic medication and talk therapy will not work. Talk therapy and hormonal replacement treatment is the only way to fix the depressive symptoms.
Testosterone used to be thought of as an exclusively male sex hormone and that is simply not correct. All humans have and need testosterone to function. It is a vital hormone used in the regulation of:
- sexual desire
- helps maintain the overall health of a person.
The only real difference is that males have a much higher need for testosterone than females. Men and women tend to exhibit the same symptoms when testosterone levels are low. The symptoms that are constant with ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
Low Testosterone Symptoms Include
- depressed mood or a volatile mood
- low energy
- loss of motivation or interest in activities
- low sexual desire
- lack of ability to focus
What does Low-T look like?
A person with Low-t would be indistinguishable from a person with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. This can be especially true if you are not looking for it, and most of us are not looking at a depressed patient thinking it could be Low-t. It goes without saying most people would think they may have ADHD, depression, and anxiety rather then a hormonal issue. They would see a mental health professional and get treatment for depression and so on.
A person with low-t who seeks those kind treatments and, at best, will see no improvement or, at worst, could be made worse by adding new medications. This spiral of failure can leave the client feeling hopeless and doomed that they will feel this way forever. The sad part is that a simple blood test at the start of treatment could have fixed everything. The only way a person could know it is a testosterone issue and not a mental illness is by a blood test to test one’s testosterone level.
What should my testosterone number be?
The healthy range for a man in his 30’s is 600-1000 and for women about 50-70. The younger a person is the numbers should be even higher and for those over 40, lower.
Testosterone replacement therapy
The treatment for Low-t is hormone replacement therapy and Clomid.
Testosterone replacement therapy is when a person uses an outside source of testosterone to increase their testosterone level. These therapies include gels that rub on like a cream, under arm cream applied to the arm pit, injections, and pellet implants.
The side effects can be severe and include:
- heart attack
- lower sperm count.
Clomid is a drug that causes the body to produce more testosterone and, since the body is producing its own testosterone, the effect can be an increase in fertility. This maybe a good way to treat men with Low-t when they are trying to conceive.
So, if you are experiencing depressive symptoms, it maybe depression but it could also be hormonal. Clinicians should be mindful of these symptoms and encourage all their clients to get checked out by a doctor and ask to have their testosterone levels checked. If a person gets treatment for the wrong diagnosis, they will never see improvement.
Have questions about whether you may be suffering from low testosterone? Contact us today.