Low Testosterone and Depression — Does One Cause the Other?
Many people are interested in the connection between low testosterone and depression, and for good reason — they manifest in extremely similar ways.
Consider this list of symptoms:
- Appetite changes and weight problems
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Loss of endurance
- Low mood
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Restlessness or irritability
If you were asked to decide whether this was a list of depression symptoms or a list of Low T symptoms, which would you choose?
Likely, you wouldn’t be able to do better than make a 50/50 guess, but, whichever you chose, you’d be right every time.
That’s because you’d find any or all of these symptoms associated with both depression and low testosterone.
Low testosterone and depression look very similar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re related.
In fact, we can’t definitively say that low testosterone and depression have a cause-and-effect relationship, but if you have Low T, you may be caught in a cycle that very closely mimics clinical depression.
Depression and Testosterone — A Possible Situation
Chronic fatigue and irritability can lead to a loss of interest and enjoyment in many activities that you, maybe even until very recently, got excited about or found fulfilling and enjoyable.
Your motivation and performance at work can begin to flag due to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and a lack of energy.
Your sexual appetite (libido) and performance can start to decline — you may even start to gain weight.
When these things all happen at once, you may begin to worry and feel dissatisfied with life.
With symptoms like these, you may be suffering from depression, from low testosterone, or from depression and low testosterone — if these symptoms are severe, you should get yourself evaluated by a medical professional immediately as only a medical professional can tell you what, precisely, is going on.
If you’ve gone beyond “low mood” to thoughts of harming yourself or others, you need to seek treatment immediately — severe depression can be a dangerous illness to face without treatment, and the consequences can be dire.
If you find yourself struggling with such thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and speak to someone who genuinely cares about you and wants to see you get better — immediately
Low Testosterone and Depression — Milder Symptoms
However, if your symptoms are less than severe, you may have other health issues to consider, it’s possible low testosterone is contributing in a significant way to how you’re feeling — it’s equally possible that getting your low testosterone treated can help you recover from those symptoms.
We have long suspected that treating Low T could improve these milder symptoms resembling depression. We often call it depressed mood or low mood. It is sometimes termed dysthymia, something not as severe as major depressive disorder, but perhaps more than just a transient “slump.”
Smaller research studies have provided support for this, as have our clinical experiences (over 150,000 patient encounters and counting).
Not to mention the experience of the patients themselves — many of our patients have reported a reduction in the above symptoms after getting on a regular schedule of testosterone replacement therapy.
New Research Supports Testosterone Treatment For Depression
Scientific studies continue to provide statistical evidence supporting the positive benefits of testosterone replacement therapy on depressed mood.
- Psychological well-being
- Perceptions of quality of life
- Energy levels
The study conducted by a researcher from the Department of Urology at Peking University People’s Hospital in Beijing, China, was a very well-controlled clinical trial on men over 50 suffering from testosterone deficiency.
From 160 test subjects, some men were given a dose of testosterone between 120-160 mg daily (depending on their baseline testosterone levels), and others were given a placebo.
Both before beginning treatment and after the treatment concluded, the researchers gave questionnaires to determine depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, stress levels, and perceptions around quality of life.
Low Testosterone and Depression — The Results
The results supported what we have long suspected — the men receiving the placebo saw no improvement in their depressive symptoms.
In direct contrast, those receiving testosterone for depression had a statistically significant improvement.
They reported improvements in both physical and mental health and in their quality of life:
- These men had fewer feelings of anxiety
- They had reduced subjective feelings of stress
- They had improved sexual symptoms
Low Testosterone and Depression — What Does It All Mean?
Again, we cannot say that Low T is necessarily the cause of your depressed mood.
After all, clinical depression can have many causes. Depression is a serious illness that is best diagnosed and treated by a mental health professional.
However, we do know that Low T can lead to a collection of symptoms that looks much like clinical depression.
So, if you’re suffering a mild-to-moderate case of depressed mood with some of the symptoms we listed above, getting your testosterone levels checked might uncover the source of your symptoms.
As the study above shows, if you suffer from Low T and depression-like symptoms, you could possibly see dramatic improvement in your quality of mental and physical health.
TRT could help you break the cycle of low or depressed mood.
The best thing you can do is get evaluated and go over those options with a qualified medical provider.
Learn More About Low Testosterone and Depression
If you’d like to find out more, click the button below to read a complete article on the relationship between low testosterone and depression-related symptoms.