The World Health Organization states that depression is “the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.” It is twice as common in women and may be due to lower testosterone levels in women as compared to men. Depression increases by 2 to 4 times during perimenopause and menopause. The majority of patients with a Major Depressive Disorder have only a partial response or fail to respond at all, to SSRIs, the main category of medication used to treat depression (STAR*D Trial). To make matters worse, SSRIs decrease testosterone levels in the bloodstream.
Testosterone is very active in the brain and is known to increase memory, cognition, and mathematical ability. Testosterone replacement increases serotonin production and has been called by some “the happy chemical”.
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency may include not only depression but anxiety, anger, irritability, moodiness, decreased self confidence/self esteem, fearfulness, decreased libido and sexual function, decreased stress tolerance, fatigue and confusion.
Testosterone replacement therapy may help alleviate many of these symptoms. Before discussing the research in this area, the “Myths/Misconceptions” on Testosterone need to be reviewed.