For those who are experiencing the debilitating condition, having depression means more than just feeling down and out. Despite the social stigma attached, depression is a very common illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one in twenty Americans over the age of twelve have some form of depression, while the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports an even higher prevalence in women. The fact is, depression can be present in anyone, at any age. If the source of your depression is not addressed, it can lead to a myriad of health ailments including a loss of motivation and even erectile dysfunction.
Both men and women can have difficulty with multiple aspects of their health due to depression, and this signals that hormones may be involved.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression are not well understood by researchers and can vary in frequency and severity from person to person. Generally, the more severe the case of depression you have, the more likely it is to have negative effects on your sexual health.
Desire and motivation are cultivated in the brain, and the body relies on chemicals in the brain (such as serotonin and dopamine) to provide a balanced mood and positive outlook on life. When these chemicals are disrupted, it can have severe effects on your mood, libido, and drive. This may be worse in older adults who have other conditions that are contributing to the same problem. It is also not just the depression itself that may interfere with sexual health. In fact, antidepressants — the most common form of treatment for depression — can often render the person worse off than before they began the regimen.
Men are also more likely to lose interest in normal, daily activities during depression, as it affects the brain’s ability to stay motivated and release/manage rewarding pleasure chemicals. When men lose this intrinsic motivation, their sex drive suffers as well.
In men, antidepressants are directly related to impotence, or an inability to maintain an erection. The chemicals present in these medications affect the same neurotransmitters that initially stimulate excitement and arousal. Delayed orgasm or premature ejaculation may also result. Having troubles with sexual health can deepen feelings of worthlessness and other symptoms of depression. This, in turn, can cause a vicious cycle of both worsening depression and sexual dysfunction.
Hormone Therapy for Depression
When men reach their middle ages, they begin to experience what is called andropause, or low levels of critical androgens such as testosterone. When men lack this vital hormone, their brain’s ability to effectively manage their mood and produce energy is greatly decreased. Testosterone works in combination with pleasure-releasing chemicals in the brain to help keep a balanced and motivated mood. Hormones work as chemical messengers, and they travel throughout our circulatory system looking for their target receptor which can be located in virtually any cell in the body, including in your brain.
So, despite some doctors who prescribe potentially harmful antidepressants may do, hormone therapy is a much more efficient option for treating any form of depression in men who have reached their middle age. Rather than disrupting the natural chemical balance in your brain, treat the underlying hormonal cause. Undergoing a professionally guided TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) regimen may give you the boost you need to feel young and motivated to enjoy life to the fullest again.