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Depression In Men

Many of you know my story: I was low testosterone (almost for sure) since puberty and struggled with dysthmia (mild depression) until age 52 when I got my first testosterone cypionate shot. Bam! I remember thinking, "Wow! I finally know what it feels like to be a normal person." Of course, not everyone experiences that kind of effect from HRT, but it happens quite often as testosterone has a HUGE impact on us guys right between the ears. (You can read more about the subject in my link on Testosterone and the Male Brain.)

More importantly, I have notice a big percentage of men on The Peak Testosterone Forum are struggling with depression but are getting no useful information - often quite the opposite - from their front line doctors. (Not all physicains are like this, but many are and so I think it is important to highlight this.)  There are a lot of reasons for that, which I will discuss below, but let's look at some of the comments straight off the the forum that are just downright scary in my opinion:

"Been to all sorts of doctors and all kind of tests, no help from any of them... and thing are bad. taking vitamins and ALC and hope my nerves get better somehow. Stress and depression are killing me. So everyone be gentle with yourself. It's one of the worst things that can happen to a man. I feel like theres no point to live anymore, I cant concentrate on my work nor sleep. losing my friends because I feel like I'm uncapable to communicate like I did before the stupid accident. I'm screwed. I had perfect body and mind. Now there's nothing left of me." [1]

"I've been fighting a periodic stress induced problem for about 7 years now starting in 2005. I've had 4 "episodes" now. They always start in periods of high stress and last from 1 month to 6 months depending on how long it takes me to get on top of the stress. I get depression, anxiety, and I have a very specific form of insomnia where I wake up many times a night with bladder pain like I need to urinate but little or nothing is actually voided. These episodes are really hard on me, my family and my job." [2]

"I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas on how to get a more agressive doctor to address my symptoms...I also told him of shortness of breath, elevated pulse rate, and borderline hypertension... I also have depression/anxiety/chronic fatigue.  I don't know if I should go to a immunologist, neurologist, endo, or that guy from "House" (the old tv show)?" [3]

"The first endocrinologist didn't offer any help because my testosterone was in the "normal" range and because I "look like an athlete" (I was +20% bodyfat and bloated). He told me to "be confident" regarding my anxiety and depression/mood swings." [4]

STEP 8: Treat Your Depression - Hopefully Naturally

These are just a few quotes, but you get the idea.  Obviously, these men are struggling. Because I see this so often, I am including the subject of depression as Step 10 in my "Peak Testosterone Program", which deals with the typical symptoms that we see over and over again: fatigue, anxiety, mental fog, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction and so on. Yes, depression can cause all of these and so I want to cover some of The Natural Ways to Overcome Depression that your doctor will probably never discuss with you:

CAUTION:  Do not quit any medication without discussing it first with your physician.  Likewise, do not add any supplement without first discsussing it with your doctor if you have an underlying medical condition or any current medicaitons.

1. Testosterone. A few savvy practitioners out there are now screening depressed men for low testosterone levels. Why? Because depression has been shown in numerous studies to be linked to low T and, furthermore, giving a man HRT (testosterone therapy) can often improve his depression.  I am living proof of that one!  To see some of the research, check out my link on Testosterone and Depression. Again, the reason that testosterone is so helpful in this area is that testosterone stimulates many neurotransmitters, including dopamine, and is just good for male brain health as you can see in my link on Testosterone and the Brain.

2. Nutrition, Supplements and Exercise. There are actually many nutrients that, when low, can create or worsen depression. Your brain is a huge energy hog and requires massive amounts of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, etc. in order to run effectively. It is too much to cover here, but I discus all of this in my link Natural Depression Cures. Put these small things together and they can make a huge difference.

3. Meditation and PMR.  There is a strong and underemphasized cortisol/stress/anxiety component to depression.  This aspect of depression responds very well to stress management techniques.  These take just a few minutes out of the day and are also just good for general health.  See my links on Secular (Non-Religious) Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation for the basics.

4. Thyroid. Hypothyroidism can cause or worsen depression. Unfortunately, most doctors do not do an extensive evaluation and so I urge you to read this link on The Many Causes and Ways to Diagnose Hypothyroidism for some good starter information.

Of course, sometimes depression is severe and incapaciting enough that it requires some kind of medical or psychological intervention.  Don't put off treatment if you need it:  depression is very hard on the body.  It elevates inflammation levels, cortisol, free radicals and is so hard on the brain that it can damage the hippocampus and possibly other neurological regions as well.  It also may lead to hypgonadism in some cases and can lead to difficulties in the bedroom as I document in my link on Depression and Erectile Dysfunction. Obviously, that is only going to make a bad situation worse.

So, if you are struggling with depression, it's important to face it and defeat it.  Again, stop by The Peak Testosterone Forum if you have any questions or comments.

 

REFERENCES::

1) http://peaktestosterone.com/forum/index.php?topic=2217.msg23764#msg23764

2) http://peaktestosterone.com/forum/index.php?topic=785.msg7007#msg7007

3) http://peaktestosterone.com/forum/index.php?topic=1310.msg12503#msg12503

4) http://peaktestosterone.com/forum/index.php?topic=2342.msg22942#msg22942

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