Are you sure this shouldn’t be called Typical Male Syndrome? (Sorry, your male moderator couldn’t resist)
There really are humorous aspects that can be typical. There is a question, “How can you tell if a male has IMS?” and the answer is, if you ask, “Can you please pass me the salt,” and he replies, “Take, take, take, that’s all you ever do!”
It’s so baffling to the people that live with the men because it seems to be happening without any seeming cause. And that’s what we try to do through the quiz and questionnaire and the research, is to help people understand what’s going on so we can treat it and help save the millions of relationships that this problem is destroying.
What are the nine types of IMS you mentioned?
Again, I recommend that you go to the web site and take the quiz to identify them. Here are some examples:
- One is more irritable. The fuming, the frustration that gets turned inward. The guy that’s at slow boil.
- A second type is more aggressive. The men might blow up without provocation and start yelling, or they may become physically violent.
- A third common type is withdrawal. That man seems to not want to interact in his important relationships. He seems to disappear, and there’s a question of, where did the man that I love disappear to? Where has my best friend gone to?
So I would, again, recommend that people check out for themselves which type they may have in their lives, so you can recognize the various options available for help.
So how does a man come to recognize that it’s not the boss, the highway, or the White House that’s driving him, when he’s denying his own contribution?
Men tend to learn about this slowly over time.
- The first way men often learn about it is they begin to recognize that even though it may appear that the problem is outside themselves, their reaction seems to be overly drawn. He seems to be too angry for the situation.
- Step two is that he begins to see that regardless of the cause, the relationships that are important to him are suffering.
- Thirdly, he begins to see that there is something that can account for these problems without him feeling even worse about himself. People say that when they take the test, they find out they’re not crazy, and it helps them accept that it’s something real.
- And finally, when they recognize there are so many things they can do to make things better, they’re more willing to accept that there’s a problem.
This question is a good example of what you just mentioned about overreacting.
I get angry so easily, in traffic, when something I’m trying to put together doesn’t work, when I burn toast! I wasn’t always like this. I’m in my mid-30s and don’t have any particular life problems, but something has definitely changed in me. Is this a sign of IMS and what can I do about it?
Yes. What we know is that any time a man starts having these added kinds of irritable responses, when that has not been typical of him before, we suspect IMS. We then follow that up by having the man, or person that cares about him, take the quiz that gives us more detailed information, and it also begins to help us see what we can do to improve things.
What people can do, depending on what their particular issues are, can range anywhere from changing diet to shifting exercise programs, to stress reduction and relaxation practices, to checking hormone levels. And I do a great deal of counseling in my own practice in my office here in Northern California, by phone, and by email to help guide men and their partners through the steps of healing.
“We don’t need to go back to some kind of idealized, pseudo manly persona in order to be manly. What we do need is a clearer sense of purpose in our lives.”
You said one of the factors in IMS was loss of male identity. Could you explain what you mean by that? Surely you don’t mean that men should have to go back to being Ward Cleaver or Matt Dillon in order to be real men?
No indeed. We don’t need to go back to some kind of idealized, pseudo manly persona in order to be manly. What we do need is a clearer sense of purpose in our lives, a sense of direction of what it means to be a man at this time in the human experiment on the planet; these are difficult times to be a man. And finally, we need a greater degree of support and appreciation of manhood in all its various manifestations.
I’ve found that the traditional men’s support groups, which started in many cases in the late 1800s — the elks clubs, lions clubs, etc., where men could come together to talk, joke, and just be together, weren’t originally clubs to make money. But those have changed now. Not only have they lost their support aspect, they’ve become more business oriented. And, of course, they now allow women members. So we need places where men can be in group situations with other males. I’ve been in a men’s group that’s been meeting for 25 years now. And I believe it’s one of the absolutely essential elements of support that men need today.
It seems part and parcel of a much larger problem – we’re not adapting quickly enough to our rapidly changing societal environment, perhaps?
Yes, I think that’s a perceptive observation, that we are moving into a world where things are changing much more rapidly than the human psyche is able to adapt. And in many ways, we’re creating an environmental catastrophe by the way we’re using our natural resources. And clearly, unless we change the way we utilize our resources, humans are going to have an increasingly stressful and difficult time living on the planet over the next 20 to 30 years.
I believe my husband of 23 years is going through something like this, with lack of interest in everything that he once liked. He is unsure if and what is making him unhappy or what can be done to make himself happy, and not sure if after 23 years he is in love with me. What can I do if he is unwilling to seek professional help? He seems depressed and uninterested in everything that once made him happy. He has devoted all his energy to his job instead. Are there vitamins, etc. that I can give him to help him?
I get literally thousands of letters and emails from women that experienced these common elements:
- Number one, my husband has changed.
- Number two, he seems much more unhappy than he’s ever been before.
- Number three, he tells me that he loves me, but he’s not in love with me anymore.
- And four, he doesn’t know what to do.
For starters, what I tell women is that you have to be willing to get some help for yourself to know how to deal with these issues. You have to know when and how to be supportive of him; you need to know how to best take care of yourself; you need to know when to insist that he come with you to get help, and when to leave the decision to him. These are the kinds of issues I work with people every day to help answer and solve these kinds of problems.
What kinds of diet changes are you talking about as possible treatment for IMS?
There is an important need to be able to make some strategic decisions about the level at which a man may need help. For instance, when a man is acting very depressed and saying he doesn’t feel that life has much to offer, or he’s saying he feels that there’s nothing here in this relationship, that’s not the time to talk about diet or nutrition. That’s the time to get involved with a professional therapist to deal with more possible depression that could be life threatening.
That’s why it’s important to not try to diagnose yourself or hope it works out by itself. These issues need professional understanding and guidance.
Having said that, there are many things we can do with diet, both things that we should be eating to help, and things we should not be eating that contribute to IMS. For instance, we know that one of the causes of IMS is a low testosterone level. We also know that the more weight a man puts on, which is a problem for many of us in society, the lower his testosterone level will become. So anything a man can do to lose those inches around his waist, not only helps him look better, feel better, and live longer, it will help eliminate the IMS.
If I went to my family doctor with your book in hand and said I think I have this, would he take me seriously?
If he’s smart he will. What I found when wrote my book, Male Menopause , which has been translated into 20 foreign languages and is a national bestseller, was that initially doctors were reluctant to take the information seriously. Now, increasingly, doctors understand these issues, and many are open to treat them.
For the most part, until doctors actually read the book and understand it, they may be reluctant to be supportive of their patients who recognize the problem and want to do something about it. That’s why I try to link people with physicians in their area that might be responsive to treating these kinds of problems.
Who do you see first, your family doctor or psychotherapist?
I always recommend people have a relationship with their family doctor, because many of the aspects of these problems can be psychologically based. I also recommend that people have a regular psychotherapist that they go to periodically, because many aspects of life have a psychological base.
Ideally, there would be one clinician we could go to that’s trained in all aspects of men’s health. Just as women go to see a gynecologist, I would like to see a time when males have a doctor that speaks to the unique needs that men have. And perhaps we’d call him a guy necologist. There actually is a medical specialty that’s called andrology and a specialty called andrologist. But it’s more common in Europe than in the United States.
“I get literally hundreds of letters a day, mostly from wives and girlfriends that say, ‘This is him. How did you know? Have you been listening in on our private conversations?'”
What is the effect of alcohol/smoking on the possibility of getting IMS, or the worsening of it if you have it?
Alcohol, smoking, medications, drugs of different kinds, can contribute to IMS in a number of ways. As I mentioned, they can affect hormone levels, they can affect the biochemistry in the brain, they can affect our stress levels, and they can also contribute to IMS or exacerbate it in people that have it. We know, for instance, that people who drink too much can become more irritable and angry, and in some cases, more violent.
What kind of feedback are you getting from wives and girlfriends about your book?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Twenty four hours after the book came out, it got to No. 5 on the Amazon bestseller list. It’s in its second printing after being out for two weeks.
I get literally hundreds of letters a day, mostly from wives and girlfriends that say, “This is him. How did you know? Have you been listening in on our private conversations?” And once having gotten the book and reading it and taking action, I get letters saying, “Thank God I got this in time, because this has saved our marriage.”
Unfortunately, I also get letters from people who say, “I wish I’d gotten this book five years ago. It may have saved our marriage had I known these things.” That’s why I’m so committed to getting this message out, and get people to go to the web site to not only find out if you have it, but I have a free newsletter that people can sign up for to keep you posted to various issues related to IMS. Again, that’s www.theirritablemale.com.
It seems impossible for parents to prepare children for a future that is so unknown. What advice would you give parents that might help them pave a more flexible road for their children to travel?
I think there are two models that we have in this country about raising children. One is a nurturing, caring, supportive model, and the other is a stricter model.
What we’ve learned in research over the years is that a strict disciplinary model will push people to obedience, but will lead boys, particularly, over time toward a more angry and aggressive position in the world. The nurturing model will lead to more caring, more interactive nurturing way of being with wives, girlfriends, and children when they have children. Hopefully, parents can move towards a nurturing model for parenting.
We are almost out of time. Before we wrap things up for today, do you have any final words for us, Jed?
I really encourage people to write in, if you want to contact me. You can do that through the web site, and I’d enjoy hearing from you.
Our thanks to Jed Diamond, MSW, for joining us. For more information, please read his newest book, The Irritable Male Syndrome .
- Irritable male syndrome and low testosterone: What’s the connection?
- Symptoms of mood swings in men
- What can cause mood swings in men?
- Irritable male syndrome: Diagnosis and treatment
- Tips for improving low mood
- Depression and Older Adults
- Depression Is Not a Normal Part of Aging
- Recognizing Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults
- Types of Depression
- Causes and Risk Factors for Depression
- Vascular Depression
- Depression Can Co-Occur with Other Illnesses
- Common Symptoms of Depression
- Treatments for Depression
- Therapy for Depression
- Medications for Depression
- Preventing Depression
- How Do I Find a Clinical Trial on Depression?
- For More Information About Depression
- The Mental and Physical Side Effects of Low Testosterone
- Men’s Mood Swings
- women are not alone
17 Everyday Ways to Ease Depression See Slideshow
Irritability and mood swings in men are common symptoms of andropause and may be referred to as irritable male syndrome (IMS). IMS can be caused by high cortisol levels and may cause men to act out or become depressed. To learn more about this condition, including its connection to low testosterone, symptoms, causes, and treatment, continue reading below.
Irritable male syndrome and low testosterone: What’s the connection?
As men age, their bodies produce less testosterone. Approximately 40 percent of men over the age of 45 have below normal levels of testosterone, but can this effect their moods and result in irritable male syndrome? Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, founder and director of Men’s Health Boston medical clinic commented on the potential connection, stating, “Men with low testosterone find that their emotional reserves are lower. They have a shorter fuse. In popular culture, people link male anger with high testosterone, but as a rule we see it more in men with low testosterone – most commonly when levels are dropping. That’s when men get cranky.”
Other experts disagree that low testosterone is the main cause of irritable male syndrome, and instead posit that low testosterone may be a symptom of another condition that could contribute to mood swings. Dr. Alvin Matsumoto explained this point of view, stating, “I think there are a lot of things going on when you get older. If you’re androgen deficient and you’re experiencing a low sex drive, will you be irritable? Yes!” Whether IMS is caused by low testosterone or they are just side effects that occur together, experts agree that the way to feel better is to maintain your overall health.
Symptoms of mood swings in men
Irritable male syndrome may cause symptoms including depression, low self-confidence, difficulty concentrating, reduced energy, and issues sleeping, as well as irritability. Those with IMS may also find it more difficult to lose weight and have a harder time recovering after exercise as well as experience erectile dysfunction and a lower sex drive.
Additional symptoms of men with irritable male syndrome include:
- Feeling anti-social
- Feelings of depression
- Being argumentative
- Being unloving
- Being withdrawn
- Being demanding
What can cause mood swings in men?
Decreased testosterone levels may make men more susceptible to mood swings, though the hormone decreases steadily and over a long period of time. There are other potential causes of mood swings in men that may be more likely if the mood swings are severe or being experienced by men under 30. In these cases, they may be caused by mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and depression.
Common causes include:
ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder): People afflicted by this condition can be distracted and frustrated easily and often. They often feel inadequate and are unable to cope with depression, resulting in erratic moods.
Borderline personality disorder (BPS): Characterized by the inability to maintain a stable relationship due to patients’ turbulent emotions about themselves and others. A history of suicide attempts may be present.
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED): Individuals can experience extreme, uncontrollable anger and are capable of great violence. They don’t necessarily mean to inflict harm but do so anyway.
Substance abuse: Alcohol and/or drug abuse can lead to unexpected mood swings. People’s addiction may make them behave erratically as their cravings often guide their behavior.
Stress: Continuous stress can leave you feeling like no one understands you and your problems. Without proper relief it can build up over time, leading to mood swings.
Head injury: Suffering from an acute injury to the head that results in brain damage can affect the parts of the brain that govern personality and mood.
Chemical imbalances: The brain utilizes many different chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin, GABA, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When neurotransmitter production is disrupted, it may lead to mood swings, depression, or excessive anxiety.
Irritable male syndrome: Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose irritable male syndrome, your doctor may order a blood test to examine your testosterone levels. From these levels, they may determine whether you are experiencing a hormone imbalance that is capable of impacting your mood. Your doctor may also check for signs of other medical conditions that can cause mood swings or explain other associated symptoms. For example, diabetes may explain erectile dysfunction that is making you feel irritable and frustrated.
If your irritable male syndrome is found to be connected to low testosterone levels, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy. This treatment involves receiving regular injections of a synthetic hormone that can help restore vitality as well as alleviate other symptoms associated with low testosterone levels. Your doctor may also suggest that you work to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet that avoids items high in fat, sugars, and alcohol.
Tips for improving low mood
To better manage your symptoms and improve your mood, it is important to recognize the changes in your mood and obtain a diagnosis from your doctor. To better and help stabilize your mood, you may want to learn to identify your mood swings and take the time to calm down and diffuse the situation. Also, practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation and yoga, and exercise regularly as physical activity can help promote the expression of endorphins and alleviate feelings of anger and depression. As previously mentioned, make dietary changes and avoid foods that contain excess fats and sugars, and limit your alcohol intake. Finally, seek counseling if your mood swings are impacting your daily life in order to better learn how to cope with them.
Male mood swings can occur with age just like female ones, and may even be a symptom of andropause known as irritable male syndrome. IMS may affect your daily life and impact your relationships, so if you are experiencing mood fluctuations that are not normal it is best to seek the advice of a doctor. Depending on the cause of your mood swings, he or she may recommend testosterone therapy, lifestyle changes, or counselling to help you cope with and alleviate your symptoms.
Related: 7 Ways to boost testosterone levels naturally
Depression and Older Adults
Depression is more than just feeling sad or blue. It is a common but serious mood disorder that needs treatment. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, and working.
When you have depression, you have trouble with daily life for weeks at a time. Doctors call this condition “depressive disorder” or “clinical depression.”
Depression is a real illness. It is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. You can’t “snap out of” clinical depression. Most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.
Depression Is Not a Normal Part of Aging
Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is NOT a normal part of aging. In fact, studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems. However, important life changes that happen as we get older may cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness.
For instance, the death of a loved one, moving from work into retirement, or dealing with a serious illness can leave people feeling sad or anxious. After a period of adjustment, many older adults can regain their emotional balance, but others do not and may develop depression.
Recognizing Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults
Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because they may show different symptoms than younger people. For some older adults with depression, sadness is not their main symptom. They may have other, less obvious symptoms of depression, or they may not be willing to talk about their feelings. Therefore, doctors may be less likely to recognize that their patient has depression.
Sometimes older people who are depressed appear to feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or seem grumpy and irritable. Confusion or attention problems caused by depression can sometimes look like Alzheimer’s disease or other brain disorders. Older adults also may have more medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, which may cause depressive symptoms. Or they may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to depression.
Types of Depression
There are several types of depressive disorders.
Major depression involves severe symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.
Persistent depressive disorder is a depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
Other forms of depression include psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder.
Causes and Risk Factors for Depression
Several factors, or a combination of factors, may contribute to depression.
- Genes—People with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose families do not have the illness.
- Personal history—Older adults who had depression when they were younger are more at risk for developing depression in late life than those who did not have the illness earlier in life.
- Brain chemistry—People with depression may have different brain chemistry than those without the illness.
- Stress—Loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger depression.
For older adults who experience depression for the first time later in life, the depression may be related to changes that occur in the brain and body as a person ages. For example, older adults may suffer from restricted blood flow, a condition called ischemia. Over time, blood vessels may stiffen and prevent blood from flowing normally to the body’s organs, including the brain.
If this happens, an older adult with no family history of depression may develop what is sometimes called “vascular depression.” Those with vascular depression also may be at risk for heart disease, stroke, or other vascular illness.
Depression Can Co-Occur with Other Illnesses
Depression, especially in middle-aged or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression. A doctor experienced in treating these complicated illnesses can help work out the best treatment strategy.
All these factors can cause depression to go undiagnosed or untreated in older people. Yet, treating the depression will help an older adult better manage other conditions he or she may have.
Common Symptoms of Depression
There are many symptoms associated with depression, and some will vary depending on the individual. However, some of the most common symptoms are listed below. If you have several of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, you may have depression.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease with treatment
- Frequent crying
Treatments for Depression
Depression, even severe depression, can be treated. If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or healthcare provider. This could be your primary doctor or a provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions (a psychologist or psychiatrist). Certain medications and some medical conditions can cause the same symptoms as depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a psychological evaluation.
Learn about talking with your doctor about sensitive subjects, including depression and mental health.
Treatment choices differ for each person, and sometimes multiple treatments must be tried to find one that works. It is important to keep trying until you find something that works for you.
The most common forms of treatment for depression are medication and psychotherapy.
Therapy for Depression
Psychotherapy, also called “talk therapy,” can help people with depression. Some treatments are short-term, lasting 10 to 20 weeks; others are longer, depending on the person’s needs.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one type of talk therapy used to treat depression. It focuses on helping people change negative thinking and any behaviors that may be making depression worse. Interpersonal therapy can help an individual understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause the depression or make it worse. Other types of talk therapy, like problem-solving therapy, can be helpful for people with depression.
Medications for Depression
Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. There are many different types of antidepressants. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. You may need to try several different antidepressant medicines before finding one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects.
Antidepressants take time, usually 2 to 4 weeks, to work. Often symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give the medication a chance to work before deciding whether it works for you.
If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, but then the depression returns. When you and your doctor have decided it is time to stop the medication, usually after 6 to 12 months, the doctor will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose. Stopping antidepressants abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Most antidepressants are generally safe, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. The warning says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. Talk to your doctor about any side effects of your medication that you should watch for.
For older adults who are already taking several medications for other conditions, it is important to talk with a doctor about any adverse drug interactions that may occur while taking antidepressants.
Do not use herbal medicines such as St. John’s wort before talking with your healthcare provider. It should never be combined with a prescription antidepressant, and you should not use it to replace conventional care or to postpone seeing a healthcare provider.
Share this infographic and help spread the word about the emotional benefits of exercise.
What can be done to lower the risk of depression? How can people cope? There are a few steps you can take. Try to prepare for major changes in life, such as retirement or moving from your home of many years. Stay in touch with family. Let them know when you feel sad.
Regular exercise may also help prevent depression or lift your mood if you are depressed. Pick something you like to do. Being physically fit and eating a balanced diet may help avoid illnesses that can bring on disability or depression.
How Do I Find a Clinical Trial on Depression?
The National Institute of Mental Health at NIH is dedicated to mental health research, including clinical trials of possible new treatments as well as studies to understand the causes and effects of depression. Find studies currently recruiting participants with depression by going to ClinicalTrials.gov (search: depression).
Remember, with treatment, most people will begin to feel better. Expect your mood to improve slowly. Feeling better takes time, but it can happen. Learn more about depression from the National Institute of Mental Health.
For More Information About Depression
American Psychological Association
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental Health America
National Institute of Mental Health
This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure that it is accurate, authoritative, and up to date.
Content reviewed: May 01, 2017
The Mental and Physical Side Effects of Low Testosterone
Posted: November 11, 2014
Low testosterone has become a hot topic. Doctors and researchers have just begun to understand the ramifications of low testosterone levels. As far as symptoms go, you’ve probably heard about the sexual side effects of low T. But low testosterone levels can account for so much more than a lack of interest in the bedroom.
Low testosterone not only affects your body, but it also affects your mind and general feeling of well-being. Lesser-known symptoms include depression, confusion, irritability, and fatigue. A hormonal imbalance can throw everything out of whack. With inadequate levels of testosterone, the brain doesn’t get all of the signals it needs in order to function at its peak. Along with a general feeling of the blues, low testosterone can affect sleeping patterns and sap your energy. No matter how much rest you get, you never seem to feel quite up to par.
Low testosterone can affect other parts of your body in multiple ways. Many of these symptoms can make a man feel less masculine. Low testosterone can cause more body fat and less muscle mass, giving the body a softer, rounder shape. Even worse, some men with low testosterone develop gynecomastia, which is an enlargement of the breasts. In a general sense, the lack of testosterone can cause the body to take on a slightly more feminine shape. On a more serious note, it can also cause bone loss or thinning bones. All of these physical symptoms can not only be frustrating to your ego, but also detrimental to your overall health.
These symptoms may seem like they occur more rapidly as a man ages. This is mostly because testosterone production slows naturally with age. Not only older men suffer from a deficiency in the male hormone; Low T can affect men at any age. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the best thing to do is get your hormone levels checked.
For men with low testosterone, help is available in the form of injections, like those provided at Low T Center. Treatment is convenient and effective, and we can determine if you are a candidate for testosterone injections with a simple blood test on your first visit.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
If you’re a guy who finds it hard to talk about your feelings, the problem might lie with your testosterone levels, a recent study suggests.
A psychological condition called alexithymia is found in people who have an extraordinarily difficult time conveying emotions to others and interpreting others’ feelings. Past studies have shown that alexithymia and depression are closely related, and the condition has long been associated with aging.
Depression, low testosterone and erectile dysfunction are all known to become more common in men as they age. Researchers from Finland wanted to see if alexithymia is a result of aging itself, or if it is actually caused by other factors that typically come with aging, like a lower sex drive.
In the study, nearly 1,400 men ages 25 to 65 filled out questionnaires during a three-year period, beginning in 1998, and reported difficulties they had in expressing thoughts and emotions, symptoms of depression and general life-satisfaction levels.
Out of those 1,400 men, researchers chose 116, half who had symptoms of alexithymia and half who did not, and asked them to complete a follow-up survey and report their alcohol intake, smoking status, and other information, and were also given a blood test to check their testosterone levels, said study researcher Kirsi Honkalampi, a professor at the Kuopio Psychiatric Center in Finland.
The researchers found that, no matter what age they were, men with hypogonadism a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone scored significantly higher on a test used to measure alexithymia than men who didn’t have hypogonadism.
“Alexithymia has often found to be associated with old age, but not in our study,” Honkalampi told MyHealthNewsDaily. Instead, men with hypogonadism were the ones who had a history of depression and had difficulty expressing their emotions.
However, the biological mechanisms that link testosterone and the condition aren’t clear, according to the study, though obesity, metabolic disorders and decreased sexual appetite that comes with low testosterone and depression are all possible reasons.
Alexithymia is considered a risk factor for other psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as substance-use disorders, according to a 2009 study in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.
The finding, published in June in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, was not widely reported. The researchers recently issued a press release on their work.
- Obesity Linked to Low Testosterone in Men
- 10 Things Every Woman Should Know About a Man’s Brain
- Why Women Prefer “Chill” Guys
As men age, their bodies stop producing as much of the hormone testosterone. When testosterone levels drop, men can experience a wide range of symptoms. Here are just a few of the ones that family practice physicians say are most common.
Low Sex Drive.
One of the main reasons men seek out low testosterone treatments is to help them regain their sex drive. Low levels of testosterone not only lead to a disinterest in intercourse, but can also make it difficult for men to achieve an erection. While testosterone does not stimulate the sex drive, it aids it. The hormone stimulates receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide — the chemical that triggers arousal. Without testosterone’s help, men will find it more difficult to have sex.
Loss of Muscle; Increase of Body Fat.
Another reason why so many men seek out low testosterone treatments is because they’ve noticed that they’ve started to lose muscle, and gain fat. Testosterone plays a big role in the building and strengthening of muscle, which is why men with low levels of the hormone notice a decrease in both muscle mass and strength.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the nation, affecting some 40 million adults. More than 80% of depressed individuals won’t seek out professional help, either. If some men were to, though, they may discover that their depression is actually a product of low testosterone, which has been show to cause depression, irritability, or a lack of focus.
Thankfully, there are both natural testosterone supplements and low testosterone treatments, such as TRT, that can help men overcome these problems, and return their energy levels to normal. If you’ve been suffering from any of these symptoms, you may want to speak to your doctor about which low testosterone treatment may be right for you.
If you have any questions about low testosterone treatments, feel free to ask in the comments.
Moody men now have a name for their version of PMT: irritable male syndrome. Researchers in Edinburgh, working from studies of sheep, believe men’s brains react in a similar way to women’s to fluctuations in the sex hormones.
Dr Gerald Lincoln, a researcher at the Medical Research Council’s human reproductive sciences unit in Edinburgh, said the effect of fluctuations in testosterone levels are wide reaching, spanning beyond the popular connotations of sexual functioning.
A lack of testosterone can make a man’s energy levels decrease, said Dr Lincoln, making some men increasingly moody and depressive.
While Dr Lincoln’s research focused on male sheep, a species that has very distinctive annual sexual seasons, he believes the same effects are found in humans. “The best example is to look at men who receive hormone replacement because they produce insufficient levels of testosterone. When they stop their treatment, or are given a placebo, the irritable symptoms become very pronounced,” he said.
The research proves men and women’s moods react in the same way to fluctuations in their hormones. Women’s hormonal moods have been more traditionally recognised because of their monthly and life cycles, the source of most fluctuations.
Dr Lincoln said the research in animals proves that stress is the biggest external influence over the sex hormones. “If there is a stressful situation at work, or a person has been in an accident, or an emotional situation, or has been taking drugs, hormone levels can fluctuate. These fluctuations are far more profound than we tend to realise.
“While PMT, menopausal, and post-baby blues are all recognized as withdrawal hormone states, men have not had the same recognition.”
Dr Lincoln went on to say that once the chemistry of male hormones is better understood, it would be more likely that a treatment could be developed. But for now, he said: “I think the important thing is to recognise the phenomena, then we can think about treatment”.
Men’s Mood Swings
February 1, 2006 Share Tweet Flip 0 Shares
Page 1 of 2 Have you ever felt as though you weren’t sure how you felt? That your emotions were cloudy and you were oscillating between happiness and sadness, anger or contempt? Have you ever had to apologize to someone for blurting out profanities and unintentionally hurting them?
Sounds like a case of your gal’s PMS? Not so. Welcome to the world of guys’ emotional ups and downs. That’s right, we’re emotional creatures too.
women are not alone
There is a certain unfounded myth circulating that women are the only ones who are allowed to have mood swings. Many doctors, scientists and sociologists will disagree, however (and yes, many of them are men too), because it has been scientifically proven that changes in men’s hormonal balance can also result in physiological changes, which eventually result in psychological changes.
As the physiology of men starts to transform (i.e. puberty or midlife crisis), so do their minds. Increases or decreases of certain chemicals in the body start having significant effects on a man’s emotions.
Then why do women get the bad rap? That’s because a woman’s hormonal imbalance during PMS and menopause is much more acute than a man’s. Huge drops and elevations of estrogen and other chemicals in a woman’s body create great emotional imbalances as well. And these can last for days or even weeks. However, a man’s mood swings are a little less dramatic and usually last only a few hours or a day, depending on how much testosterone has decreased.
We should not, however, confuse long-term depression with mood swings. These are two completely different things. Depression can come about by many external factors such as physical trauma, the death of a loved one, losing a job, etc…. whereas mood swings are brought on solely by the inner workings of our bodies and the intricate chemical reactions happening in our brains.
Find out whether you’re too emotional…