Can Testosterone Treat Depression?

Depression is really just your body’s way of screaming something is wrong.

If you have ever dealt with depression, then you know what a struggle it can be to get out of it. Just having one good day is an incredible milestone. When you’re so desperate to feel good (or feel anything) options you may not have considered before become tantalizing. When I heard recently of instances where testosterone has been used to successfully treat depression, my ears perked up.

There are different types of depression. There are many different reasons why someone might be depressed. There may not even be a reason, at least not an obvious one. But I like to think of it like this:

Depression is really just your body’s way of screaming SOMETHING IS WRONG.

What if, for some people, that ‘thing’ happens to be low testosterone?

When you really delve into how large a role hormone balances play in our overall health, it stands to reason that low testosterone could lead to this result. In fact, one of the main symptoms of of low testosterone is depressed mood, and some other symptoms that could look like, well, depression including:

In my search for further anecdotal evidence, I came across this article by Jon Nelson in which he talks about his journey with depression, and how he began taking testosterone illegally to treat it.

While you could judge his actions on the basis of their morality, there is no arguing the outcome: it worked for him.

Anecdotal evidence aside, what does science say? One study on middle aged men with similar depression and testosterone levels showed that between a control and treatment group (the group receiving testosterone), the treatment group showed significant improvement in their depressive symptoms.

There is also a meta-analysis that was dedicated to compiling evidence from controlled clinical trials in order to analyze the effect that introducing testosterone has on mood. The meta-analysis concluded that exogenous testosterone helped improve symptoms of depression in men, especially so when the depression was mild but long lasting, rather than severe and acute.

Further evidence on this subject is really lacking for women, probably because of the risks introducing too much testosterone into a woman’s body can pose. When done incorrectly, there are potentially life-altering side effects.

Or, possibly, this area of research is still now, and so has yet to be explored specifically with women.

I’m not advocating that anyone begin taking testosterone, legally or illegally, to treat your depression. However, it could be a valid avenue to explore with your doctor if you’ve been struggling with depression and have yet to find answers.

Writer, Blogger, Dog Mom. BA Psych, Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Real talk about Mental Health and Holistic Wellness.

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