Anxiety and Hormones
As part of this series of posts on mental health and hormones, we take a close look into the condition of anxiety. Like depressive disorders (depression) that we covered in our previous post, anxiety is a very common mental health condition in the UK.
Many of the symptoms that patients with anxiety typically present can be hormone related but up until recently, because of a lack of awareness, HRT and hormone balance not considered as a course of treatment.
What is Anxiety?
According to the ICD 10 Classification of mental and Behavioural Disorders, which is used by psychiatrists to diagnose depressive disorders, an anxiety disorder is a period of at least six months with prominent tension, worry, and feelings of apprehension, about everyday events and problems.
Anxiety symptoms are very common in the general population of the UK and can affect any individual at any time. Symptoms can range from those of mild tension and apprehension to the more severe where they may begin to interfere with the day to day lives of the individual. In these more severe cases, an anxiety disorder may be diagnosed by a healthcare practitioner.
Anxiety can be experienced in lots of different ways and there are many types of anxiety disorders. Some of the most well-known include Generalised anxiety disorders (GAD), Panic disorders, Social anxiety and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but they can take many forms.
The Role of Hormones in Anxiety
When it comes to the role of hormones and anxiety, scientific evidence suggests that women are far more likely than men to suffer from anxiety disorders.
At the Hormone Clinic, we closely monitor female patients' levels of anxiety change as they go through key life stages. These stages include pre-menstrual, post-natal, perimenopause and menopause when the hormones of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA can be in a state of flux. For male patients, we monitor levels of anxiety and observe how they change with age as testosterone declines steadily and progressively with age and becomes noticeable from the age of 40 onwards.
What are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?
There are many common symptoms that a patient may experience with anxiety, and these can include feeling nervous, restless or tense, sweating, trembling, having an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, palpitations or experiencing trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.
Reaching a diagnosis of an Anxiety Disorder
As with the condition of depression, when a patient who is presenting with symptoms of anxiety, we start with a thorough history and mental state examination in a 45-minute Initial consultation. This consultation provides the opportunity to discuss the patient's medical and mental health history as well as explore in detail the symptoms of anxiety that they may be experiencing.
Treatment of Anxiety
At The Hormone Clinic, treatment for anxiety disorders will firstly start with the aim of balancing a patient's hormones.
The relevant blood tests will be recommended to measure the levels of progesterone, oestrogen, testosterone and DHEA, alongside a thorough history and mental state examination as highlighted above.
Following these tests and examinations, if the patient is deemed to require a course of bioidentical hormones (BHRT), these will be prescribed in the 1st Follow-up consultation. This will typically take place about 10 days after the Initial consultation once the blood test results are available.
Also, in this 1st Follow-up consultation, we will also discuss what vitamins and supplements may be needed to support the patient’s hormones alongside other lifestyle factors including regular exercise and monitoring levels of alcohol and caffeine.
Aftercare and Anxiety
During the first year as a patient at the Hormone Clinic, the patient will have frequent opportunities to meet the doctor and discuss their progress. A second Follow-up consultation will usually take place about 6 weeks after the first Follow-up and provides the doctor the opportunity to talk through general health and symptoms and adjust the doses of hormones if required.
Typically, a significant improvement in your health is expected after a period of approximately 3 months.
Book an Appointment
If you are concerned about your mental health and think you might be experiencing an anxiety disorder, The Hormone Clinic is here to help. Start by booking a free 15-min discovery call with our medical secretary and we can start you on the road to restoring your health and quality of life.