02 Oct Mental Health and Hormones
Over recent years, there has been a steep rise in mental health awareness, and it is now widely recognised that a significant percentage of the UK population have – or have had – a mental health condition at one time or another.
Menopause and Mental Health
When it comes to menopause and other hormone related conditions, it is often the physical health symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats and hot flushes that are discussed widely. This is interesting because in my experience as a psychiatrist and hormone specialist, it is often the mental health aspects of hormonal balances that are more debilitating for patients. From low mood, self-esteem and confidence to anxiety, irritability, poor concentration, memory, and brain fog, it is these aspects that are most troubling for men and women and significantly impact on quality of life, including work and relationships with friends and family.
Psychiatry and Hormones – the missing link
Over the years, while seeing patients, it has come to my attention that there has been a missing link between the field of psychiatry and hormonal health. Many of the symptoms that psychiatric patients typically present with may be hormone related but because of a lack of awareness, Hormone Replacement Therapy and hormone balance are not considered as a course of treatment. That needs to change.
Antidepressants are not the only option
With the steady rise in awareness of both hormone related conditions and mental health, now is the time to bridge the gap. For too long, GPs and psychiatrists have been prescribing antidepressants as the dominant treatment option for patients presenting with mental health symptoms and conditions including anxiety and low mood.
There is now another option, and it requires patients and practitioners to open their eyes to alternative treatments to antidepressants.
Compounded BHRT for Mental Health Conditions & Symptoms
I have observed that the characteristic features of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders are almost identical to the mental health symptoms experienced by men and women with hormone imbalances. When it comes to treatment, I have learnt that patients are far happier to be prescribed Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) rather than antidepressants viewing it as a more natural approach and it often negates the need for antidepressants.
In the field of psychiatry, no individual is the same and every patient responds differently to treatment. In my experience, the same applies to hormone related conditions and which is why compounded BHRT (cBHRT) is my preferred treatment option. The nature of cBHRT means that the patient can be treated with doses that are bespoke and tailored to their needs and what they feel comfortable with. Starting with a low dose allows me to see how the patient responds over time and then I adjust the dose accordingly.