40 Signs Your Hormones Are Impacting Your Mental Health


Did you know that hormonal fluctuations are one of the biggest factors that lead to troubles with cognitive function and mood disorders? It’s true. When the levels of hormones that impact your brain (neurohormones) are too high or too low, your brain function and/or mood often are affected as well.

What’s more, the signs of neurohormonal imbalance can look a lot like the signs of mental health conditions and brain disorders. It’s entirely possible to be treated for depression when the underlying problem is a neurohormonal imbalance. It’s important to discern the difference.

Hormonal fluctuations are one of the biggest factors that lead to troubles with cognitive function and mood disorders. Click To Tweet

Here, you’ll learn the signs of imbalances of four important neurohormones: thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol.


Similar to how the nervous system uses neurotransmitters to send and receive chemical signals or messages, the endocrine system uses hormones as chemical messengers to control and regulate activity in certain cells or organs—including the brain.

Neurohormones are produced by endocrine glands and tissue in the body and they travel via the bloodstream to the brain where they influence activity. The communication is bidirectional. The brain also sends out messages that instruct your body’s glands to create and release certain hormones.

When your neurohormones are in balance, they are truly like Miracle-Gro for the brain. Your brain function and memory are sharp, and your mood is stable. But when your neurohormones are off, you can experience pronounced changes in the way you think, feel, and behave. This can have a profound impact on your life experience.

Physiologically, neurohormone imbalances can increase your risk of mental health conditions, as well as Alzheimer’s and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.  There are many causes of neurohormonal imbalances. The most common factors include stress, diet, age, environment, and lifestyle.


Your thyroid, the small butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck below your Adam’s apple, governs your body’s energy production. The thyroid has a major influence on the brain. It controls the production of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, which all play a role in your mood.

When you have an underactive thyroid, your body produces too little of the thyroid hormones your body needs (hypothyroidism). When your thyroid is overactive, it produces too much of them (hyperthyroidism). Either condition can impact your cognitive function and mental health in a big way

Typically, too little thyroid hormone can make you feel sluggish like you want to spend the day in bed and retreat. When your body has too much thyroid hormone, it speeds everything up. You may feel edgy and jittery like you’ve had too many cups of coffee.

Signs Thyroid Problems May Be Affecting Your Mental Health

Hypothyroid Symptoms

  1. Low mood – depression and fatigue
  2. Difficulty concentrating and holding attention – brain fog
  3. Problems with memory
  4. Anxious feelings
  5. Psychosis – paranoid thinking, such as not being able to discern reality from fantasy

Hyperthyroid Symptoms

  1. Sleeplessness, restlessness, irritability – like you’re revved up
  2. Racing thoughts, sometimes mania
  3. Trouble with memory and concentration
  4. Anxious feelings/and or depression
  5. Psychosis – paranoid thinking, such as not being able to discern reality from fantasy


Estrogen is well-known to be a major player in modulating a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and moods. When it comes to brain function and mental well-being, estrogen influences the production of mood neurotransmitters serotonin, GABA, and dopamine.

It also influences glutamate production, which is important for several cognitive functions. Additionally, estrogen modulates hippocampal activity. The hippocampus plays an important role in maintaining healthy mood and memory.

Having healthy, balanced levels of estrogen is important for optimizing the production of these neurotransmitters and brain function. Having balanced estrogen levels helps a woman maintain a consistent, even mood throughout the month. Trouble happens when levels are too high or too low in relation to progesterone.

Too much estrogen (relative to progesterone) can lead to estrogen dominance. With estrogen dominance, instead of a gentle fluctuation of monthly hormonal rise and fall, an individual instead may experience pronounced and dramatic spikes and drop-offs.

These dramatic hormonal changes disturb brain processes, which can result in feelings of anxiousness and irritability. Estrogen dominance can also make an individual very bossy!

When there’s too little estrogen, a woman may feel brain foggy and depressed. Cognitive functions are hindered by low estrogen too. The drop in estrogen associated with perimenopause and menopause can cause dramatic changes to cognitive and mental health.

Although estrogen imbalances are much more present in women, they can also occur in men. Men have small amounts of estrogen, but these symptoms can appear if their estrogen levels get too high or low. This rarely happens except as a result of weight gain, stress, medication, or medical procedures.

Signs an Estrogen Imbalance May Be Affecting Your Mental Health

Estrogen Dominance

  1. Depression, noticeable mood swings, bossiness
  2. Brain fog, trouble with memory
  3. Fatigue, sluggish metabolism, and low libido
  4. Sleep disturbances
  5. Headaches, migraines

Low Estrogen

  1. Depression, weepiness, mood shifts
  2. Fatigue
  3. Brain fog, trouble with memory and focus
  4. Sleep disturbance
  5. Hot flashes


Testosterone plays a big role in mood, motivation, and more. Imbalances are predominantly common in men. However, women have testosterone as well, but in smaller amounts, which can also run high or low.

Testosterone is key to the development of the male brain and is the reason men have deeper voices, facial hair, larger muscles, and many other characteristics we associate with maleness. Testosterone levels reach their highest in a man’s late teens and stay high throughout their 20s. But starting in their 30s, they gradually decline.

Brain health is associated with optimal levels of testosterone. It plays an important role in protecting the nervous system and helps to protect against cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression in both men and women.

Lower testosterone levels are associated with an increase in symptoms of anxiety and low mood. When testosterone levels run too high, people may experience lowered empathy and a higher sex drive.

Signs a Testosterone Imbalance May Be Affecting Your Mental Health

Low Testosterone

  1. Depression, anxiety, or moodiness
  2. Difficulty with concentration
  3. Feeling low or no motivation
  4. Trouble sleeping
  5. Fatigue

High Testosterone

  1. Lack of empathy
  2. High sex drive
  3. Irritability
  4. Brain fog
  5. Psychosis – paranoid thinking, such as not being able to discern reality from fantasy


Cortisol is a well-known stress hormone. When your body encounters a stressor or danger—real or imagined—a number of stress hormones are released by the adrenal glands, including cortisol.

The hormones go to work to prepare you for “flight or fight”—signaling your body to tense muscles, quicken breath, and increase blood pressure. After the stressor or threat has passed, your body’s processes return to normal, and hormone levels drop to a healthy level.

However, in our modern world of constant work stress, money problems, packed schedules, and fear and uncertainty about the future, stress hormones often remain elevated. Constant high levels of cortisol can cause problems for your brain and body.

High cortisol levels cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin. This produces some unhealthy shifts in the brain. Chronic stress impacts the brain by increasing more white matter and producing fewer neurons (gray matter) than usual. This throws off their balance and interferes with communication signals within the brain.

Additionally, the levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin can drop, which can cause a range of mental health issues. Elevated stress hormones ultimately can lead to the development of conditions such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

Indeed, research shows that early exposure to stress and trauma in childhood is associated with an increased risk of anxiety-based mental health conditions later in life. Research has also found that long-term exposure to cortisol contributes to depression and its symptoms.

For people who have mood disorders, increased cortisol levels from chronic stress tend to make their mood conditions worse. Unrelenting stress and high cortisol levels can also lead to adrenal fatigue.

Signs a Cortisol Imbalance May Be Affecting Your Mental Health

Elevated Cortisol

  1. Depression, anxiety, or worsened mood disorder
  2. Low threshold for stress
  3. Lack of motivation
  4. Fatigue in the morning and afternoon, reduced stamina
  5. Brain fog
  6. Trouble with concentration and memory
  7. Dizziness when getting up
  8. Forgetfulness

Low Cortisol

  1. Feeling irritable
  2. Feeling depressed and apathetic


Here’s the good news: You can support healthy levels of neurohormones by avoiding the things that disrupt their balance such as a high-sugar diet, head trauma, and environmental toxins. If you recognize any of these signs listed in yourself or a loved one, be sure to have your hormone levels tested and take steps to optimize them. It will be beneficial not only for your physical health but also for your mental health.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalances and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. Hello there,

    I live in Germany and am very interested in your work.
    Do you also have a network or contact in Germany?
    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Reha Horn — November 1, 2023 @ 2:43 AM

  2. Interesting—–I am going to print this out and read it carefully- I have often wondered about thyroid fluctuations…..

    Comment by Michael F. Shaughnessy — November 1, 2023 @ 8:21 AM

  3. Great informative article! I wish doctors would be more thorough when evaluating your health. Myself, and other family members feel like they really don’t care, and are just left with chronic issues to deal with , with no professional medical help. Thank you again!

    Comment by Janice — November 1, 2023 @ 8:41 AM

  4. very interesting, now I know why my daughter in law display's, those traces, she has the Hashimoto Thyroid
    very sad as my son is a relationship with a person with that condition.

    Comment by Rocio Armendariz — November 1, 2023 @ 9:23 AM

  5. If I feel like I might need to have these tests do I go to my Internist and tell them I want these blood tests?

    Comment by SUSAN DAVIS — November 1, 2023 @ 9:38 AM

  6. Just connecting the problems to hormones doesn't talk about the genetic complications that cause physical and/or emotional issues on top of nutritional deficiencies. I can't go back and relive my life so please get psychiatrists more updated on the finer details of MTHFR genetic variants vs. not. Regular MDs and psychologists as well. It would help the staff and patients in mental health situations to fine-tune helpful nutrition and supplements. I had read about a teenage girl stuck in a mental health unit without details that she should have had with her or helpful information from her parents about her own MTHFR complications. The experts that are book-trained are not always on track with the individual patients, but more of a social circle. I'm glad to see there being more IFM MDs getting involved in mental health matters, but that's a major job if it is a newly-trained IFM practitioner. Just doing a better health history and life homework makes a difference.

    Comment by Elinor Nosker — November 1, 2023 @ 6:52 PM

  7. Thank you for the information. In the meantime can Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Phil McGraw team up to get hospitals to do genetic testing sooner rather than later when there are undiagnosed health problems? Get the awareness into the medical schools as well. Less mental health problems from MTHFR at least would be good. Getting youngsters started on methyl-folate and methyl-B12 or other helpful supplements earlier in life than 68 y.o. would have had its advantages vs. a life of MTHFR-related physical and/or emotional health problems.

    Comment by Elinor Nosker — November 1, 2023 @ 6:59 PM

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