Hormones and Mental Health: How Are They Related?

Jenna Hilton
February 29, 2024

Every aspect of our health – mental, physical, and emotional – is regulated by hormones. These molecules carry instructions to all cells to perform their role and support the smooth functioning of our bodies. Any hormonal disruption in this intricate web of finely tuned operations can lead to symptoms of deteriorating health.

This article explores how hormones and mental health relate to one another, which hormonal imbalances can trigger mental disorders, and how to restore emotional and psychological stability.  

How are hormones and mental health related?

Can Your Hormones Affect Your Mental Health?

Hormonal activity is pivotal in regulating our mood and mental health. Hormones naturally fluctuate depending on the time of day, month, life period, or external factors. Some of these natural oscillations are:

  • Testosterone dropping at the end of the day and peaking in the morning.
  • Estrogen rising and falling during the menstrual cycle.
  • Cortisol rising in response to discomforting events.
  • Ghrelin rising and falling in response to food intake, etc.
How does ghrelin affect mental health?

These fluctuations are normal and temporary. However, a long-term and intense hormonal imbalance can lead to a decline in our health, including the following mental disorders:

What Hormones Affect Your Mental Health?

The following hormones are usually associated with mental health. They often interact with and cause other hormonal imbalances rather than acting as isolated factors that degrade our wellbeing.


The adrenal glands release cortisol as a natural response to a challenge or threat. While cortisol spikes help us deal with short-term exposure to stress, chronically heightened cortisol can lead to various health problems. It disrupts serotonin and dopamine balance, impairing cognitive function, mood, and sleep patterns.

Individual responses to stress and elevated cortisol vary, so not everyone develops the same mental issues when exposed to chronic stress.

Note: Learn more about how stress and hormones are related.

How does cortisol affect mental health?


The primary catecholamines are adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine. Like cortisol, they are released in stressful situations to enhance people’s alertness and focus during the “fight or flight” response.

Excessive adrenaline and noradrenaline release can heighten feelings of restlessness and irritability, exacerbating anxiety, panic attacks, and other existing mental problems. Low levels of these hormones may lead to depression and fatigue.

Dopamine also acts as a “reward” hormone, increasing happiness and motivation when we accomplish something. Too much dopamine can lead to insomnia, difficulty controlling impulses, and aggression, while not enough dopamine may cause mood swings, lack of motivation, and memory and concentration problems.

Sex Hormones

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are primarily responsible for our reproductive health, but they have various roles, including mood management and neuroprotection. This is how fluctuations in sex hormone levels can act on our emotions and psychology:

  • Estrogen – Estrogen-related mood changes and mental problems usually occur in women around puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, causing depression, brain fog, sleep problems, and menopausal symptoms (e.g., hormonal sweating perpetuating insomnia, fatigue, and other mental problems).
  • Progesterone – Healthy progesterone levels induce calmness and relaxation. Progesterone’s activity is closely tied to estrogen, and its imbalance is often accompanied by estrogen fluctuations, causing anxiety, irritability, or depression.
  • Testosterone – Testosterone levels correlate with our mood stability, energy, and cognitive skills. Testosterone levels that are too high or too low are linked to depression, extreme tiredness, irritability, ADHD, and anxiety disorders.

Note: Learn more about the correlation between low testosterone levels and fatigue.


Known as the sleep hormone, melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Disruptions in melatonin levels directly affect sleep, and, indirectly, mood and brain health. Many mental disorders are related to sleep deprivation, including the loss of cognitive abilities, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and more.

How does melatonin affect mental health?


Ghrelin is mainly responsible for controlling appetite and stimulating growth hormone release. Early research suggests it may also indirectly affect mental health by modulating serotonin and dopamine levels, exhibiting antidepressant properties.


Like ghrelin, leptin has not been extensively studied for its role in mental health. Its primary function is to regulate hunger and energy balance. However, limited research demonstrates it may regulate mood and emotions, and insufficient leptin levels have been found to exacerbate depressive behavior.


Known as the love hormone, oxytocin promotes positive states, including relaxation, social connection, psychological stability, and sexual arousal. Low levels of oxytocin are associated with depressive symptoms, anxiety, and addiction.  

How does oxytocin affect mental health?


Vasopressin’s key role is to regulate the water balance and blood pressure, but increasing evidence suggests it may act with oxytocin to regulate emotional behavior and specific cognitive processes. Research shows that stress-induced vasopressin and oxytocin imbalance may impair cognitive skills and cause depression, schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder.

How to Regulate Hormones and Improve Your Mental Health?

Deteriorating mental health usually results from several complex factors. To ensure proper treatment, patients need to see a medical professional to determine the physiological causes of their symptoms.

Hormonal imbalances and related symptoms usually require a mix of strategies, including:

Hormone Therapy

In case of a diagnosed sex hormone imbalance, doctors often prescribe hormone replacement therapy. The treatment involves taking testosterone, estrogen, or progesterone to restore hormonal balance. Patients often report an improvement in their psychological wellbeing.

Hormone therapy helps regulate hormones and improves mental health.

Note: Our medical experts offer hormone therapy to men and women whose symptoms make their everyday lives difficult. For more information on how hormone therapy works, check out our guides on:


Psychotherapy helps patients deal with trauma, stress, and other common hormonal imbalance triggers. It gives patients the tools to overcome the emotional and psychological factors affecting their sleep, eating patterns, ability to relax, and other hormone-disrupting behaviors.

Regular Exercise

Numerous studies and patient experience demonstrate the impressive potential of regular physical activity in promoting overall health. Just 30 minutes of daily exercise that increases the heart rate can raise oxytocin and serotonin levels, reduce cortisol and adrenalin, improve energy and motivation, and induce positive feelings.

Balanced Diet

A diet high in sugars and processed foods lacks essential nutrients, interfering with healthy cellular processes and disrupting hormonal activity. To balance hormones, ensure your meals mainly consist of nutrient-dense foods – leafy greens, legumes, fruits, lean meat, non-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin deficiencies commonly trigger hormonal imbalances. Talk to your medical provider to determine if a lack of a certain vitamin is affecting your mental wellbeing. They may recommend taking a B complex or vitamin D, as these vitamin deficiencies are known to cause mood-related symptoms.

Vibrant B supplement for mental health.

Note: For more information on which vitamins and supplements may exhibit hormone-balancing and mood-boosting benefits, refer to our guides:

IV Therapy

IV therapy is a popular treatment for an instant vitamin infusion and energy boost. Some patients report feeling relaxed, calm, uplifted, and more focused after the treatment. Regular sessions may help restore hormonal balance and relieve some of the more severe symptoms of mood disorders.

More Sleep

Disrupted sleep patterns and hormonal imbalances perpetuate one another and often lead to more severe mental problems. To break the cycle, try improving your sleeping conditions by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, eliminating distractions before bed (TV, cell phone, etc.), and ensuring the bedroom is dark, silent, and cool.  

Stress Relief

Chronic stress is one of the main triggers of mental problems. Introduce the following activities to relax and reduce cortisol levels:

  • Massage
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Meditation
  • Walks in nature
  • Laughter
  • Social interaction

Can Mental Health Affect Your Hormones?

Hormonal imbalances often trigger mental problems, but it also works the other way around. For example, stressful situations increase cortisol production, eventually leading to anxiety. Anxiety heightens the feelings of worry and fear, contributing to elevated cortisol release.

Depression, anxiety, and mood disorders correlate with many hormonal imbalances. Longer periods in these states can play havoc with levels of serotonin, dopamine, sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and others.


Hormones regulate almost every physiological process in our bodies. Long-term fluctuations in hormonal levels can trigger various symptoms, both physical and mental. It is vital to employ various strategies for maintaining hormonal balance and preventing mild, passing symptoms from becoming persistent mental struggles.

If you need medical help restoring hormonal balance and a positive mental attitude, contact our friendly medical team at Vibrant Vitality Clinic.

Jenna Hilton
Jenna Hilton has been a practicing PA since 2009, specializing in Family, Internal Medicine and Medical Aesthetics. She attended Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree and graduated magna cum laude. She received her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University.

Jenna has been injecting neurotoxin and dermal filler since 2013. She received certification as a Master Injector in 2017 through Empire Medical in Los Angeles, California. She is currently working on a Fellowship Program in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Her special interests include use of PLLA, Ablative/Non ablative skin resurfacing, PDO threads, hormone therapy and nutritional therapies to improve cellular regeneration and medically supervised weight loss.

Jenna Hilton believes in a multi-factorial approach, considering internal factors that accelerate aging and disease development. She always enjoys teaching. She co-founded Vibrant EDU courses at Vibrant Skin Bar and regularly performs one-on-one training with fellow injectors. She teaches Aesthetic and Advanced Injectable Courses at National Laser Institute. She has been named Preceptor of the Year and is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Midwestern University. She was born in Iowa, and lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, AZ.

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