We’ve all woken up from dreams (nightmares?) where we were uncomfortable, things were out of our control, naked. Not all the time, of course, but on occasion. Stress usually causes these anxiety-filled dreams. The world can be stressful, so these can be expected. We’re not really going to be talking about that kind of anxiety. We’re talking about the clinical version of anxiety, which can be on its own or be a symptom of a bigger (solvable) problem that is having a hormonal imbalance.
So, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here. This type of anxiety is an intense, excessive and persistent worry for seemingly no reason all the time. These sudden “attacks” come from nowhere and don’t go away any time soon. Fear of these episodes leads them to alter their lifestyle, refuse to do things in anticipation of potential anxiety. They start shutting themselves away, avoiding places or people they fear might trigger an attack. It’s not a good way to live. Fortunately, there is a way to treat this kind of anxiety. First, it’s crucial that you know you are not alone. Roughly 40 million people deal with anxiety in the United States.
But what if it’s a part of a bigger picture. Now, we’re sure you’ve all read our previous post on What Happens When Your Hormones Are Out Of Balance, right? Our bodies are finely tuned machines. And like other machines, when something isn’t working right, problems start popping up in every part of the machine, sooner or later. As the imbalance worsens, so do the problems. So, when you experience one symptom, it’s important to get that looked at before a cascade happens.
Hormones are sort of the messengers of the body. They can affect mood. Tell us when we’re hungry, regulate behavior. Determine when we sleep and how well we sleep. Growing up, they help shape the bodies we have, spurring muscle growth. They let us know when we’re hungry or more importantly, need food. Our internal thermometer is regulated by hormones. And maybe most importantly, without hormones, we have no sex drive, no need to reproduce.
Before going any further (and maybe needlessly scaring you), our hormones are always in a state of flux, within boundaries, depending on the needs of the body. When we’re scared, the body produces more adrenaline to help you escape whatever it is that scares you. And when you calm down, the hormones adjust accordingly.
Sometimes, however, they’re out of whack in response to an ailment. Diabetes, Hyper & Hypo-Thyroidism, Anorexia, Allergic Reactions are just a handful of medical problems that could be plaguing a person. It can even be a symptom of cancer in the glands. Treating the symptom might be leaving you wide open to something more serious.
A good way to look at hormones is to imagine them as ingredients in a recipe. Too much of any one item will spoil the final product. It will still look like a cake. You won’t know anything is wrong until you taste it. But unlike a cake, you can fix an imbalance in the body, instead of having to live with it. Not to be repetitive, but a healthier diet and regular exercise are crucial to a healthy body.
And while anxiety is a symptom of imbalanced hormones, the converse is true as well. Stress brought on by an imbalance can lead to high levels of anxiety. Being anxious will cause the body to compensate with corresponding hormones. The more stress related anxiety you have, the more the body wants to even things out with hormones. The body can’t tell the difference between an impending deadline and the threat of physical attack. So, it responds to everything as if it were the latter, which is obviously not good when we’re dealing with an unhappy boss (although, maybe the boss will kill you. We don’t know what job you have. But probably not).
So, what happens is a chicken and the egg situation or an ouroboros, where a snake eats its own tail. The two problems feed off each other, making you feel worse and worse. And that’s no way to live!
While both men and women can suffer from an imbalance of hormones, there are far more opportunities for women than there are for men and that’s due to biology. Pregnancy causes hormones to go wild or even the potential for pregnancy, for the few days a month a woman can get pregnant. Less respectful people have colorful terms for women during these times, which we won’t repeat. Post-partum depression comes from a hormonal imbalance after giving birth and menopause also brings a flood of hormones dealing with the changes in an older woman’s body.
Whether you have a hormonal imbalance or suffer from anxiety, it’s crucial to know what is making you feel the way you do. You don’t have to guess either. A simple blood test can determine the status of your hormone levels. It’s a quick, easy and affordable process that will give you a direction in what you should do next to feel better!