T Nation

Manic-Depression and Hormones

Considering that I am a diagnosed manic-depressive, I know a bit about the disorder. Now that I am learning about androgens, I have noticed that high androgen levels produce a manic feeling, whereas low androgen levels produce a depressed feeling. Now, I know that you T-mag experts are not psychiatrists, but could manic-depressive illness be caused by abnormal fluctuation of androgen levels? I have noticed that my manic and depressed phases occur every year at the same time. During late summer I begin to feel depressed, by October my mood begins to elevate, and by January I begin to have manic symptoms. I recently did an androsol cycle during my depressed phase, and it brought me out of the depression within hours, and within days I was experiencing some mild manic symptoms. Of course, I was taking my antimanic medication, or else the androgen might have caused an episode of psychotic mania. Unmedicated manic-depressives should avoid any and all steroid hormones.
Anyway, the thing I find interesting is that the DSM-III diagnostic criteria for mania is virtually identical to an androgenic high. Below is the criteria for mania:

  1. inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  2. decreased need for sleep. e.g., feels rested after only three hours of sleep.
  3. more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  4. flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing.
  5. distractibility, i.e, attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli.
  6. increase in goal directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation.
  7. excessive involvement in pleasurable activities which have a high potential for painful consequences, e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments.

Another interesting thing is that full blown manic-depression usually does not appear until puberty. It would seem that the disorder is either caused by abnormal hormone levels, or is simply aggravated by hormones. It is also interesting to note that in normal individuals, excessive androgen use can cause a psychotic reaction known as Acute Intermittent Porphyria. Hence, you might want to have some antipsychotic and antimanic drugs on hand next to your Clomid if you’re a heavy steroid user. Does anyone have any additional knowledge about the role hormones play in mental illness?

Last year I had the misfortune of having mild depression misdiagnosed as ADD. The combination of time-released stimulants and SRI inhibitors caused me to experience a three month period of manic depression. I feel for you, as it is truly a terrible state of mind to be in.
From my limited knowledge, I’d guess that anything effecting neurotransmitters (such as stimulants)would play the most direct role in mood regulation. Androgens do strongly effect your dopamine, seritonin and nor-epinephrine levels though. The seasonal nature of depression can be linked to decreased exposure to the sun (SAD) and heavy academic schedules. The scientific stuff being said, I’ll just throw out the fact that my sleep and mood showed improvement when I took ZMA. Once I kicked taking ripped fuel (when taken with dexadrine, very bad combination), I also felt better. The whole experience left me very disenfranchised with the concept of psychiatric medicine.