Depression, irritability, outbursts… women tend to put these on the account of fluctuations in hormonal mood swings. Limited to women? Not really. For stress, men may be victims of their hormones. The syndrome of irritable man.
Why stressed men become irritable, cranky or emotional at melt into tears? And well, these mood swings may be linked to the collapse of the male hormone: testosterone.
Soft as a lamb?
Les hormones des hommes Some animals exhibit changes in mood and behaviour related to the seasonal fluctuations of the male hormone. The University of Edinburgh scientists have studied first the conduct of some sheep. In the fall, their level of testosterone explodes during the rut period and falls in winter. Period during which the sheep lose interest in sex.
The results are contrary to received ideas. While testosterone is generally linked to aggressive behaviour, the animals were more likely to injure each other outside the breeding season. By focusing his attention on the behaviour of eight male sheep, Dr. Lincoln noted that the number of conflicts was inversely correlated with the rate of testosterone. In the winter, the animals become nervous, anti-social and attack irrationally.
Later, this same “the irritable male syndrome” was observed on deer, sheep, reindeer and Indian elephants at the end of the breeding season.
Human: slave of his testosterone?
Even if the man may be a little silly, extrapolation of these cattle behaviour isn’t a little fast? The head of the study admits himself the weakness of the evidence. However, several studies demonstrate the effect of testosterone on male psychological disorders.
Men with an insufficient testosterone production become irritable and depressed, as soon as they stop hormone replacement therapy. In the same way, the resumption of replacing testosterone quickly improves their mood.
In May 2000, researchers at Harvard University2 thus compared testosterone levels in HIV-positive men who had undergone weight loss related to HIV/AIDS. Although that limited to a certain type of population, this study found that men who had low levels of testosterone were more likely to suffer from depression. Finally, depressed men receiving regular injections of testosterone realized an improvement in their mood.
But there are more disorders of mood (dysthimie) the major depressions that appear to be directly related to the rate of testosterone. Thus, a recent study found that dysthimiques men had lower than rates of testosterone victims of recurrent major depression or free of any negative thinking3.
Stress and hormones: the enemy brothers
Unlike the premenstrual syndrome linked to ovarian cycle of women, hormonal fluctuations would be attached to traumatic experiences such as bereavement, divorce or serious illness. Numerous animal studies have already highlighted the link “stress and testosterone” but very few humans.