Testosterone and depression


Most people think - when they hear the word 'testosterone' - of hooligans or thugs. There are many prejudices in our society against the masculinity hormone, but according to the article 'Testosterone - the underestimated hormone' published in 'Spektrum der Wissenschaft', these are increasingly proving to be untrue.

It is well known that testosterone promotes muscle growth. What is less well known is that high testosterone levels are sometimes associated with altruistic and fair-minded behaviour. An Interview with the german newspaper ‹Zeit› with Prof. Jun. Dr. Esther Diekhof, human biologist and neurologist at the University of Hamburg, reveals that men with high testosterone levels are more likely to act in the interest of their group - they thus behave like true 'alpha animals' - born leaders!

It may be true that men who have a lot of testosterone in their blood appear dominant. But who says that's a bad thing? Amy Cuddy explains in her viral Tedtalk about 'power posing' and effective body language that dominance doesn't have to mean aggression. On the contrary, those who feel they can rise to the occasion - high testosterone levels go hand in hand with increased self-confidence, with a winner's mentality - don't need to become aggressive in the first place. 

Suppressed anger is a common cause of depression; could increased testosterone levels therefore also be an effective means of preventing depression? If you don't get what you want, you will feel frustrated and depressed over time. But if you get what you want - because you feel confident and strong - you have no reason to complain. You can hit the ground running!

I don't believe that increasing testosterone levels through regular exercise, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet alone is enough to get rid of real depression. But it can certainly be one more building block, one more health resource as part of a long-term strategy in the sense of salutogenesis!

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