Testosterone, says the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), is an important sex hormone produced in the male body; women produce a very small amount too. Medical treatments for a variety of ailments require testosterone, and the hormone is also often abused.
A potent hormone, testosterone has equally powerful effects on your mood. The many effects of testosterone on the brain produce a variety of feelings that should be carefully examined before you begin taking the drug.
The NIA defines testosterone as a hormone with a certain type of chemical that has powerful effects on how men's bodies work, and how they develop. It is termed both androgenic (responsible for male characteristics such as hair growth and voice changes) and anabolic (potentiating protein synthesis and thereby increasing muscle mass).
Produced by the testes, testosterone is responsible for the onset of puberty; levels of the hormone peak in early adulthood, gradually declining as men age. Often, people require medical treatment with testosterone, and the hormone's unique features can have profound effects -- both positive and negative -- on the way you feel.
There are many side effects of taking testosterone -- whether medically or illegally -- that people often find desirable. Some of these are endorsed by physicians, while others are treated with caution by the medical community.
Testosterone treatment can cause an increase in libido, particularly in older men. It can also make you feel stronger, more energized, and improve your mood. The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that many who take testosterone report that they feel good about themselves while taking the potent androgenic-anabolic steroid. However, testosterone can cause euphoric feelings of invincibility, which may lead to impaired judgment and risky behavior.
Testosterone may not always feel like a magic bullet for life's problems. The feelings testosterone engenders can pose problems to you, your loved ones and those around you.
Feeling aggressive is a common side effect of testosterone. Mood swings can range from manic euphoria to extreme paranoia, NIDA says. Taking testosterone may induce Increased jealousy, delusions and severe irritability.
Mental Health Issues
Like any substance that strongly affects the way you feel, testosterone poses a threat to mental health, especially with long-term use. The severity of these problems depends on how long you've been taking testosterone, and how much you've been taking.
A little-known fact, reports NIDA, is that testosterone is addictive. It produces chemical changes in the brain, and the brain becomes used to them. When you abruptly stop taking testosterone, your body stops producing its natural testosterone for a while, and as a result, you may go into withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include depression, lack of energy and suicidal thoughts, among others.
It is important to learn about how testosterone makes you feel before deciding to take it medicinally. It is such a powerful hormone, it can have you feeling invincible and energized one minute, aggressive and irritated the next.
Obtaining testosterone legally from a doctor is the only safe way to take the hormone. Street versions of testosterone are unregulated and can be corrupted, impure, or something else entirely.
If you are undergoing testosterone treatment, and are concerned or have questions about the way it makes you feel, talk to your doctor. Feelings arising from hormonal changes in the body require an expert -- sometimes even an endocrinologist (hormone doctor) -- to understand and, if necessary, correct.