Does Testosterone Make You Angry?
- Testosterone and mood are indeed linked
- Your testosterone levels can affect your mood if they’re too high or too low
- TRT, when overseen by a clinical physician, doesn’t cause anger levels to spike
- If you are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, you should test your T levels and consult a physician.
Testosterone and aggression go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or do they?
The stereotype of the aggressive, macho male can be seen everywhere, from movies to Little League games to the local gym. As a casual observer, you may be tempted to chalk up any hostile or competitive behavior to high amounts of testosterone, but there’s more to the story.
Here’s the truth about whether testosterone affects your mood and emotions, specifically anger.
The Role of Testosterone in the Body
As the primary sex hormone in men, testosterone has many important jobs. It plays a central role in regulating the male reproductive system, your sex drive and is responsible for your “manly” characteristics, such as facial hair, deep voice, testes and penis growth and development, and muscle size (1).
Testosterone also impacts your body’s ability to store and burn fat, create red blood cells, and keep your mood steady.
You need the proper amount of testosterone to keep all these functions running smoothly. If your T gets too low or too high, it can mess with your fertility, weight, and even your mood (1,2).
The Connection Between Testosterone and Mood
Let’s be crystal clear: testosterone has an effect on your mood (1). As with most hormones, it’s about finding the right balance: You want just enough testosterone to keep up with your bodily functions, but not so much that it overshadows the work of other hormones.
“It’s just like if you took too much of the thyroid hormones,” says Nick Dahl, D.O., a physician who works with Hone Health. “You would be irritable and overly energetic to the point where you’re not functional in society.”
Whether you get more or less T than you need, you’ll probably see mood changes.
Can Testosterone Cause Aggression?
Guys who abuse exogenous anabolic steroids (human-made versions of testosterone) to boost muscle mass and athletic performance have been known to get aggressive from time to time (you’ve definitely heard the term “‘roid rage”).
However, it’s tough to tell if the high amounts of testosterone are the culprit. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it’s possible that steroid users share personality traits that make them more likely to become aggressive (3).
Additionally, anabolic steroid users are more likely to misuse other substances such as alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and cocaine which can have effects on an individual’s mood.
The findings from a Psychoneuroendocrinology study that gave high doses of steroids to a small group of men suggest that other hormonal changes may be the cause of aggression (4).
Researchers found that increases in the thyroid hormone thyroxine, not testosterone, were linked to anger. Increases in testosterone were actually associated with forgetfulness and poor concentration (4).
Interestingly, many men also turn irritable when their testosterone levels fall below normal. The clinical term for low testosterone is male hypogonadism, and common side effects include mood changes and may include depression, hypomania and anxiety (5). A change in mood is called andropause, though it’s commonly referred to as “male menopause.”
Because testosterone helps regulate your mood, “you can fall in one direction where your testosterone is too low, so you’re irritable and cranky,” Dahl says. “You can also fall in the other direction, where your testosterone is too high and you’re irritable and cranky.”
Can Testosterone Cause Anxiety?
The jury is still out on whether testosterone causes anxiety.
Research suggests that sex hormones, such as testosterone, affect brain development and organization during puberty. For guys, these changes are thought to create high levels of anxiety (6). However, most of the research has been done on rodents, and the findings have been inconsistent.
Ultimately, we can’t really say that T makes you anxious, though fluctuations in testosterone levels have been linked to depression. In fact, depression is a potential side effect of low T (5). And while depression and anxiety are different conditions, they commonly occur together (7). So, if your low T has you feeling blue, you may see an uptick in your anxiety, too.
- Your T levels need to be in balance for your mood to feel stable.
- Anger and testosterone are more associated with exogenous anabolic steroid abuse, not TRT
- Low T causes many negative symptoms including poor moods
- Testosterone and anxiety’s link has still yet to be proven
How to Test Your Testosterone Levels
Depression, poor concentration, anxious feelings and changes in mood may signal that your hormones may be above or below normal limits. If you’re often sad and tired, or you’re constantly irritated by things that wouldn’t normally bother you, it may be worthwhile to check your T levels.
Hone’s at-home hormone assessment makes it easy. You can do a blood test from the comfort of home and send it to an accredited lab for analysis. You then get a video consultation with a doctor to discuss your results, who can prescribe FDA-approved medications that are sent to your home.
What’s Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Low T?
If your results show that you have testosterone deficiency (TD) or low T, your doctor may recommend boosting your natural levels with a therapeutic dose of testosterone or adopting specific lifestyle changes that can increase your testosterone levels. This course of treatment is commonly called testosterone replacement therapy or TRT, and it can help relieve your mood issues.
You can score additional testosterone by using skin gels and patches, tablets, or injections. Your clinician will help you determine the best method for you and customize your dosage to ensure you get maximum benefits with minimal side effects.
It’s important that you only use TRT as part of a doctor-prescribed treatment plan for male hypogonadism. Don’t try to increase your testosterone on your own with supplements, such as prohormones (a type of steroid) or herbal supplements. These DIY options have not been proven effective and, in some cases, have been proven to have harmful effects.
The Bottom Line
- To understand the relationship between your mood and your testosterone, you should check your T levels
- TRT, when prescribed by a doctor, doesn’t lead to anger issues
- Don’t resort to other forms of testosterone as they may cause harmful side effects