Allen Lawrence, M.A., M.D., Ph.D.
Advanced Wellness Medical
Anxiety, Depression, Testosterone, Estrogen and Fitness Training
A very common issue when dealing with human’s is anxiety and depression. Many fitness trainers have asked me over the years, “How do I deal with my client’s anxiety (or depression)?” The answer is nearly always the same, that is, until we actually deal with helping the client. Listen to what they have to say, don’t get involved. Be a friend, not a therapist.
Don’t get involved!! The anxiety and/or depression your client brings along with them likely goes back many weeks or years, very commonly from their childhood. Unless you are trained to deal with anxiety or depression you most likely will not be able to help them. On the other hand, be a friend. Let them talk about what they are anxious or depressed about, if they wish, but don’t feel obligated that you have to help them or save them for if you do, you will likely draw yourself into their problems and this generally turns out to be a one-way street, a street you go down and neither of you end up anywhere good. If you do get involved and your client can’t solve his/her conflict, then they will be disappointed and they may blame you for bring it up, making them think and not having a solution to their problem. A lose, lose situation.
Stress is always caused by one or more unresolved conflicts. Stress symptoms are intelligent communications from the individual’s body to their mind, letting them know they have one or more unresolved conflicts their body-mind wants them to solve. If they know or can find the conflict and can solve it the stress will go away. If they either don’t know, can’t find, don’t understand, aren’t willing to deal with, can’t get to the conflict(s) or can’t find a solution the process will persists and chronic stress eventually occurs. If enough time passes, or their body-mind really wants a solution, then over time their body will transform the changes stress makes withing the body into one or more acute illnesses. If these conflicts are left unresolved, these acute illnesses can and often will eventually morph into recurrent and persistent illnesses, and then, eventually they will transform into one or more chronic illnesses or diseases. The stage of any chronic illness, can tell us some to a great degree how much tissue and organ damage or injury has taken place. By the time this illness process has reached to state of chronic state, there is already irreversible damage to the tissues and organs involved. Once the chronic stage is allowed to occur it is merely a matter of time until one or more disabilities or premature death also occurs
A second important fact fitness trainers should be aware of is that chronic stress, especially when it is to a significant degree or involves a significant part of the client’s day and life, it will end up lowering their testosterone and/or estrogen production leading to LowT, LowE or a testosterone or estrogen deficiency. You may already be aware of this as we have discussed it in other white papers. It is often noted as a gradual onset of fatigue, loss of strength, increasing depression, anxiety, weight gain, central obesity, cholesterol going up, and a host of other indicator that their testosterone level is falling or in men, that their estradiol level is rising even though their testosterone level is falling. In women both estrogen and testosterone levels will fall.
Whenever stress exists, you, as their fitness trainer, will likely be working harder, and you may end up feeling stressed, confused, helpless and frustrated. This is where you must now (as you always have) act in the most professional manner possible (unless you are trained to deal with stress) your job is to help them get help. Refer them for stress counseling if they will go. Help them get their hormones balanced and under control, if their hormones are out of balance, rebalancing is essential to helping them think clearly and solve problems. Low or deficient testosterone and estrogen act to muddle the mind, an actual fact. You can help them get testing of their hormone levels and checked by a professional who knows what they are doing with hormone replacement and/or anxiety-depression treatment. Warning, this person, a professional, should not be your family doctor nor the client’s family doctor, it should instead be a Functional Medicine Specialist, someone who has a great deal of experience treating and managing fitness clients, athletes and hormone deficiencies. If your client needs help with their anxiety or depression, you could help them look for a competent therapist who actually knows what he or she is doing. If you simply continue training them and do not deal with the indications of decreasing or imbalanced hormones, depression or anxiety, then you may facilitate chronic illness, the possibility of disability and their premature death. Yes, these may well occur long after they have left being your client. however,
if at the time you work with them, they show indications of problems, your timely action can potentially save them from lots of long-term negative consequences from their anxiety, depression and hormonal imbalance and/or hormonal deficiency.
Hormones Are Also Affected by Exercise
While exercise increases dopamine production in the brain and this decreases stress, even depression. In the short run there will be no harm being done by continuing exercise. However, exercise on its own generally does not deal with nor resolve the clients unresolved conflict(s) the issues that are causing your clients stress or depression, hence, your client will still need to help to dealt with their problems, this is best done by a professional who is trained to do this.
If your client suffers signs and/or symptoms of hormonal deficiency they should be referred to a competent Functional Medicine practitioner. Someone who specializes in HRT/TRT not a general practitioner, family practitioner, or an internist. These practitioners generally know very little about HRT/TRT and make many mistakes. Thy generally know very little or nothing about hormone therapy, how to interpret hormone testing, evaluating or treating anxiety or depression, except by starting them on anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications which simply coverup your clients signs and symptoms and leave them on the path to acute and chronic illnesses or diseases, disability and again, premature death.
For more information on Anxiety Depression and hormone replacement therapy or to set up a consultation for yourself or a client, contact Advanced Wellness Medical by calling 626.365.1084 or e-mail your questions or search for information to info@AdvancedWellnessMedical.com