I have thought about your question for awhile. I'm not sure a hormone imbalance could worsen the effects of a mental illness, so check with your doctor or psychiatrist about that.
I do know that having a chemical imbalance, that is, schizophrenia, in my case heightened other things, like my premenstrual symptoms and moods on the first and second day of my period. When I had my period and was not taking my psych meds, I had a much worse time of it.
Also, when a person is under stress, the stress could affect any number of things in his life, including I suspect biochemistry. For example, some people grind their teeth at night, and this worsens with stress.
I'll research this more fully and get back to you if I find anything else.
Hormone imbalance does exasperate the symptoms of mental illness.
For instance, there is a strong link between estrogen and mental illness. Low estrogen, for example, can induce schizophrenic symptoms such as hallucinations, disorganized thinking, delusions, depression, poverty of speech, inability to experience pleasure and lack of motivation. There are positive studies reporting reduced psychopathological symptoms due to the increase/balancing of estrogen such as through an estrogen patch. (Wellshere.com is one source of info on that.)
It is also known that the hormone oxytocin relieves the suffering associated with social, anxiety and mood disorders including schizophrenia by actually changing brain signals. Balancing this hormone allows increased processing of emotional stimuli and the ability to better interact and communicate socially.
Another example is the reports on the hormone insulin to cause remission in mood disorders.
Systemic hormonal imbalance is also known to cause a drop in blood sugar, which blocks the use of the hormone progesterone replacing it with an adrenalin rush in the limbic system. The limbic system controls the brain's responses to: aggression, rage, violence, panic, anxiety, sleep, depression, learning function, hormones and immune response.
There can also be a correlation between hypothyroidism and mental illness. Although, hypothyroidism can mimic symptoms of mental illness, if a person has mental illness AND a hormonal imbalance in the thyroid, the underlying thyroid issue must first be treated before psychiatric symptoms can be alleviated. Symptomology of mental illness vastly improves after treating the thyroid if a person suffers from both thyroid and mental imbalance.
MY TWO CENTS: Researching all this for yourself is encouraged. Testing the glands that produce hormones, such as adrenals, is encouraged. Seeking out a sympathetic practitioner to work with is encouraged. In my experience, working with a Naturopath has been invaluable to rectified core issues that were only suppressing symptoms allopathically. Everything has its place. So this is NOT a suggestion to stop current treatment, if any, nor is it a knock against anything... it is encouragement to keep seeking until you find what works for you. There is hope. There is a way. I have been VERY successful. I was previously unable to function as a normal member in society, was unable to work, was on handfuls of meds daily and was tormented by my debilitating disorders. For over 5 years now I have successfully been off meds entirely and living a bountiful, meaningful and productive life full of peace and joy. I attribute all of my success to meditation; it healed me in a myriad of ways including leading me to other healing modalities that worked in adjunct to my allopathic therapies and then replaced them altogether. Note, I have only experienced a handful of minor and fleeting flare-ups over the last five years. Interestingly enough, they stemmed from hormonal imbalance and were easily corrected. (!) Hope this helps. :)
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