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Posted by Kori Wallace on Friday, 14 July 2017

Mental Health & Hormonal Imbalance in Game of Thrones

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It may be summer outside, but for many of us winter is coming in July this year. Finally, this is the weekend when the new season of Game of Thrones arrives!

The richly twisted story makes you love to hate the Lannisters, and root for the Starks and Targaryen (or is it Targaryens?). And while I'm counting down the days, I can’t help but recount my careful dissections from the end of last season.

With months between seasons to analyze and ponder, we at ZRT became concerned for all of the Game of Thrones characters’ mental health and hormonal imbalance. In their defense, these individuals are living in a world torn apart by war and horror, and they probably don’t have access to quality mental health care or diagnostic testing. But, if they did . . .

  • Cersei Lannister – some call her narcissistic, but Cersei commanded reluctant admiration in the beginning of the show. As her life progressed, however, we became genuinely concerned about her mental health. Clearly transitioning into perimenopause, Cersei must have been suffering from severe PMDD her whole life and is now entering a new chapter of rollercoaster hormones in the early menopausal transition. Consumed by a pathological desire for power and status, she doesn’t spend enough time working with her body to address imminent changes. Someone needs to remind her that a little BHRT might go a long way.  Precautions with physiological levels of progesterone supplementation, however, ought to be communicated to her – with a history of PMDD she might just have SNPs in the GABA A receptor rendering her sensitive to physiological progesterone levels. Perhaps trying a higher dose may just do the trick for this self-absorbed queen?
  • Poor Jon Snow, always in a borderline melancholic depressive state. Predisposed to sadness right from the get-go with Stark DNA, Jon Snow’s depressive moods worsened since heading North where nights are even darker. Could it be seasonal affective disorder (SAD), with little to no vitamin D to lift his moods and improve his serotonin levels, contributing to his worsening disposition? Or it could also be that virtually his entire family was killed and his home destroyed? Perhaps a vacation to Dorne or vitamin D supplementation may alleviate at least some of the seasonal moodiness. 
  • Sandor Clegane AKA "The Hound" shows a lot of signs of PTSD. Easily triggered into rage, Sandor is anxious, depressed and prone to emotional outbursts. Maintaining hyper-vigilance while at the same time falling victim to intrusive thoughts, Sandor probably suffers from the textbook case of PTSD-induced HPA axis dysfunction. Adrenal adaptogens may help stabilize the diurnal rhythms of stress hormones cortisol, cortisone, norepinephrine and epinephrine, if only he’d be willing to assess his diurnal hormones.
  • Daenerys Targaryen – despite living in exile, having been sold by a psychotic brother, and watching her husband die, Daenerys is surprisingly well adjusted. Of all the characters, she may be inevitably forceful but not mentally ill. Being a woman, however, she’s shielded from an overload of unbridled aggression from the “warrior gene” – which her father and brother seemingly carried. It’s likely that she’s balanced with enough dopamine to give her assertiveness and the drive to conquer, but protects her from the exaggerated hostility that plagued the men in her family. 

What will happen to our characters in this new season? Questions left unanswered abound, such as: Will Arya and her wolf Nymeria ever reunite? What about Ned's friend Howland Reed – will he appear this season? How about Brienne and Tormund?

No matter what, I hope no more of the "good guys" are ruthlessly killed off. Whatever this season brings, I will no doubt devour every second anyway and then go right back to "The Game of Hurry Up and Wait for Next Season."

What hormonal or mental health challenges have you noted in your favorite characters? Feel free to chime in with comments. 

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Tagged in: Mental Health HPA Axis PMS/PMDD SAD