Depressed or Anxious? Check Your Thyroid!

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues in Australia, and they can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. While it is important to seek professional help for these conditions, it is also important to consider other potential causes of these symptoms. One such potential cause is an underlying thyroid condition.

What is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. The thyroid also plays a role in brain development and mental health.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, depression, and anxiety.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including anxiety, weight loss, and irritability.

How is Thyroid Disease Diagnosed?

Thyroid disease is typically diagnosed through a physical examination and blood tests. The physical examination will involve checking the size and shape of the thyroid gland. Blood tests will measure the levels of thyroid hormones in the body.

What are the Treatment Options for Thyroid Disease?

The treatment for thyroid disease will depend on the type and severity of the condition. Treatment options may include medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery.

What are the Risks of Untreated Thyroid Disease?

If left untreated, thyroid disease can lead to a range of complications, including heart disease, infertility, osteoporosis, and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Conclusion

Thyroid disease is a common condition that can have a significant impact on mental health. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, it is important to consider the possibility of an underlying thyroid condition. If you suspect that you may have a thyroid condition, it is important to seek medical advice. Treatment options are available and can help to improve your quality of life.

FAQs

What is the relationship between depression and anxiety and thyroid health?

Depression and anxiety can be caused by an imbalance of hormones, including those produced by the thyroid. An underactive or overactive thyroid can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

What are the symptoms of an underactive or overactive thyroid?

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) include fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiety, dry skin and hair, constipation, and feeling cold. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) include weight loss, anxiety, palpitations, irritability, and sweating.

What should I do if I think my thyroid is causing my depression or anxiety?

If you suspect that your thyroid is causing your depression or anxiety, it is important to consult a doctor. Your doctor can perform a physical exam, blood tests, and other tests to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly. Treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes, or other therapies.


References


1. Bunevicius, R., Zalinkevicius, R., & Prange, A. J. (1999). Effects of thyroxine as adjunctive therapy in depression: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(5), 758–764. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.156.5.758


2. Wartofsky, L. (2005). The clinical importance of subtle thyroid dysfunction. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 90(2), 571–579. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2004-1232


3. Haggerty, J. J., Gorman, J. M., & Coplan, J. D. (1998). Thyroid hormones, serotonin, and mood: Of synergy and significance in the adult brain. Biological Psychiatry, 44(12), 1271–1280. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3223(98)00233-X