Guest Author - Colleen Forgus
Two symptoms associated with thyroid disorders are anxiety and depression. More specifically, anxiety is thought to be symptomatic of too much thyroid hormone in the system, while depression is linked to too little thyroid hormone. However, since thyroid hormones fluctuate, whether a person is suffering from hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Graves disease or Hashimotos is not as important as simply recognizing the connection with any thyroid disorder and mental health.
Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
Feelings of unease, apprehension or impending doom
Anticipating the worst
Irritability and tension
Inability to concentrate or sit quietly
Physical symptoms of anxiety include:
Muscle tension and tremors
Fatigue and insomnia
Feeling dizzy or short of breath
Emotional symptoms of depression include:
Feeling sad, lost or empty
Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Inability to concentrate
Forgetfulness and inability to make decisions
Feeling irritable or restless
Physical symptoms of depression include:
Insomnia or excessive sleeping
Loss of appetite or excessive eating
Aches, cramps or pains throughout the body
Loss of libido
Symptoms of anxiety and depression can overlap. Anyone who is suffering with anxiety and/or depression should consider the thyroid connection. Fortunately some doctors and psychiatrists are now considering thyroid function prior to dosing patients with psychiatric medications. This is progress for sure, but unfortunately not all doctors are making the connection.
If a thyroid disorder is the underlying cause of anxiety or depression, no amount of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drugs are going to rectify the problems. This can be a vicious cycle for the person suffering from anxiety and/or depression. Patients are left feeling frustrated and alone when medications dont eliminate the problems, medications are changed, or alternative therapies and stress reduction steps fail. In fact, no form of treatment will help unless the thyroid disorder is addressed and properly treated.
Fortunately, there is help! If you or someone you know is suffering from long-term anxiety and/or depression, consult with your physician to have your thyroid function tested. When the proper thyroid medication is prescribed, often the anxiety and depression symptoms are relieved. The effect may not be immediate, but with a little time and the correct medication, the patient will feel the clouds clearing.
I continue to emphasis the importance of listening to your body, educating yourself and searching for the doctor who will work with you as a teammate.
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