Thyroid, Depression and Mental Health

By | January 26, 2010

Thyroid Depression and Mental Health

It’s a common scenario for hypothyroid patients, especially when you are undiagnosed due to your doctor’s over-reliance on a faulty TSH range, or treated with thyroxine T4-only medications: You go to the doctor; you complain about your depression, or your anxiety, or your emotional swings, or your inability to concentrate, and onto your doctor’s favorite anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, lithium, or bi-polar med you go—beginning with the freebies on the shelf from his friendly and suited pharmaceutical rep. Sound familiar??

But the problem with this scenario is that your depression or anxiety or other mental health problem is not a unique and unrelated illness. It’s most likely due to having a low free T3, the active thyroid hormone, and/or adrenal insufficiency. And this is especially common for patients treated with Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltoxine, Levothyroxine and other T4-only medications.

And this problem is not limited to depression. Low thyroid hormones, and the common occurrence of sluggish, poorly functioning adrenals, can play a role in a variety of emotional and behavioral symptoms and disturbances, including anxiety, excessive fear, mood swings like bi-polar, rage, irritability, paranoid schizophrenia, confusion, dementia, obsessive/compulsive disorders, and mental aberrations.

So if your physician or psychiatrist failed to check your thyroid function with the correct lab tests (free T3 and free T4, plus antibodies), and your adrenal function with a 24 hour adrenal saliva test, and instead prescribed his or her favorite band-aid psychotrophic medication, you are left with medications that can include unneeded fluoride, that can clash with your other meds, that can make your hypothyroid worse, or can leave you with classic side effects…besides the cost.

… Thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4, as the storage hormone) and triiodothyronine (T3, as the converted and direct active hormone) not only play a part in the health of your metabolic endocrine, nervous and immune system, they in turn have an important role in the health and optimal functioning of your brain, including your cognitive function, mood, ability to concentrate, memory, attention span, and emotions. On her website, Christiane Northrup, MD states that T3 “is actually a bona fide neurotransmitter that regulates the action of serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is important for quelling anxiety.” She also states that “If you don’t have enough T3, or if its action is blocked, an entire cascade of neurotransmitter abnormalities may ensue and can lead to mood and energy changes, including depression.” …

He feels that up to one-half of depression is due to unrecognized hypothyroidism….

In addition to low T3 levels causing psychiatric and psychological disorders, low cortisol levels can be an additional culprit—even when you feel you are adequately treated for your thyroid. …

What’s the solution?

If you recognize any of the mental health issues mentioned above–or even have friends or family members who have been trying to point these out to you—find a doctor who will test your free T3, plus antibodies. If you find your free T3 below mid-range, or if you have an autoimmune attack going on against your thyroid (which will make labs useless since you vascillate between hypo and hyper), you need to discuss the addition of Cytomel (synthetic T3) to your current thyroxine medication. There is a growing body of doctors and researchers who are using T3 as an adjunct to anti-depressive therapy, since improving your T3 levels can raise brain levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine to the optimal level they need to be.

Even better, according the experience of many, is switching to desiccated thyroid, which gives you the entire complement your own thyroid would be giving you—T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin.via Stop The Thyroid Madness » Thyroid, Depression and Mental Health.

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