Your thyroid gland creates and regulates various hormones which can affect your weight, mood and energy levels and can also be a cause of depression. There are different thyroid conditions and it is possible to misdiagnose depression as a thyroid disorder if you are not careful.
If the thyroid creates too much hormone, the gland becomes bigger than normal. As a conclusion, your body will use energy quicker than it should. This leads to an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of this condition include: weight loss, problems sleeping, nervousness, irritated eyes or sight problems, tremors or weak muscles and difficulty coping with hot weather.
If this gland doesn’t make enough hormones, your body won’t use energy at the speed it is supposed to, so you will have an underactive thyroid (also called hypothyroidism.) Symptoms include: fatigue, dry skin and hair, a hoarse voice, weight gain, difficulty handling cold weather, forgetfulness, heavy periods for women and a larger thyroid gland.
Some of the symptoms are also indicative of depression. Your doctor should do several blood tests in order to see what levels of hormones your body is making. The tests include the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). As a general rule, women are much more likely to suffer from thyroid problems in comparison with men.
Thyroid disorders can occur for various reasons including: side effects of specific drugs, an iodine deficiency, thyroiditis (an inflamed thyroid gland that hinders the amount of the hormone that’s produced), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an immune system disease that is genetic) and postpartum thyroiditis, which can happen in around 5…10% of pregnant women. This last scenario is usually temporary.
It is a well known fact women are more likely than men to have depression caused by hormones, as well as thyroid problems, because of their biological makeup. They are also more emotional overall, especially when pregnant and after giving birth, so are more susceptible to bouts of depression.
Research shows that people who have depression are in a higher risk category for hypothyroidism and vice versa. The untreated problems can become worse as the time passes, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience one or more of the symptoms above.
Depression isn’t the only mental health disorder that people can get if they have thyroid problems, especially with low hormone levels. Other medical conditions can include: dementia, bipolar disorders, mood swings, paranoid schizophrenia, OCD, excessive fear for no apparent reason, anxiety, irritability, confusion and mental aberrations.
If you have an underactive thyroid, you can take a simple daily pill to replace the hormones not being produced. There would normally be some experimentation with doses at first, in order to determine the right level for your specific imbalance. Not enough hormones can cause high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol, while too much hormone can cause bone loss, cardiac problems and osteoporosis.
If you have any unexplained symptoms, you must consult your doctor and get tested. You can’t get treated if you don’t know what’s wrong with you. Thyroid problems and mental disorders can quickly become serious issues if they are not diagnosed and treated.