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How is depression linked to thyroid removal?

By Anonymous September 20, 2012 - 2:33pm
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My Mother-In-Law had her thyroid removed a year ago. Immediately after, she complained of severe back pain and fatigue. Now, a year has passed and her condition has not only not improved, it has become such a serious issue that she recently attempted suicide (thankfully without success). But let me back up to the beginning... She is no longer having back pain (that only lasted a few weeks), but she is having many other symptoms that have grown worse throughout the course of a year. She is always tired, and she sleeps 12-16 hours a day. She was once a very active person and has become so much a hermet that she does not leave the house to even let the dog out. When the family forces her to leave to take a walk or go to dinner, it tires her so much that we often have to cut the outting short. She has lost around 30 lbs (and only weighed about 130 to begin with). She looks so frail, that i'm afraid to hug her when I see her. She has lost all motivation for living, and she sometimes refuses to see her sons. She know longer sees or talks to any of her once close friends. She doesn't answer the phone when my husband calls - she use to call him 3 times a day. She has stopped brushing her hair, putting on makeup, getting dressed and even taking regular baths. She gets out of bed only to use the restroom and when someone makes her come eat. I have tried to hold my tounge when it comes to her healthcare, so I do not know all the medications they have tried but I do know they have tried a variety of cocktails. I just know her depression is somehow linked to her thyroid being removed, but the family and doctors don't seem to put any weight on that. I just can't fathom that it's a coincidence, maybe not completely the cause but it had to have at least triggered her depression. I know that everyone is different, and I know they have tried so many different medications and nothing seems to help. One of them made helped her out of bed, but she only to pace anxiously around the house, sit back down, get up and pace around again, and do it all over again all day. That honestly was scarier than her sleeping all day. Most recently, the doctors have tried taking her off of her medications alltogether, and a week or so later, she attempted suicide. Thank God, she is fine. I know this disease is hard to understand, but there has to be some sort of relief. Something that can help. I have such a mix of emotions, i'm confused, and sad and scared and MAD. And I know my husband is too. It would really help to know what questions to ask the doctors...what questions to ask her family...it's hard to help when I am so confused about what's wrong! I'm so desperate to make her better, please help me! How can you make someone want to live?

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EmpowHER Guest

I had my thyroid removed two years ago. I am constantly tired, no matter what I do. I even switched to dessicated thyroid medication -and that didnt help either. I sometimes want to cry but feel dead inside. I know exactly what this woman is going through. You feel alone and misunderstood. It is extremely difficult to relate to healthy people (people with normal thyroid) ... I hope that she doesnt give up. I find relaxing activities really help. Maybe buy her a sketch book and some pencil crayons. To keep her mind off of things. It helps me. <3

ps. I have also, since my surgery, started having back and joint pain. If you didn't know, synthroid actually promotes muscle and bone deterioration. That could be a cause for pain. My tyroid wasn't cancerous, just overgrowing and at the time of my surgery extremely hyper.

September 23, 2016 - 5:15pm

Hello Anonymous,

My heart goes out to you and your family. Depression can steal the person you once knew and love from you. You cannot make a person want to live, if she has lost the will to live. This is crushing, frustrating and maddening.

In my search to find some information for you, I can upon the Cancer Survivors Network, part of the American Cancer Society.
The page title is Depression after thyroidectomy
Here is the link:http://csn.cancer.org/node/155809

My first thought, which is addressed in Summer76's post, is regarding synthetic thyroid hormone replacement. Has your mother-in-law been receiving levothyroxine following surgery?

My second thought is a question actually. Why was the surgery performed? If cancer is the reason, that may be the underlying cause of the depression. Most of us, if not all of us, who have been diagnosed with and battle cancer, experience depression.

I hope in some small way, I have offered you some help.


September 20, 2012 - 4:04pm
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