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Thyroid Disease and Mental Health Connection May Surprise You

By HERWriter
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Thyroid Disease and Mental Health Connection Is Surprising MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Thyroid disease can mess with your mind. It can manifest as an assortment of mental disorders, can leave you sleep-deprived, and can lay waste to your energy levels and cognitive abilities. Overt hypothyroidism can be linked with anxiety, depression, mania and other psychiatric disorders. Severe hyperthyroidism may trigger delirium.

Autonomic dysfunction, hyperactivity and tension are just a few of the symptoms that can be brought on by hypothyroidism. They may seem to be emotionally triggered but they are in fact brought on by problems with the endocrine system.

When hyperthyroidism is untreated for an extended time, depression can be the result due to exhausted noradrenergic transmission (depletion of norepinephrine). This type of exhaustion can happen to hyperthyroid patients who have bipolar disorder.

Overactivity of the adrenergic system — pertaining to adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine) — plays a key role in the mental symptoms that appear with hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism has a different effect on mental function. Cognition decreases, the ability to think becomes slower, as does motor ability. Tiredness and sleepiness increase. Subclinical hypothyroidism can affect mood, increasing incidence of bipolar episodes, and higher risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Thyroid hormone replacement of T4 and often T3 corrects most mental symptoms, though it does not work in every case. Proper treatment of the condition, though, should cause mental symptoms to disappear.

Symptoms of thyroid disease can look like mental or psychological dysfunction, or menopause. Why menopause? Because many women will suffer from symptoms like cognitive dysfunction (brain fog), emotional extremes, anxiety and depresssion.

When the wrong diagnosis is being pursued, the patient is doomed to experience worsening symptoms of thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism is often missed or misdiagnosed. It's not unusual for women to be diagnosed instead with reproductive health problems that they don't have, or that are not the source of the problem but are instead symptoms.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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