Did you know that there are a a number of symptoms associated with thyroid disorders that overlap, or even mimic symptoms of mental illness? Depression is commonly seen with a hypothyroidism picture but can still be present in patients suffering from hyperthyroidism as well. Thyroid conditions are usually gradual in nature and do not always present themselves with an enlarged thyroid. Family history is also important - if you have any family history of thyroid disorders, it should be considered a suspect in the exacerbation, or even the cause of depression.
Overlapping symptoms between thyroid disorders and depression:
- Emotional lability
- Sleep disturbances
- Appetite disturbances
- Weight changes
- Memory difficulties
- Flat affect
- Loss of interest in daily activities or hobbies
So what can be done? As with anything in naturopathic medicine, finding the root cause is of utmost importance in order to properly resolve the concern. A great first step is to get a simple blood test done to check thyroid hormone levels, including a full thyroid panel and thyroid autoimmune markers.
Thyroid concerns can be caused by a number of different mechanisms, from gut bacterial overgrowth and leaky gut syndrome to high stress and other hormonal irregularities to environmental toxicity exposures. The work-up is certainly thorough in determining the root cause of thyroid and any related mental health concerns.
While thyroid medications may be an option for some, dietary alterations, balancing of other hormones in the body, evidence-based herbal and nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes can go a long way to make the thyroid a lot happier!