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Can thyroid disease CAUSE bipolar disorder/mood swings?
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Can thyroid disease CAUSE bipolar disorder/mood swings?

Can thyroid disease/dysfunction CAUSE bipolar disorder/mood swings? Or is it just that a high percentage of people with bipolar depression have thyroid dysfunction of some kind?

I don't THINK that Bipolar can cause thyroid problems (unless being treated with Lithium), but can it happen the other way around?

I have just found out I have Bipolar II with mixed states, rapid cycling. I am also in the process of getting thyroid tests, no results yet. Wanted to know if a thyroid problem could be the blame and not my crazy brain.
Thanxs for listening and would appreciate any input. I don't know much about this yet. Thanxs,
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158939_tn?1274918797
I don't know which one is the chicken and which one is the egg. My daughter and sister were/are both diagnosed bipolar and their symptoms have decreased following thyroidectomies (for cancer/precancer) and synthroid treatment.  Not sure on my sister but I noticed personality problems with my daughter from birth (controlling, screaming all the time, inability to form friendships, destructive behavior, rapid cycling moods, etc.).  

My daughter had large nodules found with an ultrasound and because all of my sister's an I had our thyroids removed for cancer (only 1 precancerous), we elected to have hers removed too.  There were never indications of thyroid problems and we ran labs on her for months before the surgery - NEVER an abnormal thyroid reading.

My family has a history of both psychological disorders (schizophrenia, clinical depression, and bipolar) and thyroid disorders.  However, our thyroid disorders have been primarily cancer (mother has a goiter - probably  mostly cancer and sister had Hashimoto's along with her cancer).

There are links between all sorts of things associated with the thyroid.  Maybe someday they will find out some bipolar conditions may be an autoimmune response (like thyroid problems) but I don't even know if anyone is researching the link.

Do some research on bipolar disorder.  It's never fun to have an ominous label slapped on you without knowing everything involved.  

Now my motherly advice:  if you are anything like my daughter was, take a very deep breath, be calm, and focus.  You need to keep your thoughts from running away with you and from imagining the worst possible outcomes.  There is lots of support here!  No one is going to let you go through this alone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thyroid conditioned can exasperate existing mental problems or even mimic mental illness.
Thyroid problem, both underactive and overactive, can cause mood swings.(OH Boy! can they!)  An overactive thyroid may exhibit marked anxiety and tension, emotional liability, impatience and irritability, distractible overactivity, exaggerated sensitivity to noise, and fluctuating depression with sadness and problems with sleep and the appetite. In extreme cases, they may appear schizophrenic, losing touch with reality and becoming delirious or hallucinating. However the most common effect of an overactive thyroid is anxiety.
An underactive thyroid can lead to progressive loss of interest and initiative, slowing of mental processes, poor memory for recent events, fading of the personality's color and vivacity, general intellectual deterioration, depression with a paranoid flavor, and eventually, if not checked, to dementia and permanent harmful effects on the brain. In instances of each condition, some persons have been wrongly diagnosed, hospitalized for months, and treated unsuccessfully for psychosis.
Among us who have Graves' Disease refer to "Graves' Rage",  committed acts that might seem violent or out of character
(OH Boy!). Screaming, throwing dishes, or assaulting someone.  "Graves' rage" is describe as inappropriate feelings of anger (OH Yes!), frequently followed by an impulsive destructive response to this anger (Not proud, but, OH  Yes!) The medical literature states that patients with Graves' disease are likely to experience emotional problems, including nervousness, irritability, anxiety, depression, and emotional liability, characterized by mood swings. Sudden crying for no apparent reason and overreacting are also common. (Yes! Yes! Yes! to all the above) Many patients report feeling edgy and irritable one minute, and normal the next. The literature also states that before hyperthyroidism was recognized as a disease, many patients with Graves' disease spent their days in asylums.

That is why I take Lorazepam when I feel the need coming on.
With time it gets better, I'm getting better, the ugly monster is slowly disappearing. :):):)

Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was dx in May with Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism...there is no doubt in my mind that thyroid conditions can cause mood and mental problems.  I was experiencing symptoms of paranoia (and mood swings) for months until my meds brought my TSH levels down.  I now see how much I over-reacted to things in the past.  Now I am back to my normal self (I only take Synthroid).  I honestly thought I was going crazy and I didn't want to tell the doctor about it.  I was just hoping it was thyroid-related and would correct itself w/ meds.  It did.
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Hi, I am a new/old person female-54.  I am in the pits of dispare and I have no where else to turn.  This is my last stop.

I have several Doctors that I see regularly, a headDoc for Bipolar and and ENDO for Graves and my GYN who never looks UP far enough to see if I am "crazy" or not but ultimately he has been the one to DX me over the years with serious Thyroid issues.  I guess because he doesn't see me ALL THE TIME and he noticed right away that I had lost 45 lbs <grin>.

No matter I almost died with Graves symptoms by the time I was dx'd  and have been on Tapazole for two years with success.  My ENDO against her best bishes has worked with me on medication and my thyroid finally responded and we (the Doc and I) are jumping for joy.  This is what we have wanted.  For me to be Euthroid without RAI!  BINGO!!!  

At this time my TSH is 66 and my Free T4 is .18    (my meds were stopped for several days and continued Tapazole but to lower it at half dose every other day)  This is our goal.  I think I am dying from it though.  I have not gained a pound but I have even lost down to 87 lbs  I eat well, I love food and I do not have a feeding problem *hint* but I could.

~ sigh ~ now my Thyroid is responding so well in fact that I am of the belief that it's finally burned out - KUPUT!  So be it,,,let nature take it's course and I'm for that.

(Interestingly I went to an extended family reunion this summer and at least half have scars like their throats have been cut and they take medicine - but then they forget why - scream!)

Here in lies my problem:  I am dying and I don't know why or how to tell or how to bring it up and be taken seriously.  I feel like such a baby and I cry constantly.  I wake crying, during the day, I can't take me anywhere.  I was like this two years ago when it was discovered I was very HYPER. I can assure you I do not have HYPER symptoms now... Now I believe I am HYPO...but the dispare is killing me.  I am having two family person crisis that I cannot discuss with anyone...not a soul on this earth except my HeadDoc and she understands I cannot tell anyone else - that again is a problem.

I am almost positive these crying symptoms are from my thyroid but how do I broach the subject to my ENDO...I'm not due for test for two weeks but I do not know if I can make it another two weeks living in this hell.  I am eating medications (ATIVANS-mood stablilizers (life savers)  I need help so bad and I don't know who to tell - even my HeadDoc is convinced this is part due to my thyroid - because interestingly enough my BIPOLAR symptoms go away when my thyroid is under control...I don't know what to do - someone help me..................PLEASE!  I really need to know I'm not alone.

After all - I'm just the crazy person.
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158939_tn?1274918797
I can't relate to everything you are saying but right now my TSH is 75.9 and I feel like I am LOSING MY MIND!  I cry, I scream, I want to sleep all the time, I'm hot then cold, I hurt, I'm tired, I can't sleep!  It's all the thyroid (for me).

Please consider the RAI, I'm going through it this week.

After successful thyroid surgeries two diagnosed "bipolars" in my family (sister and daughter) both had the majority of their symptoms go away!

As I'm sure you read in another post by GravesLady - before they diagnosed thryoid disorders they just stuck us in the funny farm.  Hang in there and get that RAI done ASAP!
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158939_tn?1274918797
I can't relate to everything you are saying but right now my TSH is 75.9 and
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Avatar_f_tn
You are not going crazy, it could be the disease!
I lost 50 lbs with Hyper/Graves' and still losing up until RAI treatment.  Don't assume your thyroid condition (hypo/hyper) until you have Labs done again.  At times I get real bad symptoms to where I want to change meds dose, then Labs reflect normal.  On the other hand, when I am feeling good, Labs state levels out of Labs reference range. So I don't go by symptoms alone, but with a combo of  Labs and symptoms.  So go get Labs done and work from there.  All you might need, if  truly hypo, is thyroid hormone medication/or readjustment. If not, if it were me, I'd do RAI.  Heck! it was me! and I did RAI - it saved my life, and, its beautiful most of the time ;)

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No - I missed my point.  I can't keep a straight thought in my head.

I do not want the RAI.  never, it's a personal choice and finally my thyroid is burning out WE HOPE all by itself.  My problem is that I am so HYPO at this time that I can't think at all.   I think you may understand.

I did call my ENDO yesterday and she said to have the blood work right away. A month ago my TSH was 66. so perhaps it's time to bring up my Free T-4 (.18)  I feel so much better when my TSH is around .01    Right now my TSH is not an indicator of where my true range is it's whipping around so fast.

not kidding as long as my BP is good then I am good to go.  Having no energy and being hypo is the pits.  I dread being under-medicated and feeling as I do.  I will be at my Doctors mercy.  I am at that point I believe.  It is killing me being hypo, the fatigue, I eat and sleep, passout almost.  I have things to do, a dog to kick, a stall to clean.  I stayed in bed ALL DAY because I ate a snickers bar and got tired and passed out.

I do not take Ativan on a regular basis.  Not at all today.  I took it for SIX years and believe me I celebrated the day I was off completely and I hate that I have taken it for the last week.  But today I didn't and I feel ok with it.  Plus I quit smoking about three weeks ago when I got sick and vomited for four days.  Everyone thinks I had a stomach flu but I know better.  I'll say one thing for being hypo, I'm too tired to have Graves rage.

One thing I found out  when I was DX'd with Graves was that I do not have panic attacks...it's always been my heart.  Never a panic attack but the heart symptoms from the graves disease.  Interesting!  I only want to take Ativan to be knocked out to get through a day so it will pass so I do not have to be part of a day or decisions or anything.  It's dangerous to take Ativan - but I have been told to take it by more than one doctor to bring down my heart rate when a BP med doesn't work fast enough, etc. so yes, I have it.

Here I rattle on and on...I will have my blood work tomorrow a.m.

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158939_tn?1274918797
Did you get the results from your labs back yet?

I understand about the brain fog from being so hypo - I'm sorry, it's horrible.

So if you have ruled out RAI did you also rule out surgery?  Just curious.
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Back in the 90's I was hospitalized and diagnosed as being biopolar.  I took meds for about a year and a half.  Then I read where Thyroid disease can cause symptoms of bipolar and had my thryoid checked to find I have hypothyroidism.  My head doctor told me I would either kill myself or be in a mental hospital within six months if i stopped my phscy meds.  I did so anyway and I had no problems.  Every once in a while I start to be depressed over nothing and get that gloomy feeling.  Now,  I get my thyroid level checked and I usually need a change in the dose of Synthroid I need.  I've seen many doctor since then and no one has diagnosed me as bipolar again.

One medication, Lithium, they use for bipolar can cause your thyroid to shut down and then you're left with the question like chicken or the egg. Being I had no signs of bipolar after going off those meds and going on Synthroid, I know I'm not bipolar.  People don't know all your thyroid does for you.  

I never related thyroid disease to auto immune disease but I have a very rare disease that is part auto immune.  IT is common to have a thyroid problem with it so it makes sense that it thyroid disease might be somehow connected to auto immune disease.  

i hope what I wrote can help someone.  I read something that caused me to question my diagnosis and it turned out to change things for me.  maybe it will for others. Have a nice day!
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over the last 9 years my husband and son have been dx as having biopolar things have been horrible can u please help me understand this sickness?
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I have a husband and a son with biopolar. I really need help understanding the illness. our lives is an unbearable mess!
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209405_tn?1189759421
I'm going to repost this. It was a my reply for another post but this is my experience with Graves Disease. It doesn't mean you have Graves, obviously. Also, I was undiagnosed for over 10 years and had to be aggressive at getting treatment because my doc said I was only slightly hyperthyroid. I went to 5 different doctors:

"I have Graves and when untreated I was CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY! I threw things, pulled pictures off the wall and was verbally abusive, manipulative, and had temper tantrums over perceived wrongs toward me. And when I ran out of energy, I was either suicidal, thought I was dying, or drifting from reality. Plus, I had the lowest self-esteem because I couldn't accomplish anything. I also ruined many friendships. He needs medical attention ASAP. It will change his life and yours too. I suffered for years and today I'm a completely different person - fun, enthusiastic, kind, and finally ambitious again - the person I was meant to be. I still have down days but it's SO much better than it was."
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209405_tn?1189759421
Please print out everything you wrote here and show it to your doctor. You are having a crisis and what you've written will help you better communicate with your doctor. I can totally relate to your feelings of dispair and dying. Hugs...
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212753_tn?1275076711
Yes thryoid can mimic the symptoms of bi polar.I am bi polar This disease is a case of either too much seritonin and dopamine or not enough Our brains cant regulate it like it should the meds and there are many reuglate this for us. and Yes bi polar are at greater risk for thyroid problems.Believe me I have researched this thoroughly. I suspect the lithium that I took when I was first dx bi polar led to my thyroid malfunction  and the HUGE goiter I developed. I cant prove it but alas now I am thryoidless and bi polar.
Anyway bi polar can succesfully be treated with meds and therapy.Most important  DO N OT STOP YOUR BI POLAR MEDS when you start to feel betterGet therapy regular rest,eat balanced meals and exercise even if its just a 30 min walk.Bi polar is like having heart diesease or diabeltes .You must take your meds and I have learned this the hard way.
I  have been on celexa and zyprexa for 6 years and I have been in a very good place in my life between the meds and the therapy.I felt pretty good up untill I got all this thryoid mess and thryoid cancer and hypo and hyper.I feel pretty good now with my levothyroxine at 175mcg..
If any one of you need to talk about bi polar I am happy to do so. Its been hell  being bipolar all of my life and just beingdx in 98. but I am happyy to help.

Love Venora
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I am glad to know that I am not the only one going through this. I was diagnosed with Bipolar in 1998. However, I had my thyroid removed and take synthroid due to thyroid cancer in the late 80's. I strongly believe there is a correlation between mood disorders and thyroid dysfunction. I plan to do more research on this topic. I got interested when I met others with bipolar disorder that happened to have thyroid problems as well. The psyche docs tell me I must take psyche meds for the rest of my life in order to control the mood swings. I refuse to accept that fact. I have lots of questions and won't give up until I find the answers. I am frustrated that I have been diagnosed with an illness that the media portrays as "criminally minded". That is definitely not me. I am a working, good citizen that happens to have occasional changes in mood, but I do not have a criminal mind. If I am bipolar, fine. But if I'm not and all this is because of thyroid problems, then I want to know the truth about the origin of the mood swings...organic or mental?
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209384_tn?1231171906
If you go into forums you will find one for bipolar.  New forum.  It is great.

Dac
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209384_tn?1231171906
I was dx bipolar in 1995 and did not develop Graves' until 2000.  I didn't take lithium or anything for the manic, so know this had nothing to do with mine.

Having unregulated thyroid levels will continue to make a person have mood swings.  If you are hyper or hypo, both cause terrible mood swings.  If your levels are good then it is probably due to bipolar disorder.

Having said that I rather resent the way you tend to talk about being bipolar.  I also am a fully functioning "good citizen".  Who cares what the media says?!  It is a fact, unfortunately, that many bipolars who are untreated for one reason or another, or who have not gotten the right meds can get into trouble with the law.  In manic phases most people feel indestructible and will do things that they would never consider doing other wise.  "Grandiose delusions" are another problem that causes people to think that they are being stalked by CIA or know very famous people, etc.  They are "symptoms".  The poor people do not do this to themselves, UNLESS they have been dx and decided to not take their meds anymore.

If you are bipolar it is like any other disease.  Diabetics do not produce enough insulin.  Hypothyroids don't produce enough thyroid.  Manic depressives do not produce enough or too much of the hormones that control moods.  As with any of these other diseases replacements of these are the treatment.  Insulin for the diabetics, thyroid for the hypos, etc.

Hope you are able to come to terms with this.

Dac
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212753_tn?1275076711
Dac is right. bi polar is for life.I am bi polar too and I take 2 meds and I feel great. It take a while to come to terms with this dx. you have to keep taking your meds and its really not so bad to take 2 pills to have a great quality of life. they are only doing for us what our body cant. Its not that bi polars are criminally minded.Its just in the manic phase you feel as nothing can happen to you and there is no fear of consequences.I have paid the consequences and I always take my pills now for 7 years steady.I have a great life, a great marriage and a great job.I am having the time of my life. this wouldnt be the case if it werent for my pills and my therapy. Please reconsider how you feel about bi polar and take your meds and enjoy your life.
LOve Venora
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Who cares what the media says? I do. I just feel there is a need for more positive discussions about mental illness. The stigma is still there. Forgive me, I  certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. Maybe, after all these years, I am still searching for a reason to believe I was misdiagnosed. I do not want to take the medication if I don't have to. The right combination of meds has not been figured out by the doctors and that doesn't help matters. They keep prescribing this and that! I feel sleepy and zombied out on some of the medicines, gain weight or have this horrible metal smell in my hair even when I shampoo often. You two have come to grips with your diagnosis and are comfortable with your treatment. That's great. Not all of the psychiatrists that I have seen agree on my diagnosis.
Signed, still searching for answers...Venus
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209384_tn?1231171906
I'm really sorry that you feel this way, but if you were dx "years" ago instead of recently like your first post stated then I think you have had plenty of time to come to terms with it and thyroid is not likely the cause of any of it, just wishful thinking.  I'm not trying to be mean to you, but at some point we have to accept our medical problems and limitations caused by them or suffer the consequences and I hate to see any one do this who knows what is wrong and that there is help.

I don't know how many years you have been dealing with this, but I will tell you that I have been dealing with the thyroid issues for almost 8 years now and have just finally got it taken care of.  If you wanted it bad enough you would hang in there and keep searching for the right meds instead of giving up and trying to ignore it away.

Good luck with whatever you do.  I will pray for you.
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1330188_tn?1275476110
having personality/behavioral problems because of my thyroid.
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I completely concur with what you are saying.  One of my family members has struggled with mental health issues for 10 years and will not get help because of the labels associated with it.  There is a stigma.  I applaud you for standing up for yourself, being honest about what you are facing and trying to work it out.  You are not "criminally minded" and I understand what you mean.  You write well.  You are clear and succinct.  I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone.  I really appreciated what you had to say.  God Bless.
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I was born with congenital hypothyroidism, and have suffered for years with behavioral malfunctions. I've been ridiculed by family and friends for being "over-dramatic" and all my life I thought there was something wrong with my personality. I've have so many bad experiences, including some traumatic, those of which only perpetuated my erratic behavior.

I grew up knowing the physical effects of hypothyroidism-- weight gain, stunted growth, hair loss, fatigue, and so on-- but no one ever told me that I was more likely to develop mood disorders, or bi-polar tendencies. I've been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Post-Partum Depression (that one landed me in a psych ward for 3 days), and PTSD, all because my body didn't know how to respond to all the major stresses that I've ever had. I've lost jobs, friends, relationships... all because of this crap.

At this point in my life, I have no insurance, and my thyroid has gone untreated for almost 5 years. I'm losing more control of my mental functions-- it's harder to focus, i'm having panic attacks at work, i get home and drop dead on the couch and have a hard time getting things done. My life ***** so much right now, and most of it is due to the fact that I can't get it together. I've tried alternative methods like relaxation techniques and yoga, changing my diet and my eating and social habits, yet I still feel the same everyday. I fight everyday with my own thoughts, and can't keep track of what's a real thought and what's just a product of bad body chemistry.

This is the first forum I've seen where people actually are having the same problem as I, and attribute it to this haywire gland. Thank you for being a place where I can finally know for sure that there's nothing wrong with me as a person.

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649848_tn?1357751184
This is a very old thread and we haven't seen any of the above posters for a long time.  

If you have untreated thyroid issues, it's not a surprise that you feel the way you do.  

There are free clinics you can go to if you can't afford to get treatment on your own.  All of your issues will only become worse if you keep letting it go.  
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OMG @ draven106. You really need to go to a clinic. I went off my Levoxyl for my hypothyroidism for only 6 months because i also did not have insurance. I was born without a thyroid so my meds are literally life or death. Not being on my meds literally drove me to a suicide attempt in my sleep. I ended up in a psych ward for a month. When I got to the hospital they told me my blood pressure was so low they couldn't believe I was still alive. And my BP had been that low for months. YOU NEED TO GET YOUR MEDS SWEETY. It will end up killing you or driving you to kill yourself if you don't. I havebeen researching thyroid conditions and bipolar conditiions and trying to see if there is a link for a year now. I notice as time goes on my mood swings and depression gets worse and worse even though things are actually quite good for me right now. I have a beautiful son and somedays I cant handle anything. Seriously, get your medication. It is soooo important. I wish people would realize that their thyroid medication and condition is nothing to mess with. Sincerely Vanessa
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2102364_tn?1334184877
Draven, looks like you posted back in December so I don't know if you'll read this.   But first do whatever you have to do to get treatment - even if it means going to the ER where they are legally obligated to treat you.    

Also what you said about not knowing which thoughts are real or generated by the bad chemistry.   I hear ya.   I'm starting to think the best policy is to be skeptical of every thought and emotion that passes through my brain, keep only the best.
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hi my partner has graves disease and suffers from hyperthyroidism. I try to be as patient as possible but sometimes it's not enough. she also has bipolar in her family ( her mum and great grandmother) what I would like to know us how to try and get her checked for having bipolar without upsetting her. she had a bad relationship with her mum and doesnt have a high opinion of her great grandmother. it's kind of come up before and she's addiment she doesn't have it. but the more I read the more I'm convinced she does. I love the girl and want the best for her but she needs help
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I Suffered from brain fog and mental disability. I was on depression and anxiety medication. This thyroid problem has been going on for over 10 years. I have been taking Synthroid. I had a baby and no longer on the depression or anxiety medication and still suffered the brain fog and mental disability. I couldn't find my words. I became stupid. I had to keep interrupting others or I would forget my thoughts. I have a BA and am 35. I complained to my Dr. again and he finally switched me to a different thyroid medication Levoxyl. I am now on it for the 3rd week and have noticed a huge difference. I am getting ME back!!! Hope this helps anyone!
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649848_tn?1357751184
Sometimes, all it takes is a different brand of medication.  Some people have reaction to fillers/binders in the meds, as well.  

I'm happy to hear that you are making progress.  Don't forget to get your periodic blood work done to make sure your levels stay where you need them.  Each time you test, make sure you get TSH, Free T3 and Free T4.  

Best wishes.
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hii. i am manasi,i am 21, i have hypothyroidism..and last time when i checked my TSH level it was 96 or something..nowadays i feel really depressed..i am always crying and thinking about suicide...i dont know what to do...i am afraid to tell my parents...pls tell me what to do...pls help..
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Going at it alone...seems to be the norm these days.  My son was diagnosed with hyperthyroid in 2007 (age 18) but allergic to the meds so had his thyroid ablated (nuclear med) and end of 2008 (19) was diagnosed bipolar (was in a severe manic state).  None of us knew what was going on at first, thought he got mixed up with drugs...now four years later he is in jail for the 3rd time and the kicker...he's also insulin dependent since age 12.  He is now 23 and a mess.  I'm scared of him when manic as he attacked my apt & me (didn't hurt me/police got there in time)  couple years ago while severe manic.  

While sitting in jail they are giving him his meds but I believe he's giving the psych meds away and will come out of jail on Mar 12th hypomanic or worse.  I have no support here and I'm feeling guilty for sending a letter to my son in jail letting him know that he cannot stay with me (mom) or his brother if he is manic and not taking his meds.  I now am suffering mentally and physically, my hyperthyroid (graves disease) may be out of remission from 35 years ago, awaiting blood work.  With this connection of the thyroid and bipolar I'm wondering if taking out or ablating the thyroid, making the person permanently hypothyroid (under-active) is the cause of the onset, something to consider.

I’ve been trying for over 3 years, with an atty, to get him disability with no luck.  I am going to get him a hotel room for a month to just relax after 4 months in jail but knowing that he will not have a place to live after that...I’m feeling hopeless for him since the diabetes and mania cause life threatening conditions.  We have no insurance so this is so very hard to cope with and get help for my son.  What about housing for bipolar individuals, where is the mercy for these individuals, the help they need?  The psychiatrists don’t spend time helping them cope with their disability, only issuing meds on a guess they may help with no “real” knowledge of how these drugs affect the bipolar population.  Now who’s crazy!
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So sorry to hear about all the trouble.  Hope that we can help.  One suggestion is to find your local State/County Health Dept. and see if they will get him tested, and get him on thyroid meds.  Certainly he needs the med, since his was ablated.  

Also, I think you will find this link to be of interest.  The article is about bipolar and thyroid.  I think there is enough info around to suggest that your son's mental status could be affected by being hypothyroid.

http://www.psycheducation.org/thyroid/introduction.htm
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Hi, I am so suprised reading all these threads and very thankful that my family is not going through this alone. My sister has been diagnosed with bi polar 2, manic depressive and was given meds. sometimes she would mix the meds in her foods to the point that she couldnt take it anymore. there were times that she is extremely happy and there aare just those moments when she feels restless and doesnt know what to do. She tried od and before anything gets worst, she called her therapist and was asked to be brought to the nearest ER, she immediately requested to be brought to the psych ward and has been staying there for almost a week now, she feels fine as of now. thank god. But now she was diagnosed with HYPOTHYROID. and now takign meds for her levels to normalize. shes taking Abilify and Lithium and Levothyroxine for her thyroid. I am glad that we are not alone here, All the while i thought it's only my sister whos experiencing this.
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"Experts don't understand the exact mechanism, but the drug lithium can prevent your thyroid from functioning properly. Lithium is known to cause goiter (an enlarged thyroid), as well as hypothyroidism, and chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. There is also a link to hyperthyroidism in some patients."

It's most likely the lithium causing her to be hypo.  Hypothyroidism can exacerbate bipolar symptoms and/or mimic bipolar symptoms.  You might find that her bipolar symptoms improve as her thyroid hormones normalkize.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 22 year old male and I was diagnosed as Bipolar II 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, I have been constantly tweaking doses and going on and off many different drugs. It seems like they've tried every combination imaginable and I still feel pretty shoddy. I understand that BP can take a while to get "the right drug combo," but even then, people are said to still have recurring symptoms for the rest of their lives and never be fully cured.

That being said, I am still not convinced BP is a disorder in and of itself without being caused by any underlying physical condition. In fact, I think this may be the case for many mental health disorders. I mean think about it, most of them are attributed to chemical imbalances, so would it not make sense that a physical problem be the source of these imbalances? Perhaps there is a BP gene, but I am skeptical.

My Story:
After my freshman year in college, I began to exhibit signs of serious depression…lost interest in everything I enjoyed, overwhelming fatigue, socially withdrawing, worrisome, and so forth. My mom and I attributed it to the college lifestyle, consisting of inconsistent daily schedules, stress, and excessive drinking.  Towards the end of sophomore year I had not improved and had developed anxiety and more sleeping issues. Sleep was my biggest problem. I would go to bed at night and literally feel as though I was conscious and awake all night. I was just so tired all the time. I finally made an appointment with my PCP, thinking that I had a sleep disorder. At the time, I requested that I be tested for thyroid disorder and Lyme disease. My Lyme disease test came back negative and my thyroid showed a 2.4 with the normal range being 0.358-3.74. At that point it was suggested that it may be a mental health issue and subsequently I began the journey down the mental health “rabbit hole.” As stated earlier, I have still not fully felt normal again to this day and I have tried just about every drug, as well as had a sleep study done (bunch of bologna).
Recently, my aunt suggested that I be tested more in-depth for Lyme disease as she was undiagnosed with it for years. I brought her my tests so she could see what tests they originally gave me, because often it goes undiagnosed and she had to go to a specialist to get an extensive DNA test done or something like that. When she was looking at my tests she noticed that my thyroid was 2.4, which was above the midway point of 1.7. While 2.4 falls within the “normal” range, she told me that she also went undiagnosed with Hashimoto’s for years. Her TSH levels also fell within the normal range, but after some stern persistence with her PCP, she got a referral with an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist determined that she did in fact have Hashimoto’s and although her levels were considered normal, she still felt terrible. After going on some thyroid medication, her life was changed. Having a doctor that worked with her on how she felt in conjunction with what the tests said, allowed her to find the “sweet spot” of TSH levels within the acceptable range.

In addition to my aunt, my great-grandma had goiters and my grandma’s thyroid was completely destroyed when she was in her 20’s. It is obvious that my family has a strong history of thyroid problems and while I am a male, I think that this is what has been causing my symptoms all along. In addition to the aforementioned mental problems, I have also had problems with aching, light sensitivity, weight fluctuations, bruising easily, swollen knees/shins, irregular bowels, attention disorder, memory loss, and a bunch more. I have felt like a hypochondriac over the years, but with this new perspective on thyroid disorders, it all seems to make a lot of sense. I have long thought that maybe I had a hormone imbalance too which may have led to the bipolar. Upon further research, I found that hormone imbalance can be caused by dysfunctional thyroids. This gives further credence to my theory. I think simply, my thyroid has been deteriorating over the years and as a result, so has my body.

I know that people get defensive about BP and just tell you to accept the diagnosis and be done with it. Well, I did that, but I am still always searching for the answer to why I feel so poorly and how I can feel normal once again. This means ruling out every physical cause that I can. I have an appointment with my PCP next week and I am not going to leave unless I have a referral to my aunt’s endocrinologist. Once I see her, I will be able to put the thyroid possibility to rest whether it’s true or false. I might just be bipolar, but if not, that would be almost 3 of my best years destroyed by a mental health diagnosis. As Venus stated earlier, this is not a diagnosis to be taken lightly. Mental health is not understood by society and that is that, despite what we all know to be true through our experiences.  I dread the day I have to tell a potential wife that our child is likely to have bipolar and I have no life insurance because I can’t get any, and on top of that the whole world things I’m crazy just because I am labeled as such. Anything I do or mistake I make will always be attributed to bipolar when the shoe fits. It is more than frustrating.

I’m sorry for the long post, but it is my hope that maybe someone is in the same situation as me and will do what they can to get the help they need. This is an old thread and if no previous poster reads this, then maybe future visitors to the site will. I ended up on this site today after a google search for bipolar and thyroid correlation and I’m sure others will too seeking answers as I did. The fact is, every doctor is not an expert in everything and it is important that people stand up for themselves if they are not feeling healthy. I am guilty of just accepting whatever my psychologist tells me, as he is quick and firm to dismiss any suggestion of physical malady that I make. Same with my PCP. They just don’t like to admit that they may not know everything and dislike giving referrals. I will post again with my results from the endocrinologist when that time comes. Who knows, it may turn out that there is no link and I will just have to toil on with the drug guess and check, but as of now it does make a lot of sense. It would be a huge relief to finally have a definitive answer and go off of the meds I’m currently on.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your post. It has given me hope. My son is having a very difficult time.  His life  sounds much like yours except he seems to be getting worse.  He did fine in school and was accepted with scholarship to a top college but once got there this disease has take over his life as well as his family's life. He has extremely anxiety and pressure speech.  He thinks he can hear peoples thoughts.  He has tried self medications and of course it does not help.  He has no insurance and cannot get any because of the diagnosis of BP until Jan 2014 when Obama Care goes into effect.  Our family is middle class and cannot afford 200 dollar an hour therapists and the free and reduce rate clinics we have tried have been useless or impossible to get in. Then there are the psychiatrist who are pill pushers and really blow BP patients off.  My family has had thyroid disease mostly hypo -I will get him tested as soon as possible.  Thanks again for posting.
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Make sure your son gets ALL of the relevant thyroid tests, NOT just TSH.  This is where so many people are left undiagnosed - because doctors put so much faith in the TSH test and if it's normal, they insist there is no thyroid problem.  Don't accept that.

The tests your son needs are TSH, FREE T3 and FREE T4 to test thyroid function... make sure the T3 and T4 are "FREE" not total; they aren't the same thing and testing for totals is a waste of money because those tests are obsolete and of little value.  

Also, make sure they do the antibody tests to confirm/rule out Hashimoto's.  It's not the least unusual for symptoms to appear, long before labs indicate an issue.  The antibody tests you need to insist on are Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOab) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAB).  They are both markers for Hashimoto's and without them both, many people are  misdiagnosed.

I hope this helps get you started.  If you get these tests done and care to start a new post, including the results, with reference ranges (ranges vary lab to lab and to come from your own lab report), we will be glad to  help interpret them.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm in EXACTLY the same situation with my son.  He is 36, diagnosed Bipolar/ADD 6 years ago.  He has been on several cocktails of meds and is still not stable.  He currently takes Lamitcal, Abilify and Vyvanse.  He literally cannot stay awake for longer than a few hours.  We were thinking he needs a boost with his Vyvanse but he's at the highest dose 70mg.  This stuff is given to 6 years old with the same dose restrictions.  Does not make sense.  Last month the pd handed my son a pack of pills to keep him "awake" Nuvigil and it put him in a mental state that had us ready to admit him to the stress center.  He's going to give him Adderall (adderrall) next month but will not up his Vyvanse because he could "get in trouble" going over the recommended dose.  Yet he had no problem giving out samples of Nuvigil that almost killed my son.  No one has ever checked my sons Thyroid .... Not.  Once.  Thanks for all the info and Barb 135, thank you for the testing advice.  I will insist on these test with my doctor.  I read a quote from someone (can't remember the name) but it said "If you have a physical illness you have many doctors running to help, if you have mental illness your can't get a janitor to see you".  Yup, pretty much my experience with my son.  So sad.  I won't stop looking but our money is also going to run out soon.  He has no insurance and his Einstein pd is $250 for 20 minutes and he is totally a jerk.  We won't be seeing him again.  Sorry for the rant.  I'm just tired.  There is no good help here in Indiana as far as I can find.  
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649848_tn?1357751184
Fightingmom hasn't been active on the forum, since she posted in August... I hope she managed to get the testing done that I recommended.

If you'll make a list of the thyroid tests I listed above and take them to your son's doctor, you should be able to get them done.. if the doctor refuses to order them, I can give you a web site from which you can order them, yourself.  I might also recommend that you ask for a thyroid ultrasound, which would show up nodules, swelling or inflammation that are common with Hashimoto's.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Forgot to mention that if you get these tests done, and post a new thread, listing results and reference ranges, we'll assess them and help you interpret them.

Best of luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just read your post and really hoping things have gotten better for you.  I have congenital hypothyroidism also...searching for answers....you're the first one I may relate to the closest so far.  Please...if you're available....reply.  it'd be nice to be able to have a friend to relate to on all this.
Julie
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649848_tn?1357751184
Draven is no longer active on the forum.  This is a very old thread.  You might have better luck starting a thread of your own.
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