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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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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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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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I have a daughter, 10 years, diagnosed with hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's) and on Synthroid for weeks. She is having dizziness, at times headache too and mood swings. Her first test of TSH/FT3/FT4 has shown significant improvement but her problems are getting bit too much. How long will it take to become normal. At times I feel she was better without treatment.
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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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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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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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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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