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Thyroid disease and bipolar disorder?
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Thyroid disease and bipolar disorder?


Hi

Have just seen my GP today re symptoms of hyperthyroidism. I am 27 yr old female and have had symptoms of hyperactivity and insomnia approximately 3-4 times per year, followed by a period of extreme lethargy and sleepiness, for the last 10 years.

These episodes have got worse with time, becoming more extreme with dramatic mood swings, insomnia and hyperactivity. I tend to feel very hot, suffer from night overheating and lose weight during these episodes (despite eating more - have to eat junk food to maintain weight)and throat feels tight etc.

I was tested for thyroid function 2 years ago after a very bad bout - thyroid function normal but positive for antibodies, and scan revealed enlarged multinodular goitre.

It has taken around 1 1/2 years to fully get back to normal, and recently have been feeling the opposite and very lethargic. Tested for hypo and results came back hyper, elevated free T4 28, TSH normal 1.25.

GP suggested today that thyroid possibly red herring and has diagnosed bipolar depression. I will be assessed by a community psychiatrist for suitibility for mood-stabilising drugs - lithium etc.

Please can anyone tell me if there is a link between bipolar and thyroid disorders, or if just slightly elevated T hormones can cause these symptoms. Should thyroid results be dismissed?

Don't care what label given as long as don't have to go through this again. Am at the end of my tether!

Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
forgot to mention although bloods tested when felt v tired 3 weeks ago, have had extreme hyperactivity and insomnia for the last 2 weeks!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi

TSH relates to  whether a person is hyperthyroid  or hypothyroid.  Your  high F/T-4 might suggest that your thyroid is performing improperly, from whatever reason.  
I can't make a comment about your levels without a F/T-3 reading to correspond to your F/T-4 and TSH level and Labs reference range. However, positive antibodies could mean future thyroid issues, so it's suggested to have thyroid test done on an annual bases.

New research findings presented at the Sixth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder have found an association between an abnormal thyroid condition. It was  found that bipolar patients were twice as likely as healthy subjects to develop autoimmune thyroiditis. Although associated genes for bipolar disorder and autoimmune thyroiditis have yet to be identified, autoimmune thyroiditis may be an endophenotype for bipolar disorder.  However, many factors act together to produce the illness.

People with bipolar disorder often have abnormal thyroid gland function. Because too much or too little thyroid hormone alone can lead to mood and energy changes, it is important that thyroid levels are carefully monitored by a physician.
People with rapid cycling tend to have co-occurring thyroid problems and may need to take thyroid pills in addition to their medications for bipolar disorder. Also, lithium treatment may cause low thyroid levels in some people, resulting in the need for thyroid supplementation.


Hope this is of some help - Good Luck!


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158939_tn?1274918797
Personal experience:  None of my family members nor I had abnormal thyroid labs (except one who had mile Hashimoto's).  Most all of us had thyroid cancer, the other two had precancer.  One of my sisters (with cancer) and my daughter (precancer) are both bipolar.  Both of their bipolar symptoms have considerably subsided since their total thyroidectomies.  

My daughter has stopped having her frequent "highs" and frightening lows.  My daughter stayed "manic" more than she did depressed.  As long as she maintains her synthroid levels (she often forgets) she doesn't act bipolar at all.  My sister tended to have more depression than mania and her depression is considerably better too.

I know this isn't scientific but my entire family has noticed the change in both my sister and daughter.
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Avatar_n_tn

Thanks x

My mum has an autoimmune thyroid disorder (hypo), but she also shows signs of bipolar (although she doesn't recognise it herself), so I guess that there may be relevent close family history.

The doctor guesses that it is rapid cycling, so I guess there may be an interplay of both.

I tend not to get noticeable depressions, just manic episodes where feel as if high on caffeine tablets; lots and lots of energy, and I can't ever relax. I feel reckless and irritable, and although I feel in quite a good mood just wish I could feel sleepy or relaxed to be 'normal' like other people, and I know my wired behaviour really impacts negatively on my loved ones.

Incidently, I have noticed twice now that following a low carb, high protein diet for around 2 weeks has brought on 2 severe manic episodes - as I had sudden weight gain prior in both cases.

Thanks for your help, am sure will start feeling better soon when they treat for both / either
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158939_tn?1274918797
I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist but your symptoms do sound bipolar.  My daughter described the manic episodes as like she had been "mainlining Mountain Dew".  (she's 19 so understand.)  She would stay awake for days and talk so rapidly that my head would spin.  She would also always have to be doing SOMETHING - ripping paper into tiny bits all over the house, drawing, starting a "craft" project, getting into a horrible relationship . . . the mania is so hard on family and friends.

I do know that bipolar disorder can run in families and, as my family found the hard way, so do thyroid disorders.  Sit down and talk to some of your family members and close friends.  Have them level with you even though they may not want to hurt your feelings.  Have them describe your "mood swings" and if you seem to get depressed.  For many depression can come across as short-tempered or angry.  Often we can't see ourselves how others do and they may see more signs of bi-polar than you know of.

It is very, very strange that you would GAIN wait on a low carb, high protein diet.  Endocrinologists are specialists in glucose disorders too.  Please get a referral to an endocrinologist for boht the thyroid and possible blood sugar problems.

Like I mentioned, my daughter and my sister's bipolar symptoms (both diagnosed by separate psychiatrists) have practically disappeared after thyroid treatment and by staying on a consistent dose of synthroid.

I know that the thyroid impacts other hormones and can really set things off.  I've noticed others on this forum who, like me, developed diabetes after thyroid removal.  I also had severe problems with my ovaries (hemorrhagic cysts) as do some of my sisters.  Please see an endocrinologist and mention the nodules.

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158939_tn?1274918797
Just a side note (and I'm no expert on psychotropic drugs).  When my daughter was diagnosed as bipolar I researched the medications and her psychiatrist and I decided against lithium because of long-term side effects.  There are some great new mood stabilizer medications out there which don't have the same long-term effects.  

Seroquel worked great for her (until she decided she missed the "highs" and quit taking it . . . but that's another story).

Please talk to a psychiatrist if you decide to pursue medication for bipolar NOT just a GP.  Every doctor has their strengths and weaknesses and mood stabilizers are definitely in the realm of psychiatrists.

Sounds like you could become an honorary member of my family with the thyroid problems, bipolar problems, and the possible glucose problem.  Hang in there - you have a large extended family!  :-)
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Avatar_n_tn

Thanks

I feel a bit better now, slightly more tired which is normal.

Re the weight gain, I'm quite slim but I gained over half a stone in a few weeks prior to becoming hyper. During 8 weeks or so I found I was quite tired; the low carb diet worked, but I've noticed twice now that it seems to precipitate a manic episode if I follow it for around 2 weeks.

Am eating anything now as the weight seems to be falling off again.

Don't worry Utahmomma, I will ask if I can have a 2nd scan for the nodules just to rule anything out

Hope your treatment is going ok, glad that you understand what am going through like your daughter. So glad that treatment has worked out for her

x
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Avatar_n_tn
Well hey everyone, I am new to this deal. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar II with rapid cycling, mixed phase. I think that means both highs and lows at the same time. My psychiatrist just told me today that is what she is suspecting...so I am just now starting to look more into it. She got clued in when upon starting a combo of antidepressants it kicked me into a manic, psychotic state like I have never before experienced. I am a 35 y.o. female and also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict (pot and Xanex). The mood swings i think have always been there but I was keeping them at a minimum with my self-medicating over 20 years. This past year of being clean and sober has been more difficult with the depression and anxiety, which is why I decided to start some anti-depressants 3 months ago.

Sorry, I am rambling, giving my whole life story. I feel pretty alone because I don't want to tell my boyfriend about this new diagnosis and am embarrased to tell co-workers, etc.
I am getting the thyroid tests done, but still don't have the results...Although I have other symptoms that are pointing in that direction as well.
My question that I am throwing out there is: Can/Does thyroid disease and/or dysfunction cause mood swings (bipolar depression)? or is it just that a high percentage of people with bipolar depression have thyroid problems? Which comes first? Can I blame my thyroid on my mood swings? I would so like to do that rather than to tell people I have a psychiatric "situation".
Thanxs for listening, I am sort of in shock and feeling quite pitiful. I would appreciate any input.

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158939_tn?1274918797
I responded to your other post but a little bit of advise on your last statement (I'm on one, sorry).  

*If* you want to tell people it is your thyroid, tell them that.  If you want them to think you are moody because its "that time of the month" - tell them that.  If it is none of their business - tell them THAT.  

However, psychological disorders are NOTHING to be ashamed of.  EVERY family has someone in it with some psychological disorder and I bet if someone looked close enough at ALL of us we could be diagnosed with something (on some various level).  So if you feel you want to tell them you are bipolar, don't be ashamed!  I think you'll be surprised how many times you'll hear that the person you are talking to has someone close to them who is bipolar too.

Never be ashamed of yourself or any of your conditions.  We all just play with the hand that life deals us - whether that's cancer, bipolar disorder, or whatever.  We just get by with a lot of help from our friends (who are just as equally messed up).

Hang in there.
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Avatar_n_tn
It sure would be nice to be able to tell people WHY I'm crazy.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi...
My husband has hyperthyroidism, a multi-nodular goiter & has borderline personality disorder. He is a heavy pot smoker. It has been a rollercoaster ride. Horrible mood swings. There must be a connection. So many people are seeing the thyroid/mental illness together. We know more than the doctors sometimes!
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