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Is Graves Disease the reason for her irrational behaviour?

My cousin has just this week been diagnosed with Grave's Disease.   We have always been close and for the last 6 months she has been distant, cruel and abusive to me.   Initially I thought she had depression and then anxiety due to shakes and panic  attacks but she would accept no help even when i've begged her to let me.

Finding this forum today has completely opened my eyes that it may have been her illness all along.   From your experiences do you think this could be true?  

I really look forward to your replies, thank you for listening.
9 Responses
649848 tn?1534633700
Thyroid disease does strange things to people, sometimes.  Many of us were diagnosed with depression, etc before being diagnosed with a thyroid condition.

It's very possible that your cousin's behavior may be due to Grave's Disease.  I assume that she's been put on some type of anti-thyroid medication?
Don't be surprised or disappointed if her behavior doesn't change right away, though.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for responding.  She has been put on beta blockers while she waits to see a specialist.  
649848 tn?1534633700
No anti-thyroid med? How long before she sees the specialist?  Would that be an endocrinologist?

1756321 tn?1547095325
"The thyroid system is one of the body's most tightly and precisely regulated systems. Minute changes in the way thyroid hormone is delivered to or dispersed in the brain can have drastic effects on moods, emotions, attention, and thinking." (Arem, 1999,p. 107)

Psychiatric symptoms seen with hyperthyroidism:

Apathy (more often seen in older patients)
Cognitive impairment
Emotional lability
Hypomania or mania
Impaired concentration
Mood swings
Psychomotor agitation
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for this.   As far as i'm aware she is on betablockers until she sees the endocrinologist in the next week or so.   `it just makes so much sense as she seems to have completely switched off her empathy button and has been quite child like in her difficult attitudes.   I am hopeful my old lovely cousin will return in the near future.   What do they usually use for first line treatment for the condition and does it have any side effects?   Thanks in advance,
1756321 tn?1547095325
Conventional treatment options for Graves' disease include:

* Anti-thyroid medication:

Brands in the US: Methimazole [brand name Tapazole], Propylthiouracil [PTU]

Anti-thyroid medications decrease the level of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).  Approximately 30% with Graves' disease will have a remission after prolonged treatment with anti-thyroid medication.

Side effects of anti-thyroid medication:

Minor side effects: [up to 15%] - itching, rash, hives, joint pain and swelling, fever, changes in taste, nausea, and vomiting.

Major side effects:

Agranulocytosis [1 in every 200 to 500] - severe decrease in the production of white blood cells. More commonly occurs within the first 3 months but can occur at any time.

Liver damage [more common with PTU], aplastic anaemia [failure of the bone marrow to produce blood cells], vasculitis [inflammation of blood vessels associated with PTU].

* Betablockers - doesn't block the production of thyroid hormone but can help with symptoms such as rapid heart rate, trembling, anxiety.

The two following treatment options usually cause permanent hypothyroidism requiring lifelong thyroid hormone therapy:

* RAI [radioactive iodine] therapy

* Surgery [most or all the thyroid gland is removed]


Alternative/natural treatments for Graves' disease include:

* Herbs bugleweed [Lycopus virginica] and lemon balm [Melissa officinalis] can help reduce the production of thyroid hormone.  The herb Motherwort [Leonurus cardiaca] can help regulate rapid heartbeat.

* Over consumption of uncooked goitrogenic foods can depress thyroid activity: brussels sprouts, cabbage of all kinds, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, peaches, pears, rapini, spinach, strawberries, radishes, rutabagas, turnips, soybeans, pine nuts, peanuts, millet, rape seed (canola oil).

* One study demonstrated that selenium [200 mcg daily] significantly improved quality of life, reduced ocular involvement, and slowed progression of the disease in patients with mild Graves' orbitopathy (thyroid eye disease).
Avatar universal
I am lucky my husband did not leave me!!! I was diagnosed within the first year of my marriage and I was horrible. I would cry everyday and the mood swings were almost unbearable for my whole family. I almost lost my job as a waitress because I could not control my temper. I still feel guilty to this day because my husband told me later that he just thought this is who he married and that this is what he was going to have to live with:,( Try not to be to hard on her, at least until she knows for sure that it is her thyroid. I hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Fabulous information - thanks so much - I'm awaiting her call after her first consolation today to see her treatment.   Can she take the herbal supplements and her medication at the same time?
1756321 tn?1547095325
No problem. :)  I have just read about an amino acid called L-carnitine which has been shown to inhibit thyroid activity and may help prevent the possible lethal outcome of a thyroid storm. L-carnitine can be take alone or with anti-thyroid medication.

As for taking herbs with anti-thyroid medication, i think this would be best discussed with an integrative doctor. A short video on what integrative medicine is all about: Duke University Doctor Explains Integrative Medicine.
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649848 tn?1534633700
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1756321 tn?1547095325
Queensland, Australia
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