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Thyroid & Mind: Emotional/Cognitive manifestations of untreated thyroid disease?

(This is multifaceted) If thyroid disease (hypo) were to persist undiagnosed/untreated for (minimum) 3 years, how might this manifest in terms of emotion/mood, cognition, coping abilities, etc.? Might it be different in someone with PTSD (early adolescent sexual trauma)?? Finally, would any of the above change (progression, intensity, severity) after pregnancy and/or live birth? For example, are these conditions that could mask and prevent proper diagnoses? Or could thyroid have exacerbated or rendered treatments (i.e. SSRI's) less likely to improve the symptoms??

[Background: 26; F. Dx PTSD 14yo (sexual trauma); Later menstruation; Pregnancy 18yo; Second pregnancy & full term birth 23yo. Mild symptoms of thyroid ages 18-21, seeming to progress more rapidly thereafter near exponentially, especially since birth of my daughter (now 3). Labs never prompting further tests; PTSD nonresponsive to chemical or behavioral treatments; deemed "treatment resistant". Last 3 years, firm belief that something was not right physically, yet until recently symptoms were diagnosed as other ailments (pcos, ADHD, insomnia, vitamin deficiencies, multiple chemical sensitivities -incl. hydrocortisone and SSRI's,... The list goes on) or as "it's just your PTSD/depression acting up again"]

Editorial Note: Took several neuro and endocrine courses while obtaining my BA, so please kindly respond with as much detail as possible with the info I provided, and feel free to ask questions. Thank you to anyone willing and able to help me on this. It gets tiring being brushed off all the time when your intuition and body knows its ailing. I am immensely grateful in advance to whomever tackles this.  
3 Responses
Avatar universal
My first question is if you have thyroid labs to post.  If so, please do and include reference ranges that vary lab to lab and have to come from your own lab report.

Undiagnosed/untreated thyroid disease can manifest as innumerable physical, emotional and psychological symptms.  Every cell in your body needs thyroid hormone to function, so the possibilities are endless.

There is a condition called postpartum thyroiditis.  It's a variant of Hashimoto's thyroiditis and is autoimmune, characterized by elevated antibody levels.  It usually includes a period of hyperthyroidism after delivery (can be up to a year later), a brief return to normal, and then a period of hypo.  This often resolves with a return to normalcy.

If you have labs, that would help tremendously.
Avatar universal
I'll have to dig them up, as I just moved. I know that they've only done thyroid labs two or three times because I was usually presenting with symptoms that fit a simpler issue. Since my daughters birth, I have had innumerable illnesses and infections, including a severe staph infection that had me getting daily infusions via PICC line. I also suffered from riggers (sp?) 3 days post partum which my OB said was an uncommon estrogen withdrawal?? I don't recall them doing any labs then. I had post partum depression, but had planned ahead with a psychiatric appt scheduled for a week after my due date.

All labs up until last month were done by PCP (usually Medicaid clinic - different doc every time) and were "within range". Second most recent was fasting and I had an infection, thyroid was within range (year or so ago). Most recently last month, t4 total and t3 uptake were within range on low end but TSH was at 13. They referred me to an endocrinologist but before even getting the call to schedule, my insurance was terminated. (Unemployed due to severity of fatigue pain depression sleep disruption and generally feeling sick as heck all the time).

Will get the labs up once I locate them in this absurd maze of boxes I am in!

[Don't know if this may relate but I also have retrograde amnesia for events prior to age 14 (first trauma) in that the trauma is my first vivid memory of life experience. Bits and pieces come through now and then but all are neutral experiences or mundane things that don't seem super "memorable". Oddly enough, participation in some memory research when I worked at Hopkins, confirmed the above, and oddly enough despite also having iconic(photographic) memory.]
Avatar universal
"Most recently last month, t4 total and t3 uptake were within range on low end but TSH was at 13."

A TSH of 13 is indicative of hypothyroidism.  Total T4 and T3 uptake are both considered obsolete tests of limited usefulness.  FREE T3 and FREE T4 are much more telling.  However, ranges for all four tests are very flawed.  As a result, any result in the lower half of the range can indicated hypo also.

When you find the rest of your results, I'll be able to comment further on adequacy of testing and results.
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