Thyroid Disorders Community
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676032 tn?1315677663

dose thyroid disorders mimic mental illness?

Ok, so I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism last September around the same time I started getting anxiety and weird thoughts.

So the question I am asking is:

Can thyroid disorders mimic anxiety disorders/ cause mental symptoms?

Also give your story, symptoms be it physical or mental symptoms.

State if you have hypothyroidism or hyper. Or if its hashimoto's or graves. ANYTHING got to with with thyroid!

Do you feel like your going crazy and losing the plot......
21 Responses
676032 tn?1315677663
Ok so Il go first.

Was diagnosed with hypoT last september, around the same time I started to lose my marbles. My brain went into this constant thinking cycle. Horrible and totally unexpected thoughts. I know I was depressed, for about 2 weeks before I was diagnosed I was in my room 24 hours a day watching friends box set and Ellen Degenerous! lol... I think this is where I got the time to think about things and cause this cycle to get worse. Only time I came out of my room was for food or the loo.. . .

Started meds for hypot but never knew why I had it..
Docs said anxiety wasn't down to my thyroid but I like to think otherwise.
Just this week I was kinda diagnosed with hashimoto's, will know next testing!

So, where do I go from here, God only knows!
Will I ever recover, maybe, maybe not.. Very emotional these days.
If someone said BOO to me, Id cry...lol
168348 tn?1379360675
Maybe ask to have your Vit D levels checked.  Very low levels of Vit D can also mimic depression and joint pain and a host of other symptoms, too, which all mimic hypothyroidism.

Avatar universal
Anxiety can be caused by hyperthyroidism (or too high of a dosage of thyroid meds), however, depression is very common with hypothyroidism.  I have a background in mental health, as well as being a person who had hyperthyroidism until my radioactive iodine treatment, which then (of course) made me hypo.

I had been on just synthroid since last October, kept getting more and more depressed, more and more muscle aches and pains, the scaly patches on my skin returned, and had absolutely no energy to speak of (like you, I'd cry at the drop of a hat).  At my last endo appointment, the doc looked at me and instantly knew the synthroid was not converting its T4 into the T3, as it's supposed to do.  Blood tests revealed that I had basically no T3 at all.

He started me on a combination of synthroid and cytomel.  Within two hours of taking the first dose of cytomel, I had absolutely no more pain, my energy was back, I could think clearly, and no more depression.  However, within 6 hours, the wonderful effects of the cytomel would wear off.  I now take cytomel twice a day.  This has made my life so much more bearable.

My advice to you is be open with your doctor, tell him how you're feeling, if the medications you are taking seem to be working and how well they seem to be working.  If I may ask, what are you taking for your hypothyroidism?
793305 tn?1493929118
Hypo and Hashis.... did I think I was going crazy?  Oh yeah...I had the weirdest dreams when I was asleep or away...daydreams were just as bad and more disorienting....I'd walk to the kitchen for something and stand there for 5 minutes in a stupor and when I'd "wake up" I'd forget what I was after in the first place....I did have anxiety issues...I had to have my thyroid removed and most of those symptoms are gone.  I'm on synthroid.  I do have some aches that I didn't used to have, but I'm doing ok.  And no, I'm not recommending you have your thyroid out...I simply didn't feel I had a choice in that particular matter.
219241 tn?1413541365
I had severe undiagnosed Hashimoto's for over 15 years..had 3 nervous breakdowns in that time...was on super high dose of anti-depressants.... I could no longer look after my kids..they went to my ex-husband (who promptly branded me a drug addict!)
Once I kicked butt and REALLY forced the doctors to listen, it was too late...my Hashimoto's had pretty much killed off my thyroid and I also had a pre-cancer in it.
   So, my psychiatrist finally after 8 years admitted he knew little about the connection. He now tests ALL his new clients for thryoid disease.
It's amazing having spoken to a triage psychiatric nurse how many people he sees who are thryoid patients and on wrong dosages, or people with sever mental illness have replacement medication and are perfectly fine...with no artificial brain drugs!
  As ChitChat says, Vit D can cause some problems too. Mine were way low...so even though I now take Vit D, my severe depression way back when was definitely the Hashimoto's going through the dance of hypo to hyper regularly.  I do feel better though taking the Vit D!
Avatar universal
I feel your pain and I am so sorry you are going through this. YOU are NOT alone.

My story:

Feb 2009 went into get hormones checked, the only symptom/complaint I went in for was fatigue/feeling really run down...however I work nights and I'm never on the same sleep schedule, etc. He checked hormones and also thyroid panel and told me I was hypothyroid---new to me. I looked at the labs and I was in range so I asked him why he wanted to treat me--TSH was 3.9, Free T4 normal, Free T3 low normal. NO other symptoms.

He is an NP that works with an MD at a holistic medical practice and they "always" give their patients Lugol's iodine and Armour. I asked about side effects, told "none" and that I would have more energy, feel better, etc. HA!!

This kind gentleman introduced me to Hashi He// by giving me iodine. 5 days after taking the iodine my neck started feeling really swollen, like I had a large lump in my throat ALL the time. Talk about anxiety!! I was freaking out, called him, researched that you can put someone into an acute autoimmune attack by giving them excess iodine if they have Hashi's. I demanded to be tested and sure enough, very high antibodies for Hashi's. FEAR, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, CRYING ALL THE TIME, joint pain, strange numbness, tingling, burning sensations all over my body, WEAKNESS, so tired, the list goes on and on. It has been the worst thing I've ever been through.

Because of all my symptoms they thought I might have MS, so I had a brain MRI and a spinal tap too!! Talk about stress and anxiety.

I tried steroids, NSAIDS, 3 different thyroid medications and I was still feeling awful and after three months of having my thyroid swollen and compressing on my throat I decided to have a total thyroidectomy. I saw 3 different doctors who all said it may or may not shrink and it was making my life miserable, let alone all the other symptoms. I took all my frustration out on my husband, cried all the time, it was awful. I don't even know how he could stand to be around me because I hated to be around me.

Almost 3 weeks ago I had my TT and the first two weeks were hard, still crying a lot and lots of anxiety. The pathology report showed "lymphocytic thyroiditis with multiple benign nodules." I was happy to see no cancer and glad I took it out since they did not see the nodules on the ultrasound.

Feeling like a basket case, I just went to my family doc and begged him to help me feel better. I definitely don't think pills are the answer for everything but he put me on Lexapro and I'm a totally different person. I have not cried in a week--that is HUGE for me. I've spent the last 3 months crying non-stop at the drop of  a hat--anything could set me off. I am feeling so much better than before the surgery, happier, active, exercising again, feel like getting out of the house, working, etc. I am getting my life back and I am so happy. I am on Synthroid and might try to add Cytomel later if needed. I have to wait at least a month before they want to draw labs.

I totally know where you are coming from. I could not see an end to the misery. It can and will get better. Take care of yourself and your BF, cry all you need to, keep coming for support, try to get a good family doc who will listen to you.


676032 tn?1315677663
Wow, they're some stories. I am on 100 mcg of eltroxin. I dont know much about it and maybe should look it up......
I to feel like I have a lump in my troath, like a trobbing sensation, my doctor doesn't really seem to concerned about it though. Mt tsh is at 4.33 and he said Im perfect now.. Then why don't I feel that way???? hmmmmm...  even though my neck isn't swollen, its feels that way, anyone understand???

I don't really mind the physical symptoms, its just the depression and anxiety. I never in my 21 years on this planet felt so low and useless. My attitude towards everything has changed,  its like I went from being this happy, out going person to a total wrecked, depressed and dry person.... Dont go out much anymore, friends getting annoyed now...

I was talking with my mom the last day and I told her I rather have my thyroid out than go through the up and down levels and put up with the anxiety! I know its hard at the start and your on meds for the rest of your life, but if it lets me see the light and the end of the tunnel rather than the light at the end of my life then its worth it!

My b/f has been great, my moods are terrible but he puts up with them.. I have explained that I may be like this for a while and he said its ok!!! Phew!!

Cheers for all thoesa stories, they do give me hope!
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed Graves with Hyperthyroidism, had 3 episodes of thyroid storm in 2 weeks after 12 months on ATDS. Was on a rollercoaster ride of hyper to hypo every 2 weeks.
RAI was scheduled and Thyca found 2 days before RAI.
Surgery was too risky at the time so RAI was June 27th 2008 and keyhole TT September 15th 2008.
I suffered with PTSD since the suicide of my husband in 1991 and Agoraphobia for 26 years.
The day I had RAI done, the agoraphobia went away, the panic attacks stopped, the anxiety eased to next to nothing.
The only time now that the anxiety returns is if I am Hypo or Hyper.
My TSH has to be at least between 2.3 - 3.0 to feel 'normal'.
Anything under or over that figure and the anxiety and tears come back with a vengeance.
Do I think thyroid issues cause Anxiety?
YOU bet they do!
I have returned to fulltime work , am now in the middle of changing jobs and start 2 new jobs in 2 weeks time.
I honestly beleived I would never work again!
Was I scared?
Scared as hell.....but pushed myself to do it.
And yes, I have been to he\\ and back many times and HAVE lost the plot many times...but hardly at all since I had RAI.
393685 tn?1425816122
Bi Polar disorders can be confused with thyroid issues. Many bi polars sufferers are T3 low and Free T3 (when decreased in the body) will bring on dementia and nervousness. The sad thing is many doctors look at bi polar or other "mental issues" as "the" issue and not look for "what" is causing it. Meds to stimulate the brain ( Xanax and others) are given to the person suffering anxiety instead of looking for the root cause. Really when these meds are given it imbalances more hormones to become ill.

Then as time goes by without proper Dx - other things fall out of whack. Vit D - B will imbalance. Magnesium depletion. Cortisol imbalance and GI issues.

It seems that people with hyper labs are taken care of - more quickly though - then people who tieter the hypoT levels. Usually people with hypot symptoms - with "normal" labs are given the story that "their depressed, stress, fat and fatigued" and given drugs to compensate that - then looking at a hormal imbalance. I was one of them prior to hyper Dx and I did take Xanax for 4 years solid to help me cope after being told I had Graves.

It doesn't matter so much on if you are hyper or hypo - Graves or Hashi. It's the balance of the hormones when something is off.  

Here's that body again, Telling us something is wrong, but finding it is key.

Some Dx'd anxiety/thyroid patients find that adding T3 meds or switching to a T3/T4 combo thyroid med ( when a doctor challenges this) decreases the mental instability we suffer and find they feel better on that - vs - anxiety drugs.

There is alot of information out there right now on Vit D. It seems to be the "Depletion of the Year" lately with doctors. It's nice to know they are looking at that now - since Vit d
( especially D3 is a HORMONE and not just a vitamin depletion. )

Looking back, anxiety was killing me. Seriosly, I was going to check out, throw in the towel, however you want to say it. I couldn't go the grocery store without going into sheer panic. NO LIE!  I was a mental vegetable for 4 years after RAI.

I have mild anxiety now - yesterday alone, I was roofing with my husband. I get a bit dizzy now and then need a break. I don't consider that really "anxiety" like what I felt before.

He// - I was up on a roof - for Pete's sake, where when I was really sufferering, I couldn't even take a shower before flipping out!

676032 tn?1315677663
Im so sorry bto hear about your husband, That alone must have been he//! Im so glad that the majority of these stories are success stories. I don't think you actually know what it feels like unless you go through it. No1 in my family realise what Im going through. which adds to it! So I strated terapy sessions 2 weeks ago, I lthink I need to get a release on my emotions and start opening up to someone who will listen.

I love working, its the only thing that keeps me sane... If I had to stay in my house al day everyday, then I think Id be signed in some where in a white jacked with pad locks on it, lol... But I have noticed that I get stress and annoyed very easily these days. And i am trying to control it...

So next app. Im going to chat about getting my thyroid removed.... see what doc. says!
Avatar universal
When I had asked about simply having my thyroid removed, rather than having the RAI done, he said most doctors prefer the RAI due the surgical removal being too invasive, unless someone has thyroid cancer.

Can someone explain more to me about the vitamin D connection?
Would simply taking OTC vitamin D supplements help?
793305 tn?1493929118
I think most of us take vitamin d supplements.  Probably calcium too, but you may want to have them tested to see if your low on either of them.  
Avatar universal
I take VitaminD/Calcium combined.
I found it a big help with levels, aches and pains and just general well being.
Although my labs showed Vitamin D was low.
Ive been on the horse tablet now for nearly a year lol
Sorry but in another posting, we were all commenting on just how BIGGGG those damn vitamins are!
And BOY do they stink!
Especially the B Vitamin lol.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the answers to my questions about vitamin D.
I can't take calcium supplements due to also having heart disease as well as kidney problems.  
I'm falling apart!  LOL
I'm not sure if my vitamin D levels have ever been taken, but even without labs, it wouldn't hurt to take it as a supplement, right?
Avatar universal
I take Calcium under the advice of 2 Cardio's and I have a heart murmur from birth, tachycardia, bradycardia ,mitral valve prolapse and also kidney stones. (well I passed 2 out of the 3 in the last 4 years) and have had no probs with urinary tract infections or more stones while taking the Vit. D/Calcium.
Sometimes its "damned if you do and damned if you dont" and I figured I wanted quality of life regardless of the kidney stones.
I counteract the kidney and stones with Cranberry Capsules which have been a lifesaver for me.
No UTI's since taking them in the last 11 months whereas before, I was getting on average 12 a year!
Worth mentioning......
Avatar universal
Interesting.  I was told, when I had one of my kidney stones "blasted" that I need to watch my calcium intake.  The doc was surprised I had three too-big-to-pass kidney stones since I've been on a calcium blocker for years now, as well as beta blockers in addition to a number of other cardiac meds.  All the cardiologist I've had through the years also told me to watch my calcium intake due to my blockages and family history.

ack, like you said, it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

I am going to try the vitamin D though.  Can't see any reason, nor have I heard any reason not to take it.  Hmmm, I just remembered my endo telling me to stay away from supplements, but I never asked him what supplements.  I'll have to remember to ask him which ones he's talking about when I see him again in August.
676032 tn?1315677663

Heres an article I read givine me hope that Im not going insane!

Theres hope for us yet!lol
212753 tn?1275076711
Yep thyroid disease can mimic mentall illnes. I am speaking as bi polar person that develped thyroid disease. I am of the opinion that anyone being dx with a mental disease should be automatically have their thyroids tested. AND the docs testing should be up to date on the latest in thyroid numbers.

I know when I was admitted to hospital for my bi polar the first time they drew lots of blood but I just figured it was to see if I was on drugs or  alchohal. Of course I knew nothing about thyroid then at the time other then I need iodine to keep from getting a goiter.( Self deprecating laugh here as I got one anyway)

Ater my second surgery I started to do research and I found bi polars are at greater risk for thyroid diseas and stories of people that never had a history of mental disease and begn to show signs. Dx depresseion and when the head meds dint show any improvement, then,  only then did they get tested for thyroid and viola!!! put on the right med  the deprssion or the bi polar orwhat ever they decided the problem was dissappeared.
Google thyroid/ mental disease and see what you come up with..

Just my 2 cents

Love Venora
Avatar universal
I think about all the people in the early 20th century who were put into mental asylums because of 'supposedly' mental problems when in actual fact...it just may have been thyroid issues.
Thats when I feel sad and try not to think about it.
676032 tn?1315677663
Its actually a known fact that thyroid disease mimics bi-polar.. with the mood changes and stuff. But maybe in different degrees in different people....

It has also got to do with GAD and OCD symptoms.... But docs wont admit it.. Its sad really.. if they open their minds a bit they could improve so many peoples live dramatically! I know I never felt like this untill my thyroid started acting up.. And thats a fact!
955035 tn?1246542772
HECK YES!!  I was about to drive myself to the straight to the mental unit right before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's last year.  Talk about mood swings...yikes!  It really was terrible.  I was literally scaring myself and felt like I had this "bad energy" surging through my body.  Come to find out through bloodwork my psychiatrist had ordered, I was HYPERthyroid and my increased anxiety, mood swings etc. were because I was in the middle of swinging between Hyper and Hypo.  I was going to see this psychiatrist at the recommendation of my therapist who had been treating my depression.  Prior to going into HYPER mode and not knowing that I had ANY kind of thyroid problem, I was exhausted, depressed and I just hurt all over.  I just thought it was being depressed, overweight and out of shape.  I'm glad to know that I wasn't crazy, but my thyroid was!  I am back to my good ole' Hypo symptoms now and am taking 125mcg of Levothyroxine daily.  My thyroid levels are improving, but I still feel crummy, sore and tired most of the time!  I'm a 31 female who feels 91!  And now its looking like my adrenal glands are being affected also.  My first DHEA Sulfate test taken in May was 489.  Going for a second test later this month...fingers crossed!
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