Feeling Anxious or Depressed? It Could be Your Thyroid

Your thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the front and center of your neck, is actually responsible for both your mental and physical health. In addition to affecting your weight, making you feel tired and sluggish, and throwing your hormones out of whack, a thyroid disorder can also make you experience depression and anxiety.   

Because over 20 million Americans experience thyroid disease, we at the offices of Terry Baker, MD in Idaho Falls, Idaho, want to make sure that you’re aware of the importance of testing for a thyroid condition. So, we’ve composed this helpful guide to articulate on why you may want to get your thyroid checked if you’re feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety. 

What is a thyroid condition?

This two-inch long, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the front of your neck is part of your endocrine system, and it’s responsible for your metabolism. It also regulates your heart rate and breathing, your energy level, your body temperature, and your menstruation.

When you have a thyroid disorder, your thyroid is either producing insufficient or exorbitant levels of hormones. Here are some common thyroid conditions:

Hypothyroidism - Your thyroid is underactive. You feel lethargic and find it hard to lose weight. You may even gain weight. Depression is not uncommon. 

Hyperthyroidism - Your thyroid is overactive, causing your heart to race, and your weight to drop. Symptoms include weakness, irritability, and restlessness.

Goiter - This is a lump that forms in your neck from inflammation, usually caused by a lack of iodine in your diet.

Nodules - These are multiple little lumps that form in your neck, which are caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormone. 

Autoimmune disease - Most common in middle-aged women, autoimmune disorders, like Hashimoto’s disease and Graves disease, cause your body to attack its own perfectly healthy cells, specifically those on your thyroid. 

Thyroid conditions affect your mental health

Studies have shown that patients who have psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression also have abnormal levels of hormones on their thyroid tests. When your body underproduces certain thyroid hormones, you can feel sluggish and depressed. 

When your body overproduces thyroid hormones and your metabolism rapidly increases, you can become irritable, hyperactive, and even manic. You may also begin to experience symptoms of anxiety. 

Pregnant women can also experience postpartum thyroid disease, which is a condition that comes temporarily after a woman has given birth. Postpartum thyroid disease can lower your thyroid’s production of hormones, causing postpartum depression as well.  

Take charge of both your mental and physical health and call us to make an appointment today.   

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