Could Hypothyroidism Be at the Root of Some Mental Problems?
The American Medical Women’s Association says that about 13 million Americans suffer from a thyroid disorder, and about half of those people don’t even realize it. The Clinical Diabetes journal also notes that hypothyroidism, a condition where the body’s thyroid gland does not produce adequate hormones, is the most common type of thyroid disorder.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
WebMD says that symptoms frequently include an intolerance to cold temperatures, dry hair and nails, feeling tired and having memory problems. Depression can result too, and recently, a website called HypothyroidMom.com began an initiative for urging thyroid tests in mental hospitals. A contributor there asserts that an undiagnosed thyroid problem could be the reason behind some mental issues, and ultimately lead to overprescription of treatments such as electroshock therapy or pharmaceutical interventions.
Hypothyroidism May Be At Play
The campaign has the support of Dr. Kent Holtorf, the director of a non-profit organization called the National Academy of Hypothyroidism. Holtorf notes that when patients struggle with depression or bipolar disorder, the problem may be partially linked to an undiagnosed thyroid disorder. Also, he cautions that these type of thyroid problems aren’t always immediately evident through an exam.
Hashimoto’s Disease Could Complicate Matters
A blog posting on HypothyroidMom.com looks more deeply at the possibility of hyporthyroidism being connected with mental problems by suggesting that Hashimoto’s disease could also be a factor. Hashimoto’s disease is an immune disorder where the body creates antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. This process creates inflammation, which can then trigger a hypothyroidism problem. The Mayo Clinic says that Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.
In 2002, a study from the Netherlands found that antibodies associated with Hashimoto’s disease were found at higher levels in patients with bipolar disorder, in comparison to a control group. It’s worth noting that bipolar patients are commonly treated with lithium, which can also contribute to a hypothyroidism diagnosis. However, in the study from the Netherlands, researchers concluded that lithium exposure did not encourage the prevalence of the Hashimoto’s antibodies in those participants.
Testing is Quick and Can Establish a Baseline
If some of these possible connections have caused you to feel concerned, don’t worry. Hypothyroid testing is easily accessible, and can be performed in a doctor’s office or local testing center. Since genetics can play a role, a practitioner may request a thorough medical history. After that, the disorder is commonly diagnosed with blood tests. Results are available quickly and offer an insight into baseline levels. If hormone replacement therapy is recommended, the tests will be repeated periodically to determine whether methods are working or if further alterations are necessary.
Although the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be very troublesome, it’s easy to receive a diagnosis and begin taking the proper measures to combat issues. The blood tests can be done in minutes, and the procedure is similar to a standard blood draw.
Get more informed about your mental health today and ask your doctor to perform a thyroid test. Alternatively, order the test confidentially by visiting a health testing center. Having knowledge is always better than being unaware, especially when it comes to a disorder like hypothyroidism that can interfere with quality of life.