Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to make enough thyroid hormone and can leave far-reaching consequences throughout the body. The thyroid hormone is responsible for maintaining the proper functioning of every organ in the body. However, abnormal levels can result in anxiety and depression. Though, it is hard to distinguish between hypothyroidism and depression sometimes since both have a strong association.
In actuality, the thyroid hormone impacts the central nervous system, which is the root cause of anxiety and depression. A decline in this specific hormone’s level might change neurotransmitters in your brain, thus impacting your mood and inducing a constant feeling of irritability and sadness.
Various clinical research organizations in the US are advancing in the domain of endocrinology, which can significantly improve the lives of individuals with hypothyroidism.
In this blog, we will delve into the specifics of how hypothyroidism impacts mental wellness, its symptoms, and its root causes, along with appropriate management tips.
How Does Hypothyroidism Affect Mental Health?
The various effects of having hypothyroidism involve the feelings of being tired, forgetful, and constantly down even on a regular day without any external factor or influence. It is quite common to experience symptoms of mental illness with hypothyroidism.
You may experience changes in mood, cognition, and overall mental well-being. Additionally, you may also face difficulties with concentration, memory, and processing speed. This, in turn, disturbs the quality, interpersonal and social interactions, and most importantly, your motivation to complete regular tasks in your life. Nevertheless, effective management is still possible with proper medication and certain lifestyle changes. Now, Let’s move on to the symptoms without any further delay.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Anxiety
First, understand that a dysfunctional thyroid gland can lead to anxiety which is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The symptoms of anxiety due to hypothyroidism are mentioned below:
- Feeling anxious or restless
- Stomach upset
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleeping disorder
- Elevated sense of fear
- Constant worrying
If you have ever experienced any of the above symptoms, you may consider getting your thyroid hormone levels checked.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Depression
Hypothyroidism often shows severe signs of depression by reducing your energy or physical stamina. A visible decline in brain functioning which ultimately gives rise to depression. Here is the list of some commonly seen symptoms:
- Elevated sadness
- Reduced physical movements
- Weight gain or loss
- Constant tiredness
- Low energy levels
- Poor concentration
- Increased sadness
When depression and hypothyroidism are combined, even simple things like work or exercise can become quite a task. Due to low levels of energy, you will eventually feel isolated and will want to spend time alone. As a result of this, your symptoms may get worse.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There can be both primary and secondary causes of hypothyroidism. A primary cause involves a direct effect on the thyroid causing decreased thyroid production. Whereas, the secondary cause involves failure of the pituitary gland, which prevents the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from reaching the thyroid gland.
The causes of hypothyroidism include:
- Hereditary conditions
- Iodine deficiency
- Inflammation of the thyroid
- Postpartum thyroiditis
- Viral illness
How Can It Be Treated?
If the cause of depression is a direct result of thyroid disorder, then treating hypothyroidism should be your first priority. Treatment involves medication, certain changes in lifestyle, and some modifications in diet. Besides, a few relaxation techniques and changes in routine can significantly improve the quality of your life.
Synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy such as levothyroxine, is often used as an effective treatment for hypothyroidism. That said, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider to ensure safety before taking medication for hypothyroidism and depression simultaneously.
However, testing for hypothyroidism is easy and straightforward. You can visit the nearest diagnostic laboratory to get a simple blood test done.
How To Manage Hypothyroidism Naturally
Fortunately, there are different management tips and strategies to take control of your condition alongside taking medication. However, consider incorporating these to reduce the symptoms naturally.
First, it is highly advised to get at least 7 to 8 hours of good-quality sleep each night. Adequate sleep can progressively improve your mental well-being and eliminate your symptoms.
Moving your body regularly to raise your heart rate can result in managing your depression and anxiety symptoms. Therefore, it is highly suggested to exercise regularly for at least thirty minutes per day.
Try Relaxation Techniques:
Incorporating deep breathing and massage into your daily routine can also significantly help in lessening the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Hence, these simple yet effective techniques can prove beneficial.
Plan Your Tasks:
By planning your tasks each day wisely, you enhance your capacity to focus on things that require your full attention. Try breaking your tasks into small parts to prevent restlessness and constant anxiety.
Taking Vitamin B supplements:
It is essential to take certain vitamin supplements that can have a significant effect on your condition. Low levels of thyroid hormones can negatively influence your body’s B-12 levels and reduce your ability to perform tasks. Therefore, you may also consider consuming asparagus, sesame seeds, tuna, peas, and beans in your diet to increase B-12 levels.
It also serves as an effective technique to improve mood, hence, if you are experiencing any such instability, you may opt for light therapy.
If you start increasing your spiritual practices, such as prayer, you will start seeing visible differences in no time.
It is important to first consult your healthcare provider to craft a proper meal plan. However, you may consider consuming eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry, seafood, iodized salt, and edible seaweed which greatly consist of iodine. Moreover, eating food rich in iodine can effectively help increase your hormone levels.
By combining all the aforementioned tips, you will eventually notice visible improvement in your condition over time. This will also contribute towards a reduction in overall stress, anxiety and depression.
As we move towards the end, it is essential to keep taking your thyroid hormone replacement alongside lifestyle and dietary modifications. Sometimes hypothyroidism can take a serious toll on your mental well-being. It can affect your mood and impair daily life activities as a whole.
The thyroid gland is and will continue to be the foundation of the human body and even any minute inconvenience can lead to a serious issue, thus, to truly eradicate the symptoms, and embrace a life without anxiety and stress, it is extremely important to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Always remember, if stress persists, then so does hope. In order to fully manage and cope with your condition, you may also consider participating in primary hypothyroidism clinical trials which can be a good option for you!