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Thyroid & Mood

When the thyroid is imbalanced, men
often experience mood disorders

Thyroid & Mood

When the thyroid is
imbalanced, men
often experience
mood disorders

Thyroid imbalance and mood disorders in men

Summary:

  • The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck.
  • It produces two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
  • These hormones are required for all the cells in your body to work efficiently, regulating your metabolism, heartbeat, energy levels, temperature, digestion, even affecting how you think and feel.
  • If the thyroid produces too many (hyperthyroidism) or too few (hypothyroidism) hormones, people often experience mood disorders, which can be relieved by thyroid medications.
  • For years, psychiatrists and doctors have used thyroid medication to treat mood disorders. Queen Victoria’s court physician, Sir William Withey Gull, is the first to be attributed with the connection [1] between thyroid and mood back in 1867.

Wondering if you may be suffering from low thyroid levels? Take a free hormone assessment to see if hormone replacement therapy can help.

What are mood disorders?

  • Depression: Losing interest in daily activities along with feelings of sadness and a loss of hope. If these feelings last for two weeks or longer, this could indicate the onset of depression.
  • Dysthymia: This is a low-grade depressed state or irritable mood that lasts for two years at least.
  • Bipolar disorder: People living with bipolar disorder usually have periods of highs and lows. They often exhibit phases of depression and then extreme highs typified by signs of mania.
  • Mood disorders associated with illness: Cancer, injury, arthritis, infections, and many chronic diseases can often cause depression.
  • Substance-induced mood disorder: Medicines, toxins, illegal drugs, and alcohol can all cause symptoms of depression.
  • Mood disorders related to significant events: Significant life events can cause depression, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), divorce, career setbacks, or witnessing tragic events.

What causes thyroid problems?

There are several causes of thyroid problems, but usually, it is due to an autoimmune response – this is when your body’s immune system goes into self-destruct mode, attacking the thyroid, thinking it is a foreign body. This attack causes the thyroid to slow the production of thyroid hormones, and symptoms may develop. It is common for thyroid problems to be hereditary, so if a family member suffers from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, there is a chance you will too. Notably, the most common disorder is an underactive thyroid which is often easy to correct using medications.

Grave’s disease and chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) are autoimmune diseases of the thyroid gland. The cause of grave’s disease is when TSH receptors located on the thyroid gland react to an antibody known as TSH receptor antibody (TRAb). This antibody causes an increase in the thyroid hormone T4 and T4. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the exact opposite. Thyroid function slows due to a TSH stimulation-blocking antibody (TSBAb) which blocks the action of TSH hormone and subsequently damages and causes shrinkage to the thyroid gland.

Can low thyroid cause depression?

When the thyroid isn’t working efficiently, people often develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. These types of mood disorders are common for those with either an underactive or overactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism, in particular, can affect your ability to ‘think straight,’ affecting your mood and often causing depression. Reduced thyroid hormones cause reduced cognitive reasoning, and mental processing slows down. Over time this constant reduction in hormones can cause depression and even symptoms of dementia. Studies show [2] that psychiatric symptoms and disorders frequently occur in patients with thyroid dysfunction.

Studies [3] support theories that dysfunction in the hypothalamus-pituitary thyroid axis (HPT) can lead to depression. This neuroendocrine system is triggered by a chain reaction of events starting in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus’s primary role is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland.

The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), signaling the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormones, which then tells the thyroid to release T3, T4, and calcitonin. The thyroid hormones are then taken around the body in the blood to do their work. However, problems can occur anywhere along this pathway, ultimately decreasing thyroid hormone production and causing symptoms of depression.

Even slight changes in thyroid hormone levels can also negatively impact the area of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in your ability to learn and to maintain memory function. The hippocampus is rich in thyroid hormone receptors involved in learning and memory. Evidence shows [4] this area of the brain even shrinks if thyroid hormones are lacking.

Any chemical change caused by a hormone imbalance can cause mood disorder symptoms, including:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Depression
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Memory issues
  • Learning problems
  • Speech problems

 

Thyroid problems and anxiety

People usually associate hyperthyroidism with anxiety, nervous tendencies, and erratic behavior. Many don’t realize that anxiety is also a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Studies [5] show that people are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety if they have hypothyroidism than those without the condition and that thyroid disorders cause nearly a third of all anxiety disorders.

If you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), common mood-related symptoms include:
  • Excessive nervousness
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Anxiety
If you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), mood-related symptoms can include:
  • Mild to severe fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

 

Antidepressants and thyroid

Common antidepressant drugs such as many SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) reduce [6] thyroid hormone production. Other drugs such as lithium, a common medication for those with bipolar, significantly reduce levels, preventing the production of T3 and T4. Those taking lithium are far more likely to develop hypothyroidism. Interestingly, studies also show that 28% of those with bipolar disorder already have hypothyroidism, showing the close link between the thyroid and depression.

With most antidepressant medications once stopped, thyroid function usually returns to normal unless the patient has clinical hypothyroidism.

Thyroid medication and testosterone

It’s common for men to suffer from low thyroid and low testosterone in tandem. The symptoms are very similar, and here at Male Excel, we test thyroid hormones and testosterone levels to make sure we can offer the most effective treatment possible.

Much the same as testosterone, thyroid levels naturally decline with age, so the older you become, the less ‘protection’ you get from your hormones. Your mood can suffer, and depression can follow. The best form of defense is to optimize your hormone levels to avoid any decline in the first place. If you already have low thyroid and testosterone, it’s still possible to optimize levels to restore the balance. The benefits of thyroid treatment, along with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), can give you that boost in mood you may desperately need.

Benefits of thyroid treatment include but are not limited to:

  • Improved energy and sleep
  • Faster metabolism
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Weight loss
  • Better mood
  • More focus and motivation
  • Improved libido

 

How to test for imbalanced thyroid

Our at-home test kit is the best way to check if thyroid medication and BHRT could help optimize your hormone levels. We check free T3, which is the best indicator of thyroid health, testosterone, DHEA’s, estradiol, and PSA (prostate-specific androgen), all the most essential hormones for overall optimal health.

Internal and external factors can cause mood disorders. By optimizing your hormones and leading an active, healthy lifestyle, you will fuel your body. You will give yourself all it needs to rejuvenate your mental state of mind and your physical appearance.

It’s time to replenish your hormone levels and start living a happier, healthier life.

 

Wondering if you may be suffering from low thyroid levels? Take a free hormone assessment to see if hormone replacement therapy can help.

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Studies and References:

[1] Pearce JM. Myxoedema and Sir William Withey Gull (1816-1890). J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2006 May;77(5):639. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2005.082198. PMID: 16614024; PMCID: PMC2117466. [2] Bathla M, Singh M, Relan P. Prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among patients with hypothyroidism. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Jul-Aug;20(4):468-74. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.183476. PMID: 27366712; PMCID: PMC4911835. [3] Fischer S, Ehlert U. Hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis functioning in anxiety disorders. A systematic review. Depress Anxiety. 2018 Jan;35(1):98-110. doi: 10.1002/da.22692. Epub 2017 Oct 24. PMID: 29064607. [4] Cooke GE, Mullally S, Correia N, O’Mara SM, Gibney J. Hippocampal volume is decreased in adults with hypothyroidism. Thyroid. 2014 Mar;24(3):433-40. doi: 10.1089/thy.2013.0058. Epub 2014 Feb 24. PMID: 24205791. [5] Siegmann EM, Müller HHO, Luecke C, Philipsen A, Kornhuber J, Grömer TW. Association of Depression and Anxiety Disorders With Autoimmune Thyroiditis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 1;75(6):577-584. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0190. Erratum in: JAMA Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 19;: PMID: 29800939; PMCID: PMC6137529. [6] Kupka RW, Nolen WA, Post RM, McElroy SL, Altshuler LL, Denicoff KD, Frye MA, Keck PE Jr, Leverich GS, Rush AJ, Suppes T, Pollio C, Drexhage HA. High rate of autoimmune thyroiditis in bipolar disorder: lack of association with lithium exposure. Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Feb 15;51(4):305-11. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(01)01217-3. PMID: 11958781. Lai J, Xu D, Peterson BS, Xu Y, Wei N, Zhang M, Hu S. Reversible Fluoxetine-Induced Hyperthyroidism: A Case Report. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2016 Jan-Feb;39(1):60-1. doi: 10.1097/WNF.0000000000000116. PMID: 26626429; PMCID: PMC4714632. Joffe RT. Hormone treatment of depression. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011;13(1):127-38. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2011.13.1/rjoffe. PMID: 21485752; PMCID: PMC3181966.