Depression and the thyroid gland: how this gland affects mood and how to restore emotional balance

Hypothyroidism, caused by insufficient production of thyroid hormones, can cause symptoms such as depression, fatigue and low mood – (Illustrative image by Infobae)

thyroid is the “chief controller” metabolism and plays a key role in health and wellness. It is shaped like a butterfly, and its main task is to produce thyroid hormones, release them into the blood and thus reach the entire body, where they participate in almost all systems.

Doctor Maria F. Russo PicassoHead of the Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nuclear Medicine Service at the Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, explained Information numerous tasks of this gland: “The thyroid gland is located on the front surface of the neck and its function synthesize hormonesmostly thyroxine (T4) and some of triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones have ubiquitous and widespread functions, including: regulate body temperature And metabolism nutrients, cardiac function, intestinal motilityHe menstrual cycle among women. They also regulate intellectual functioning, sleep and aspects of mood.”

Thus, when the thyroid gland does not function properly, it affects not only the body, but also the well-being.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common psychological symptoms of changes in this hormone include: anxiety or depression. “In general, the more severe the thyroid disease, the greater the mood changes,” the entity stated.

Hyperthyroidism, caused by excess production of thyroid hormones, can manifest as anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, tachycardia, palpitations, tremors and increased intestinal transit.

How are thyroid function and emotions related? Dr. Rousseau Picasso said: “For example, one of the symptoms insufficient levels of circulating hormones (hypothyroidism) may be associated with depression, avolition, anhedonia and decreased libido, while excess thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) may be accompanied by syndromes anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, insomnia; In more severe cases, thyroid disease can even provoke episodes of psychosis“, the expert warned.

From my side, Dr. Maria Victoria Ortuñoa staff endocrinologist at the German Hospital of Buenos Aires, described how changes in thyroid function occur in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism:

“He hypothyroidism This is a condition in which the production of thyroid hormone decreases. In other words, the thyroid gland hypoactive. In this case, symptoms such as depression, mood swings and asthenia (fatigue) may occur. Other signs and symptoms may include: constipation, muscle weakness, fluid retention, menstrual cycle changes, dry skin, hair loss, hoarseness, and others.

Hypothyroidism causes symptoms such as constipation, muscle weakness, fluid retention, changes in the menstrual cycle, dry skin and hair loss (iStock).

On the other side, hyperthyroidism refers to a condition in which excess thyroid hormone is produced. “In this case, the thyroid gland hyperactive. In this situation, symptoms may arise that are more related to anxiety, melancholy, insomnia and even panic attacks. In addition, other signs and symptoms may be: tachycardia, palpitations, tremor, increased intestinal transit, visual disturbances and others,” the doctor said.

However, Rousseau Picasso emphasized that The relationship between thyroid hormones and mood disorders is not linearsince it depends on many circumstances, both physiological and psychosocial, in addition to hormonal levels.

“On the other hand, mood disorders associated with thyroid dysfunction are accompanied by a variety of other symptoms and clinical signs reflecting the impact of these dysfunctions on other systems (heart function, skin, weight, etc.). However, when faced with a mood disorder, it is extremely important exclude organic causesamong them are thyroid dysfunction, which can also reduce the response to pharmacological treatment, such as depression,” said a doctor from an Italian hospital.

The expert emphasized that the cause of depression is broader than abnormal hormonal levels. “Not all patients with thyroid hormone problems experience mood changes. The effect will depend on the hormonal background; the more pronounced the deviation from the norm, both positive and negative, the greater the likelihood that the patient has some kind of disorder. psycho-emotional symptom, but it also depends on many other aspects. “A patient whose thyroid hormone levels are outside the normal range may not feel anything unusual,” the endocrinologist said.

Endocrinological treatment of thyroid dysfunction is based on restoring normal hormonal levels, using levothyroxine for hypothyroidism and drugs that suppress hormone production for hyperthyroidism – (Illustrative image by Infobae)

In accordance with Mexican Society of Nutrition and EndocrinologyMany of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid are psychological and “must be treated with medication to control the gland and with the guidance of a physician to help the patient cope and understand the disease.”

For this reason they consider it very important to have timely diagnosis and “if you are experiencing depression for the first time, see your doctor to have your thyroid gland checked with laboratory tests to rule out any problems with the gland.”

From an endocrinological point of view, treatment is based on restore normal hormonal levels.

“If the patient hypothyroidisma dose of synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine, one oral dose per day. If the patient hyperthyroidism, medications are indicated that slow the production of thyroid hormones until they reach normal levels. Although hormonal levels must be normal for psychotropic drugs to act adequately, Psycho-emotional disorders are not always corrected only by hormonal treatment.. “Every patient with a psychoemotional disorder needs a careful and comprehensive examination to determine the appropriate treatment from a broader point of view than the endocrinological aspect,” Rousso Picasso said.

Psycho-emotional disorders caused by changes in the thyroid gland require a comprehensive examination and often joint treatment with psychologists and psychiatrists (Freepik)

Coincidentally, Dr. Ortuño emphasized, “It is important to monitor thyroid function to ensure the correct dose. Treatment is carried out in combination with psychologist and psychiatrist Always evaluate other causes of depression.”

Dr. Ortuño recommended a healthy lifestyle, a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, reducing the consumption of alcohol and other toxins and getting plenty of rest.. “This is general advice for thyroid patients and everyone!” – he emphasized.

For Dr. Maria F. Russo Picasso, “the most important thing, scientifically and epidemiologically proven, is good iodine intake for proper thyroid function. Iodine deficiency in the population is the cause congenital hypothyroidism, which implies delayed maturation (cretinism). For this reason in Argentina This contribution is guaranteed by law by iodizing all salt consumed by man” (Ognativia Law, 1964).

In natural sources Seaweed, chard, spinach and arugula are rich in iodine.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet rich in iodine, regular exercise, adequate rest and avoiding stress is essential for thyroid health and overall health (illustrative image by Infobae)

Dr. Rousseau Picasso emphasized that “ balanced and varied diet And low in saturated fat Overall this is a healthy measure; There are no specific foods to avoid nor dietary and vitamin supplements, which have been shown to be effective in preventing the development of hyper- or hypothyroidism, the most common cause of which is autoimmune”.

The expert added that stress It’s been called a hyperthyroidism trigger, and “anti-stress measures help in this aspect, as in many others, but it’s not linear,” he noted.

Relaxation, rest, meditation, relaxation techniques and enjoyable activities (dancing, painting…) can prevent excess stress hormones and help you regain calm.

Dr. Russo Picasso concluded: “It must be taken into account that when a person takes medications, many of them interfere with the function of the thyroid gland, either at the level of glandular synthesis or at the level of absorption of the synthetic hormone that is indicated for the treatment of hypothyroidism. In this case, it is important that the patient informs his doctor about this, as well as his personal and family history of thyroid pathology, so that he can make a choice. the most suitable medicine

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