Thyroid depression, anxiety and brain fog are some of the mood swings and psychological symptoms that a large number of women struggle with.
Since other thyroid symptoms as heavy periods (irregular or absent), weight gain (loss) and fertility problems are often more disturbing; poor mental wellness is not something that a patient pays much attention to.
Ignorance, lack of attention and acceptance often result in delayed care and worsening relationships. Thyroid patients often find themselves disconnected with their own life and with their loved ones.
That’s why it is really important that the patient and their family members are aware of the thyroid mental wellness challenges.
While thyroid patient can take care of their mental health through stress relieving and mood elevating activities; their family members and support can help them and encourage them in their healing journey.
Let’s take a look into how thyroid affects your mood and what can you do about it. Let’s get started!
How does Thyroid affect your Mental Health?
The effects can either be direct or indirect. In fact, some thyroid disorders can act like they are actually psychiatric disorders. These seen disorders can range from depression to anxiety to even psychosis! Here’s what usually happens:
If you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), you may experience:
On the other hand, if you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), you may experience:
Let’s take a better look at thyroid and poor mental wellness symptoms:
1. Thyroid Depression
Depression frequently occurs in hypothyroidism, where 40% of patients are said to suffer from some form of it. It can also happen in hyperthyroidism. About 31–69% patients of overactive thyroid present with depressive disorders. Aside from depression, wild mood swings also occur.
You know, thyroid disorders and depression share so many symptoms. So much so that the doctors sometimes ignore the fact that a depressed person might also have thyroid hormone imbalance.
When you’re depressed, you feel fatigued and sluggish, your heart beats slower, you’re colder, concentrating is a problem, your skin gets yellow, you suffer constipation, etc. The list goes on and on. The interesting thing here is that most, if not all of these things, are also seen in hypothyroidism.
The only way to be sure is to test the levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
2. Thyroid Anxiety
About 60% of people with hyperthyroidism present with anxiety disorders. It is also significantly present in hypothyroidism.
Anxiety can result from the interaction of the malfunctioning thyroid with the rest of the body. Alternatively, it can arise due to worries concerning how you will manage your symptoms.
You could get anxious because you’re worried about taking your medications at the exact time. You could worry what you had for lunch wouldn’t worsen your symptoms. Your worry could also be that you are struggling without success to lose weight.
Anxiety can also arise when you are disturbed by all the other symptoms including hair loss, skin problems, etc.
3. Brain Fog and Lack of Focus
Do you remember that hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism? Metabolism is the sum total of all organic processes in your body that are necessary to life.
If your metabolism slows down, everything is affected, including your brain. Consequently, you suffer from a foggy brain. As your body is sluggish, so is your mind also sluggish.
When this happens, you may find that:
- It is difficult for you to think clearly
- You have trouble making decisions
- Your memory is just so poor, etc.
This could also be a sign of hypothyroidism playing games with your mental health.
4. Psychosis in Thyroid Disorders
Psychosis is a mental disorder in which a person has a deranged personality and a distorted view of reality. It could also occur due to physical damage to the brain though.
In psychosis, problems that present include:
- Hallucinations-hearing voices and seeing things
- Paranoia-excessive worry
Psychosis doesn’t show up till after a year or months after the physical symptoms of hypothyroidism have been seen.
Here is an interesting thought: the severity of the psychosis that a patient experiences, does not depend on the degree of imbalance in the thyroid hormones.
5. Cognitive Problems
Cognition is the sum of your perceptions, learning, and reasoning.
Thyroid deficiency can lead to a decline in cognition. This shows up as memory problems and has been linked to dementia. Thankfully, though, if dementia is caused as a result of thyroid deficiency, it is reversible. However, that is only if it is identified and treated on time.
6. Thyroid and your relationships
Hypothyroidism can indirectly affect your mental health by affecting your relationships.
This can be because you are depressed initially and can’t relate well with others. In a more intimate relationship, your relationship can be hurt by a lowered sex drive.
Ruined relationships can also in turn affect your mental health.
Thyroid Mood Swings Self Care Tips
Healthy relationships are key to our mental wellness, however when we are not feeling good, it is hard to maintain our sanity. Often, we end up being angry or disconnected with our loved ones. However, this can create more harm for your Thyroid and for your relationships going forward.
Here’s how you can take control of your mental health and protect your relationships despite Thyroid Depression, Anxiety and Mood Swings.
When you feel that anger and irritation, try not to take it out on your loved ones. Practice breathing exercises (pranayama), take a break from what you were doing, and just take a few minutes to relax.
It will really help you to put your emotions and thoughts into perspective. And of course save your relationship with your loved ones!
Anticipation is a big bummer! How to avoid the after effects of anticipation? When it’s about your actions, do a bit of planning ahead and avoid last minute anxiety.
And when things are not in your hands, then let it go! Don’t keep thinking about it all the time. Divert your attention with other productive tasks.
Control physical stress by avoiding excessive exercising and too much work. And control emotional stress by avoiding stressful events and people in your life.
If you still have to face them, then learn to ignore and move on as stress won’t help you out. Another way to handle stress is by engaging in calming activities to promote your threshold to stress.
Depression is actually a Kapha imbalance in Ayurveda. Handle it by stimulating your brain and body with something new and slightly challenging.
It will open up new pathways of creativity and interest that was hiding in the darkness.
Drawing it all up!
Whenever you struggle with mood swings, depression, anxiety and poor mental wellness symptoms then do not take it lightly. Remember, many of them can’t be confirmed without taking the actual test.
Don’t go taking antidepressants when all you need to do is proper treatment of your Thyroid problems. Do not treat anxiety when the real problem is hypothyroidism.
Now you have seen how thyroid disorders affect your mental health, it is important that you do not ignore it. Keep in mind that early detection is key to restore your body back to the optimum state of health that it deserves.