Psychiatric Manifestations In Thyroid Patients: Written by Douglas Bremner MD
YIKES! I’m going COMPLETELY BANANAS and I don’t know WHY??
I think that people are following me in the street… I fly off the handle and scream at my kids…
I lock myself in my house for days at a time… I feel so low I feel like someone needs to scrape me off the floor… I can’t think… My brain is in a fog…
What the hell is going ON WITH ME?
And I was doing fine. I was TOTALLY NORMAL AND HAPPY.
I went to doctor after doctor. They just thought I was NUTS. They gave me antidepressants. Then one of them did some blood tests, just to get me off their back.
They said I had a problem with my THYROID.
I mean, WTF?
(Well at least my psychiatrist will get something out of this. As in… um, fees)
A lot of people don’t know it, but Dr. Robert Graves, who was the first to describe several cases of women with bulging eyes (exopthalmos) and swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck, also described nervous dysfunction, and noticed that women with the disease named after him developed it after suffering a severe stress.
The reason WHY you are going nuts is because there are things on your brain cells called receptors that trap thyroid hormone. If you have Grave’s Disease or one of the other autoimmune thyroid disorders your body is seeing these guys as foreigners and making antibodies to them, which screws up your brain function. Or if you get too much of the thyroid hormone, similar problem. All of the endocrine systems where the hormone goes into the cell and modifies your genetic expression can make you nuts if you get too much or they get screwed up (steroids, androgens, thyroid, Vitamin A).
Now we know that almost all patients with thyroid disease will meet criteria for a psychiatric disorder at some point. And the others will probably suffer from anxiety, irritability, hypomania, and/or cognitive problems.
One third of patients with untreated Grave’s disease have depression and one half an anxiety disorder. Untreated Grave’s disease is associated with cognitive dysfunction and sometimes psychosis. With treatment, symptoms of anxiety and depression improve, although symptoms may continue, which are thought to be related to antithyroid antibodies in the circulation that are part of the disease.
So make sure to tell your family and friends. I’M not nuts. It’s my THYROID!
Read more here…
Stern RA, Robinson B, Thorner AR, Arruda JE, Prohaska ML, Prange AJ (1996). “A survey study of neuropsychiatric complaints in patients with Graves’ disease”. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 8 (2): 181–5. PMID 9081554.
Bunevicius R, Prange AJ (2006). “Psychiatric manifestations of Graves’ hyperthyroidism: pathophysiology and treatment options”. CNS Drugs 20 (11): 897–909. PMID 17044727.
J. Douglas Bremner, MD
physician, researcher and author of
‘Before You Take That Pill: Why the Drug Industry May be Bad for Your Health: Risks and Side Effects You Won’t Find on the Label of Commonly Prescribed Drugs, Vitamins and Supplements,’
Before You Take That Pill, Douglas Bremner MD’s website and Blog. Follow Douglas on Twitter.
Tags: antithyroid antibiodies, anxiety, autoimmune thyroid disorders affecting brain function, cognitive problems, depression, Dr. Douglas Bremner, endocrine systems hormones, guest blogger, hypomania, I'm not nuts, irritability, my thyroid is, psychiatric disorders thyroid