Hypothyroidism and Anxiety

Hypothyroidism and AnxietyI had a goiter and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at age 15. I also started having frequent panic attacks around that age- however I had symptoms of anxiety well before that. I am wondering if there is a correlation between hypothyroidism and anxiety.

When I was in my early 20’s I was given the diagnosis Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I wasn’t given an explanation for what it was, and I never really thought about it much back then.

I’ve had to get my blood levels checked every 3 months for my doctor to determine how much Synthroid I need. As an adult, I always felt there was some sort of connection between the thyroid and anxiety. I’ve asked doctor after doctor after doctor about it over the years but no one ever  confirmed that there was a possible link. Some said no.

Recently my sister was also diagnosed with hypothyroid. It does tend to run in families. She had the amazing good fortune to see a chiropractor who was very knowledgeable about the thyroid and he shared a lot of things with her, which she then shared with me. (She saw the chiropractor for a back problem, their conversation about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s was just a coincidence).

As I am getting older I have been experiencing a lot of symptoms that, according to this doctor, are part and parcel of Hashimotos thyroiditis. Here are all the symptoms I could find:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Brain fog Sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarse voice
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in the shoulders and hips
  • Pain and stiffness in the joints and swelling in the knees or the small joints in the hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness, especially in the lower extremities
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Heart palpitations

I don’t have all of them. My main symptoms are anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations, cold intolerance, and muscle aches.

Evidently I am not the only one who wonders about hypothyroidism and anxiety:

I have hashi’s hypo, and have always struggled with anxiety, panic, and depression. It has gotten much worse in the past few years. However, i was on synthroid for the past 9 years, and have just…

Yeah the more hypo i get the more anxiety and panic attacks i have. Oh yeah and around that time of the month i start to freak out about everything…it really has an effect on my anxiety level.

Mtate, are you taking synthroid? I was on synthroid for the past 10 years and for the past 2 years I have had terrible anxiety, it started out like you describe, then the past 6 months it was worse…

I also was diagnosed 10 years ago and never had an issue with anxiety until about 18 months ago. Now it is out of control much of the time. I do think the anxiety is related to hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism Support Group Discussion Source

According to Wikipedia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can be misdiagnosed as an anxiety disorder…

My sister’s doctor recommended a book to her and I bought it too on Amazon: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal.

It has over 100 five star reviews. The author recommends a gluten free diet to alleviate a lot of the symptoms that go along with hypothyroidism. I wouldn’t even want to try this diet if it weren’t’ for the fact that my sister has only been gluten free for 7 days and already has seen some of her symptoms disappear (chronic sinusitis, morning headaches, and constipation).

So I began a gluten free diet yesterday. I am neither a scientist nor a researcher, but you can bet as I start on my gluten free diet, I will be watching my anxiety symptoms like a hawk. I will let you know if there is any effect on my anxiety as I treat my hypothyroidism with a gluten free diet.

Does anyone else suffer from hypothyroidism and anxiety? What you are doing about it?

I wish you peace,

Jill G.

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4 Responses to Hypothyroidism and Anxiety

  1. BayleyKate says:

    Hi, this is my first time being on this website and it has been the most helpful one yet. I am 17 and have had a panic disorder since I was 13. Also, I have celiac disease (so I’m gluten free) and I have hypothyroidism. There is a definite connection, whether it has been proven yet or not. When I eat gluten accidentally, I have panic attacks frequently. Plus, when I am PMSing I have them everyday. I just want to thank you for creating this site. I know it will help a lot.

    • JillG says:

      Hi BayleyKate,

      What a smart young lady you are! It’s great to hear that you monitor your food and the effect it has on your anxiety. While I don’t have Celiac’s, I definitely have a sensitivity to gluten so I do my best to avoid it. I’m very glad you find the site helpful. 🙂

  2. Raven Krogstad says:

    Hi! I have a lot to share so I hope you don’t get tired of reading. I am someone that prefers to do things the natural way instead of taking pills. It all started when I hit puberty. As a child I was thin and active. When I got to puberty all bets were off. I blew up like a balloon. I looked super puffy all over especially my face. I loved carbs and soda and sugar. Well I managed to be anxiety free all until my husband and I moved to Las Vegas 3 years ago. Every winter my anxiety would act up and then it spread to almost year round. But, the worst was in the winter. I had blood tests and they did not show that I had any thyroid issues. Well, after thinking it was Vegas causing the anxiety we moved to Omaha NE. My anxiety started to go away but only after the winter started to cease. I have done pretty well for myself for the past few months with random minor attacks I could manage without any issues. Well, I had this feeling every time as stated above, like I was going to die, or die of suffocation. It felt like a rope was around my neck. I would even pull on the skin at the base of my neck and it seemed to help me think I could breathe better. I have not been able to get the results of my most recent tests, but, I still have the bloodwork results from 2 years ago. I looked them over and started my research. I found on a website (Drmercola.com) that a huge number of people have issues with their thyroid that throws the blood test numbers off. So they are not in fact accurate at all. By the time we actually show in the blood tests it is fairly serious. Well, comparing my “normal range” blood test to the range Dr Mercola said it should be, I in fact have hypothyroid. And that makes complete sense about the winter now too. I was living off of benedryl thinking it was allergies. Keep in mind, I actually did not diagnose myself with this until a few weeks to one month ago. Prior to that I have been doing a lot of research about GMO’s. I am scared to eat anything not from trader joes or that is not organic. And since making that change I have been doing better. Well a couple weeks ago I decided to try something. I went gluten free for a week. I was doing a diet that I could manage. I did Metabolism Miracle which is similar to Paleo in Vegas and lost weight but, I was still suffering from panic attacks. And it does not require you to go gluten free. Well, although I had a lot more energy I would still get these darn debilitating panic attacks! Back to a couple weeks ago… I went the whole week without gluten. And on my one cheat day I had a sandwich made with regular wheat bread. OMG! I sounded like I had a cold. My nose started running, my head was swimming. I realized right then that wheat was not for me anymore. I decided to go gluten free as much as possible even on my cheat days. We go to jasons deli a lot and they have gluten free bread. So I stopped getting the brownies 🙁 I had also done some research that the wheat was modified back in the 50-60’s era. So even organic wheat is not the same as it used to be anymore. When I went to the health food store I got thyrosense and adrenasense. They have really helped me. With the gluten free and those herbs I feel pretty close to normal. Until today… And I can actually tell you why I had a panic attack today. I cook in almost all the time and yesterday we went to trader joes and I found pumpkin waffles!! OMG. Sign me up. My husband said no.. you shouldn’t get those are you sure?? I got the last box of gluten free waffles and one box of pumkin waffles. Well they tasted awesome. But, not too long after my husband left for work I started having anxiety. feeling faint, nose running, sounded again like I had a cold. This was worse than even when I had the sandwich! But, I also decided to open my windows. A cold front just came through so it is probably in the 40’s outside. The cold breeze started coming in and I started to get worse. Well, I ran to the standby which I hate. Benedryl. It seems to affect the same receptors the panic button shares. So the benedryl for me (I only take 1/4 of 200mg I am very sensitive to it) acts like an anti anxiety pill. Maybe xanax. I even have xanax but, I prefer to try and avoid it. Anyway, I started wondering the correlation between the cold and hypothyroid that is how I happened upon your site. Right after I took the benedryl I started doing deep breathing exercises until the benedryl kicked in. I have had blood tests and I am not allergic to wheat. But, I bet since the wheat has been modified I am willing to bet a good portion of our issues stem from that reason. Along with other factors. Well from these panic attacks that started in Vegas, it prompted me to stop drinking soda about 10 months ago and I also stopped caffiene 9 months ago. I will also give you a run down of the herbs I take. I take 1 capsule of cayenne, 2 capsules of ginger, 2 garlic in gel capsules, 1 kelp for the idodine, I was taking more prior to getting the thyrosense. 2 thyrosense, 2 adrenasense, 1 probiotic, 4 capsules of organic maca root, 2 capsules of cinnamon, occasionally I will also take 1 capsule of dandelion root to help rid my body of excess water. I also take a premium liquid vitamin called intramax. I have also noticed I cannot take the adrenasense too close to bedtime as I almost pass out like I had too much to drink and very difficult to wake up in the am. So I take them in the afternoon as stated on the bottle. Now all of these items I take I believe are directly related to the hypothyroid. Cayenne, ginger & garlic are good for circulation and heart health. The cinnamon is good for sugar metabolism, the maca root is good for the thyroid as well as reproductive health, And the probiotic is essential to keeping healthy above all. Anyway, my journey has not been pretty and it has also been scary. No doctors seem to understand that these things can be debilitating. I have found myself scared to take a job because of it. I have had one and quite after we built up a decent nest egg. But, it is just insane. I am actually a workoholic ish… I get into my work what can I say. But, I feel like I cannot help my husband bring home the bacon due to this. But, after the last couple of weeks and feeling better about life and how I am feeling in my body, I feel like I might be able to do so. Now, my mom I believe also has the same issue. We both have a lot of the same issues, only hers are way worse and times 1000. She has had one battle after another. Depression is a huge one for her. Now she is dying from pulmonary fibrosis. And I believe that it has stemmed from a diet primarily of wheat based items as they are below poverty and on SS. Anyway, I hope this info helps someone and I would love to hear from you. After some research I would really like to stay away from the thyroid hormone as I read your thyroid then starts to feel lazy and will never produce the hormone normally if you “give” it to it. So I am trying this approach to try and have a sense of normalcy. Oh my symptoms: hoarse throat, anxiety, panic attacks, intolerance to cold I think because that is when the panic attacks happen. I used to LOVE the winter and in my head I still do. Um, elevated a1c but, my fasting sugar was only off by 2 points. Elevated bad cholesterol. Not super high, but, enough to warrant me taking the cayenne, ginger & garlic. The other symptoms are infertility, weird female cycles, heartburn (which I keep a bottle of water with baking soda in it for that. Instant antacid) I have not felt the energy to get out and exercise everyday but, I am trying to work my way up. Well thanks for reading.

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