The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland that is located in the front of the neck. This little gland is super important as it regulates body temperature, plays a role in metabolism, and affects other hormones in the body.
When this gland is out of whack, it can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, anxiety being one of them. In fact, it seems to me anxiety and thyroid often go hand in hand.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This is commonly known as an ‘overactive thyroid’.There can be psychiatric aspects of hyperthyroidism including panic attacks, mood swings, auditory hallucinations, and even psychosis. From what I have learned, people can who have undiagnosed hyperthyroidism may sometimes be misdiagnosed as having panic disorder.
On the other side of the spectrum is Hypothyroidism, which I have. This is where the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. In my case, my body doesn’t produce any hormone at all.
When I was 15, I had a big lump in the front of my neck. My high school health teacher first pointed it out, and I told my mom. That lump turned out to be a goiter, and that is how I discovered I had hypothyroidism. The form I have is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’ve been on generic Synthroid (levothyroxine) daily ever since.
(On a funny side note, the word Hashimoto always reminded me of Quasimoto, you know, the hunchback bell ringer guy) 🙂
Although the actual numbers for what is considered normal with TSH levels, here are the latest recommendations:
- Normal: 0.5 – 2.5 mIU/L (mili-international units per liter)
- Possible hypothyroidism (subclinical): 3 – 10 mIU/L
- Hypothyroidism: 10 mIU/l and above.
If you have symptoms of anxiety, you should get tested for abnormal thyroid. Also, if you take anti- anxiety or antidepressant medications and they don’t work, you should have your thyroid checked- as you may need thyroid hormone medication instead of these medications.
I had panic attacks long before I was diagnosed, and I obviously have no idea how long my thyroid stopped functioning normally before I grew the goiter. And while I still suffered from panic even after my thyroid was under control, I’m very curious about hypothyroidism and anxiety and if there is a correlation between them.
In my career as a nurse, I noticed that often when a patient was on thyroid medication, they were also on an anti anxiety medication as well. When getting report on patients, hyperthyroid and anxiety appeared to me to be linked. I asked many doctors about this over the years, but I have to say no doctor ever confirmed to me a correlation between anxiety manifestation and hypothyroid.
I found this article, that mentions medical research on hypothyroid and anxiety: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52285.asp
I don’t believe in coincidences and I just find it very interesting that in caring for hundreds, if not thousands of patients over my career, I would review a patient intake, admit a new patient or receive a patient from elsewhere in the hospital and there it was: Patient history: his diagnosis, his history: hypothyroidism, panic attacks, etc. etc.
Remember- If you suffer from anxiety symptoms and think you might have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, be sure to check with your doctor.
Do you have hypo or hyperthyroidism in addition to your anxiety? Do you think there is a correlation between the thyroid and anxiety? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I wish you peace,
How have I managed to come so far when I was anxious for so long? Simple, I take my generic synthroid, get my thyroid levels checked, and I use Panic Away. I invite you to try this powerful method to put yourself in control of your fear- works like a charm.