Thyroid hormone imbalances are well-known for causing emotional and mood disorders including major depression. Both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions have potential to cause symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. For some well-treated thyroid patients, their emotional symptoms persist and they need additional help with coping and symptom relief, through added medications or therapies.
Symptoms of Depression
People who become depressed will experience extreme sadness that is profound and not always related to a traumatic or life-altering event. The already-present depression can worsen however, if such events occur, such as the loss of a loved one, change in careers or moving to a new location, away from friends and family. Depression also causes a loss of ability to enjoy things that were once pleasurable or to become motivated by things that were previously of interest. Depressed people often have a lack of energy and will feel fatigued and a need to sleep more than the average person not suffering from depression. For thyroid patients, thyroid hormone imbalance can directly cause or contribute to worsening depression.
Adequate Thyroid Treatment
When depression persists in thyroid patients who are being treated, the first and most important thing to consider is whether the treatment is adequate. A person who is diagnosed with hypothyroidism for example and hyperthyroid patients, who become hypothyroid after surgical removal or ablation of their thyroid glands (thyroidectomy or radioactive iodine destruction), need to be adequately treated with thyroid hormone. If their dose is not at a level that fully restores their metabolism, they may remain in a state of unresolved symptoms, including those of depression.
Monitoring Thyroid Hormone Levels in Treated Patients
Most doctors monitor thyroid hormone replacement via the “TSH test” (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – blood level) which is a hormone from the pituitary, a brain-gland that stimulates proper thyroid gland function. The goal of treatment is to suppress TSH to the lower-normal range or below the mid-point. TSH rises above the normal values range with hypothyroidism (under-active) and rises above normal with hyperthyroidism (overactive). The average TSH reference range is from “0.5 to 5.0” and the goal of thyroid hormone replacement is to decrease/suppress TSH to mid-range or lower but not to decrease it below normal. Some thyroid specializing doctors and endocrinologists set a goal for TSH of from about 1.0 to 2.0 to start with. They may increase the dose to suppress TSH further, staying within normal values once adequate time is given to see if satisfactory symptom relief is achieved but is still not occurring. Even small increases in dose can make a difference in how the patient responds to treatment. Some doctors will also retest the actual thyroid hormone levels (T4 and T3) in addition to TSH to make sure the levels all correlate properly.
Other Treatment Options for Depressed Thyroid Patients
Research studies of hypothyroid patients have concluded that treatment-resistant depression is better resolved in some patients if a thyroid hormone replacement dose contains “T3 hormone” and not T4 only. There are brands of T3 thyroid hormone available or it is available already combined with T4. A treating doctor should be willing to prescribe a trial of T3 in treated patients who retain depression symptoms.
When best thyroid hormone treatment options as well as those for cocaine rehab miami, have been tried and depression still persists, patients may need to be prescribed anti-depressant medications or referred for psychiatric therapies. A highly successful therapy used to treat both anxiety and depression, is one called “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”. Some patients may find significant symptom-relief from a combination of drug and psychiatric therapies and may respond favorably enough over time, so that they can slowly wean off of one or both treatment