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Is Thyroid Disease Behind Your Mood Swings?

Dec 12, 2019

According to the American Thyroid Association, approximately 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition, and about 60% of this group don’t even know they have one. Thyroid disorders can affect how hot or cold you feel and cause your weight to fluctuate, but they can also alter your mood. In fact, this gland plays such an important role in mental health that many people who have thyroid conditions tend to seek therapy for depression first because they don’t  suspect something is abnormal with their physical health.

What Does the Thyroid Do? 

The thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, produces, stores, and sends hormones into the bloodstream. These chemicals are responsible for many essential functions, such as controlling the speed at which people burn energy and determining how quickly the heart beats

How a Thyroid Imbalance Can Impact Your Mood 

Two of the most common thyroid conditions that result in unbalanced hormone levels are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

  • Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Symptoms may include a loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, decreased motivation, mood swings, a short temper, depression, and overwhelming stress
  • Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid produces too many hormones. Symptoms may include panic attacks, anxiety, tenseness, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, a short temper, and impatience. 

Many of these symptoms can affect your mood, and even the physical ones can mimic the symptoms of depression or other mood disorders. While common therapies for thyroid conditions often require some time to take effect, they often help alleviate unwanted mental side effects.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. They will listen to your concerns and, if necessary, refer you to a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group endocrinologist for additional testing and treatment. 

Sources: 
British Thyroid Association | How moods and emotions can be affected by your thyroid
Healthline | What’s the Link Between Thyroid Conditions and Depression?
Science Daily | Hypothyroidism Clearly Linked To Mood Swings
American Thyroid Association | General Information/Press Room