Thyroid gland to blame for some psychiatric disorders

Dr. Russell Joffe, a psychiatrist at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System conducted a review of literature examining the link between subclinical hypothyroidism and mood. The report concluded that treating abnormal levels of thyroid hormones in the blood alleviated the symptoms of psychiatric disorders including stress, anxiety and depression .

The thyroid gland is positioned around the trachea, its role is to produce two hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine these hormones influence cognition and homeostasis within the body.

Any number of things can cause thyroid malfunction, including exposure to radiation, too much or too little iodine in the diet, medications like lithium and autoimmune disease.

It has been recognised for a long time that people who have thyroid problems are often misdiagnosed with psychiatric illness.

Too much of the thyroid hormone cause a disorder called hyperthyroidism, this can cause anxiety and can increase the metabolism instigating rapid weight loss . Conversely, too little thyroid hormone, a problem known as hypothyroidism can be easily misdiagnosed as depression as the symptoms include physical and mental fatigue, weight gain, memory problems and depressed mood.

It has also been reported that older women are more likely to suffer from thyroid problems, the same age and gender group of which it is reported that one in four of them are diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.

There is significant disagreement within the field of psychiatry with many professors and doctors refusing to treat subclinical thyroid problems in order to treat symptoms of depression as they argue the causal relationship between mood and personality changes could be causing or be caused by thyroid disorders and argue significantly more research has to be conducted into the link.

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