Hypothyroidism and Depression
Depression is a very common symptom of hypothyroidism and yet the people become frustrated when the thyroid medication does not relieve depression. The effects of hypothyroidism on the brain are more complicated that people realize and hypothyroid medication alone may not solve brain- based problems such as depression.
Most people do not realize that sufficient thyroid hormone is necessary for brain health. Thyroid hormones facilitate function of the brain neurotransmitters, chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain and body. Proper neurotransmitters also prevent brain inflammation and reduce the risk of developing autoimmune reactions in the brain. The problem is many people suffer from hypothyroidism for years before receiving diagnosis and treatment, raising the likelihood of developing brain based issues. When doctors in the standard healthcare model fail to properly manage hypothyroidism, they increased the patient’s risk for brain based disorders.
Hypothyroidism and Neurotransmitters
Many people with hypothyroidism that have been suffering for years with unresolved thyroid symptoms can become grouchy, angry and pessimistic. This reflects not who they are necessarily but instead they’re worsening brain function. Neurotransmitters play a role in shaping who we are and how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. They influence moods, memory and learning, self-esteem, anxiety levels, motivation and more.
Neurotransmitters function begins to fail due to thyroid hormone deficiency and the brains cells increasingly lose their ability to communicate with one another. This lack of activity causes neurons to die, creating accelerated brain degeneration in those pathways.
When thyroid hormone replacement fails to resolve your depression you may need to support specific neurotransmitter pathways with appropriate nutritional support.
For example, if you impression includes inability to derive any enjoyment from your hobbies, favorite foods or other interest in your life that used to bring you happiness, you may have an issue with serotonin. If your depression includes poor motivation, favorite foods or other interest, the dysfunction may involve dopamine pathways. Depression with ongoing anxiety is common with GABA pathways issues and depression with major loss of memory is common with acetylcholine pathways.
Addressing these underlying mechanisms that cause neurotransmitter imbalance is not the same as taking an antidepressant. Antidepressants increased neurotransmitter levels by suppressing their clearance. They may have an effect for a short period of time but did not help your body’s ability to make them.
Proper evaluation of the neurotransmitter deficits that may be a direct result of hypothyroidism may be a key to improving depression for hypothyroid patient.
I will discuss these issues in my upcoming workshop on hypothyroidism. For details on the workshop, click here – Free Seminar: Getting Help With Hypothyroidism