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Can Hypothyroidism Cause Anxiety? What’s The Connection?

It’s not surprising that hypothyroidism can cause depression because the illness can make you feel lethargic, increase your weight, and affect your mood. But anxiety is another symptom of hypothyroidism. Keep reading to learn more about these conditions.

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – Can Hypothyroidism Cause Anxiety?

The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression. What is the difference between anxiety and depression?

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as you can since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can actually worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Thyroid anxiety symptoms: People with a generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
It's critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as you can since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can actually worsen over time.
Thyroid and anxiety: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as you can since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can actually worsen over time.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interferes with daily activities. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples of anxiety disorders.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment.

Anxiety Symptoms

  • Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.
  • Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.
  • Whole body: fatigue or sweating
  • Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety and Depression Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Thyroid and anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Thyroid and Anxiety: Hypothyroidism and Anxiety

Can thyroid cause anxiety? It’s not surprising that hypothyroidism can cause depression because the illness can make you feel lethargic, increase your weight, and affect your mood. But anxiety is another symptom of hypothyroidism. In fact, an analysis published in June 2018 in JAMA Psychiatry indicated that 29.8% of all anxiety disorders are linked to autoimmune thyroid disease and that persons with hypothyroidism are more than twice as likely to acquire anxiety disorders than people without the illness.

Can Thyroid Issues Cause Anxiety? Can Hypothyroidism Cause Depression and Anxiety?

Anxiety and thyroid (thyroid causing anxiety): According to the American Thyroid Association, hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland’s cells are unable to produce enough thyroid hormone, which is required to keep the body energetic and functioning normally (ATA). Because their initial symptoms can be extremely similar, hypothyroidism and anxiety might be difficult to distinguish from one another.

Can hypothyroidism cause anxiety symptoms? According to Diane Solomon, Ph.D., a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Portland, Oregon, “when a patient comes to me with symptoms like irritability, constant worry, and muscle tension, in addition to treating them for anxiety, I have them get a thyroid test to check their levels for hyper- and hypothyroidism.”

The reason for this is that women in their late thirties or early forties are in the perimenopause stage, which lasts for 5 to 10 years before menopause begins. A change in hormone levels may occur in some women, which may have an impact on their thyroid.

But, according to the ATA, there are a variety of ways that hypothyroidism can impact both men and women. These can include taking specific medications, such as lithium, having too much or too little iodine in the body, and having autoimmune illnesses like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Can Anxiety Cause Hypothyroidism?

Can thyroid problems cause anxiety? Thyroid disease cannot be brought on by stress alone, but it can worsen the condition. Stress affects the thyroid by lowering your body’s metabolic rate. Another way that stress and weight growth are related is in this way.

Hypothyroidism and Heart Palpitations Anxiety

Can low thyroid cause anxiety? If you start experiencing symptoms like anxiety, forgetfulness, constipation, heart palpitations, or excessive sweating, your underactive thyroid may be receiving too much medication. Your body makes too little thyroid hormone if your thyroid gland is underactive, or if you have hypothyroidism.

Anxiety Neck Rash Thyroid

Specific symptoms of hyperthyroidism, like skin rashes, are among those that are more frequently connected to an overactive thyroid. They consist of: Low cholesterol: Despite your diet, weight, and exercise, your cholesterol may continue to be abnormally low.

Thyroid Anxiety in the Morning

Your mood might be affected by thyroid disease, with anxiety or depression being the main effects. The mood changes are typically more severe than the thyroid condition. Unusual anxiousness may be a symptom of hyperthyroidism and an overactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism and Insomnia Anxiety

There may be a connection between hypothyroidism and insomnia, although the evidence is inconsistent so far. However, hypothyroidism patients frequently struggle with joint and muscular pain that interferes with sleep as well as difficulty tolerating low temperatures at night. If the dose is too high, thyroxine side effects might also make it difficult to fall asleep.

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Does Hypothyroidism Cause Anxiety?

Why is anxiety more prevalent in hypothyroidism patients? According to Cheryl R. Rosenfeld, DO, a partner at North Jersey Endocrine Consultants and an adjunct clinical associate professor of medicine at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City, “One notion is that just having a physical condition like hypothyroidism might cause anxiety.” Poor attention, memory loss, and difficulty carrying out regular tasks are all hypothyroidism symptoms that may cause worry.

Anxiety can also be exacerbated by hypothyroidism not receiving sufficient treatment. Levothyroxine is a typical treatment for hypothyroidism, but Dr. Rosenfeld warns that if your dose is too high, it can induce symptoms like a rapid heartbeat and shakiness that can exacerbate anxiety. Additionally, untreated hypothyroidism will result in the continuation of symptoms including dry skin, sensitivity to the cold, hoarse voice, and mood swings. Untreated hypothyroidism over time can result in heart problems like a weak pulse or heart failure, which can increase anxiety.

Thyroid Anxiety: Hypothyroidism Anxiety

Additionally, if anxiety prevents you from taking your prescribed prescriptions, visiting the doctor, or from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it may be more difficult for you to adhere to your hypothyroidism treatment plan.

It’s interesting to note that worry can still happen to women who are receiving treatment for hypothyroidism. According to a study published in December 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, women with hypothyroidism had a 13 percent higher prevalence of anxiety than those without the condition, even after receiving levothyroxine treatment and regaining normal thyroid function.

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How to Calm Thyroid Anxiety?

The good news is that both hypothyroidism and anxiety are highly treatable. Proven ways to manage anxiety include:

  • Working with a therapist.
  • Getting regular exercise (especially aerobic).
  • Doing mind-body exercises such as yoga.
  • Meditating or practicing other mindfulness techniques.
  • Taking hypothyroidism and anti-anxiety medications as prescribed.
Mental health services We Level Up FL creates a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of chemical imbalances through anxiety therapy and an anxiety and depression therapist.
Anxiety and hypothyroidism: Mental health services We Level Up FL creates a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of chemical imbalances through anxiety therapy.

However, Dr. Solomon notes that this is typically the case when anxiety symptoms started out quickly as a result of too-low thyroid levels. In some situations, addressing hypothyroidism entirely eliminates anxiety. However, in many instances, hypothyroidism and anxiety must be treated together, even though doing so would help the other one get better.

Work with your doctor to check both illnesses if you have hypothyroidism and anxiety. “Laboratory testing and symptoms should be used to guide the beginning of treatment and adjustment of thyroid hormone dose, ideally by a supportive and empathetic healthcare professional,” advises Dr. Rosenfeld. As it can be challenging to distinguish between thyroid dysfunction and mental health issues, she continues, “those with anxiety or panic disorder may need more frequent thyroid laboratory (blood) testing.”

Work with your doctor to manage anxiety as well because your mind is just as essential as your body, whether it be through therapy, adopting healthy lifestyle practices like mindfulness and yoga, or a combination of methods.

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The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions.  However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time.

Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse. Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success. 

A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment.

At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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