INFORMATION SHEET FOR SUFFERERS
HAVE YOU HAD A THYROID TEST?
Hallucinations, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, psychosis, neurosis, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, manic depression, puerperal psychosis, postnatal depression, any confusion, forgetfulness or dementia or any other symptom or diagnosis of mental distress? Do you have severe side effects from psychiatric medication?
ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR A THYROID TEST
Your thyroid gland is situated in your neck. It produces a hormone called thyroxine which influences all major body systems. Too little or too much thyroxine may cause or exacerbate physical and psychiatric symptoms.
Hypothyroidism (myxoedema) is caused by too little thyroxine. It is usually easy to treat with thyroxine tablets.
Hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis) is caused by too much thyroxine. It can be treated.
- Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affect women, men and children of all ages.
- Some psychiatric medication may worsen thyroid disease.
- Thyroid disease can run in families, usually without psychiatric symptoms.
Myxoedematous psychosis and depression sometimes occur with hypothyroidism.
Thyroxine may restore or improve mental health in many cases.
Ask for a thyroid blood test
Other symptoms of thyroid disease: tiredness, weak muscles, palpitations, shortness of breath, goitre (swelling) in the neck, reduced ability to cope with stress or shock, severe insomnia, lumpy red/dark shin patches, increased sensitivity to medication and menstrual, sexual and fertility problems. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may present with a wide range of psychiatric symptoms.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: lethargy, cold intolerance, cold temperature, dry skin, hair loss, slow speech, hoarse voice, swollen face, constipation, weight gain, loss of appetite, stiff or painful joints, miscarriage, blackout and deafness.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: overactivity, exhaustion, sweaty hands, heat intolerance, weight loss, diarrhoea, shakiness, increased sweating and appetite and protruding eyes.
Hashimoto’s disease is autoimmune hypothyroidism, sometimes occurring after a hyperthyroid phase.
If you have mental health problems and haven’t been given a thyroid blood test ask for one soon. You may wish to take this information with you.
I have Hashimoto’s disease, once misdiagnosed as schizoaffective disorder. Thyroxine has returned me to excellent mental health. My experience of undiagnosed, untreated thyroid disease was very difficult and I want to turn that around by helping more people get tested and treated. It is shameful that in the 21st century people are still suffering preventable mental distress because a simple blood test has not been done. Never assume that a thyroid test has already been done. Ask.
It is possible to have thyroid disease and a psychiatric condition that needs medication. If this is the case it is important to consult your G.P. and psychiatrist for treatment.
My Thyromind project aims to raise awareness of the importance of thyroid testing for people with any symptom or diagnosis of mental illness and to stimulate more research. Thyromind is funded by a grant from the Millennium Commission through Mind’s Real People Real Lives scheme.