Study finds why depression and anxiety are common in thyroid problems

Depression and anxiety disorders – two of the commonest mental health problems – are associated with autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT), according to a German study published in the JAMA Psychiatry recently. AIT, also known as Hashimoto’s disease, is a severe thyroid condition that affects nearly 10 percent of people, leading to inflammation of thyroid glands.

Thyroid hormones impact cellular energy, metabolism, psyche and energy levels. AIT results in tension, exhaustion and unrest. As per the lead researcher of the study Dr. Teja Wolfgang Grömer from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, he has seen hundreds of patients of depression and anxiety disorders and found a link between these problems and AIT. It was then that he decided to investigate the relationship through a clinical research.

Chronic thyroid illness and anxiety, depression

Dr. Grömer studied 36,174 subjects and combined 21 studies. Of them 34,094 participants suffered from anxiety disorders, while 35,163 had depression. The analysis showed that AIT patients were 3.5 times more vulnerable to depression and 2.3 times more prone to anxiety disorders. The researchers inferred that the AIT patients accounted for nearly 30 percent anxiety disorders and around 40 percent depression.

The study outcome can be significant for depression and anxiety disorders patients, with the hope of an early treatment. It also suggests that if clinicians are able to identify the link between thyroid and anxiety, they can prescribe a treatment method that does not influence the weight of the patients. Dr. Grömer also said that the patients of anxiety and depression must go for the screening of AIT to identify the kind of antibodies they have in their body. Moreover, he proposed that AIT patients must be treated as a separate group.

Anxiety in teens with thyroid problems

The most common behavioral health issue in teens with thyroid abnormalities is anxiety. We know through the past research that there is a strong connection between thyroid and mental health issues. Teens with thyroid disorder can show high rates of problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Teens with anxiety experience nervousness, shyness, fear and avoid daily activities. They feel uneasiness in public speaking, performance in studies or sports and even going out on a date. They may experience excessive sweating and fluctuations in heart rate. Anxiety also affects family relations and friendship.

As teens grow, they experience emotional and physical changes and anxiety can be difficult to diagnose. Teens may face feelings of worry, irritability, restlessness, difficulty in concentration, and sudden outbursts. They may also avoid social interaction with good friends and start spending time alone. Caregivers can observe a change in their sleeping patterns and eating habits. They may experience unexplained fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and frequent headaches.

Seeking treatment is important

If a teen is showing symptoms of any mental or behavioral issue, be it depression, anxiety disorders or something else, professional help must be sought at the earliest. While depression and anxiety are treatable conditions, delay in medical intervention may prove to be detrimental. On the other side, timely treatment ensures speedy recovery. And it becomes much more important if the patient is a teen as he may explore wrong ways to cope with his problem, such as drug abuse or suicide.

Teen anxiety disorder, depression, or any other mental or behavioral problem can be treated through medication, therapies and counseling. If your loved one is suffering from anxiety and you are looking for teen anxiety disorder treatment, you can seek help of White River Academy. Located in Delta, Utah, the residential treatment center for boys provides a safe, secure and structured environment for troubled children. For more information regarding our treatment programs or any assistance related to admission, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online.

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