While anxiety can be a disorder in itself, it is also known to be a symptom of a number of physical disorders and illnesses. Before beginning medication for an anxiety disorder, it is often a good idea to have your physician check you for some common physical problems that could be causing your anxiety. One potential cause that is quite easy to check is your thyroid function.
Although hyperthyroidism is generally associated with anxiety and hypothyroidism with depression, both disorders can cause anxiety. One type of hypothyroidism in particular, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is known to be associated with anxiety symptoms and disorders. In some cases, anxiety or other psychiatric problems are the first sign of hypothyroidism. Severe anxiety and panic attacks appear to be caused by the rapid change in thyroid hormone levels that is found in hypothyroidism; chronic anxiety tends to be related to slow, progressive changes in hormone levels.
Several studies have found that endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism are the medical conditions most commonly misdiagnosed as an anxiety disorder. Since checking thyroid function only requires a simple blood test, it's an easy thing that people suffering from anxiety can have checked. If you do turn out to have hypothyroidism, treating it can avoid other medical complications and could improve your anxiety symptoms.