Thyroid and Anxiety


If you're suffering from anxiety, one of the first things you should do is see a doctor to make sure your anxiety isn't a symptom of an underlying health condition. In some people, anxiety appears as a result of a thyroid problem and can best be treated by addressing the thyroid condition. The thyroid is an endocrine gland that is essential for proper bodily function, and a thyroid imbalance affects mood as well as physical well-being.

A thyroid function test is a simple blood test that your doctor can order and should be a first step in anxiety treatment. If you’re suffering from anxiety, a test of the TSH level in your blood will indicate whether there is a problem with your thyroid function. A low TSH level indicates an overactive thyroid, a possible cause of anxiety. A high TSH level is a sign of a failing thyroid, a problem called hypothyroidism. Rather than causing anxiety, hypothyroidism often results in symptoms of depression.

Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, can cause symptoms like anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, sweating, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. These symptoms are the result of overproduction of the hormone thyroxine, which speeds up your body's metabolism. The disorder also usually causes symptoms less common to anxiety like changes in menstruation, changes in bowel movements, heat intolerance, sudden weight loss, and swelling at the base of the neck.

There are a number of treatments available for hyperthyroidism, and finding the right one should lessen your emotional and physical symptoms. Treatments include taking radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers, or, in unusual cases, a thyroidectomy.

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