In a 2011 New York Times article titled, For Some, Psychiatric Trouble May Start in Thyroid, Dr. Russell Joffe, a psychiatrist at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, said “The best descriptions of clinical depression were actually in textbooks on thyroid disease, not psychiatric textbooks.”
That’s because the effects of an underactive thyroid gland can mimic the effects of psychiatric illness. Hypothyroidism can cause physical fatigue, weight gain and sluggishness, as well as depression, inability to concentrate and memory problems.
The question of whether the thyroid gland is at the root of psychiatric symptoms—such as depression or cognitive (thinking) problems—has not been answered definitively. What is true is symptoms of hypothryoidism and depression often overlap. Both depression and hypothyroidism share symptoms including fatigue, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, extreme sleepiness—sadness and despair. In addition to these, underactive thyroid may also cause sensitivity to cold, vague aches and pains, joint or muscle pain or cramps, hoarseness of the voice, hair loss and constipation. (See the complete list of symptoms at WebMD.)
Is your thyroid working the way it should? Find out with the Thyroid Panel II: T4 Free, T3 Free with TSH.