endocrine basis of anxiety/depression/panic

Hello - I am a member of Healthunlocked's Thyroid UK forum. I am assuming that there are some people here who are unaware that the state of the endocrine system (esp. thyroid and adrenals) has a powerful influence on whether you experience anxiety, depression, and/or panic. I am aware of this because my thyroid and adrenals collapsed due to Hashimoto's autoimmunity triggered by celiac enteropathy, I had a major psychotic break, and it took *forever* to get things diagnosed and corrected. During my illness, I learned some surprising things:

1) Sometimes it takes an ND to get a correct diagnosis. MDs were worthless in my case.

2) Most MDs are not good at nutritional problems, although nutrient deficiencies have a powerful effect on how your adrenals and thyroid work.

3) The best diagnosis of adrenal level and rhythm problems is via saliva test. Most MDs do not do adrenal testing, perhaps with exception of the 24-hour urine cortisol test. No MD ever noticed that one of the major effects of my long bout with celiac/leaky gut/endocrine issues, was low blood protein.

4) Standard diagnosis and treatment of thyroid problems, as done by an MD, centers around the TSH test and treatment with T4 (thyroid storage hormone). This style of treatment is often inadequate, and has a history of leaving millions of people under-treated and miserable.

So I hope that those of you who have NOT had vigorous endocrine evaluation, will realize how important it is! AND, remember that standard Big Pharma drugs are not a solution, if your gut is damaged and your hormones have gone south.

18 Replies

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  • I have hypothyroidism and was just given blood test to see if I had it,it was my local doctors that has dealt with it.I haven't seen anyone else.I have bad anxiety and depression and have so for years I didn't know it was linked,to thyroid . I was given Levothyroxine one a day.I lost a stone in first few months,but have been putting wait on and hair falling out again so I had bloods done yesterday,any advice would be helpful as I was told what it all was about .thanks x

  • The basic problem with thyroid diagnosis & treatment is that most MDs have been taught to check only TSH (a pituitary hormone) for diagnosis, and administer only T4 (levo) for treatment. This philosophy does NOT work for a substantial fraction of patients. There are multiple flaws in this simplistic view, foremost among them the fact that some people stop efficiently converting T4 to T3 (the active thyroid hormone), for a variety of reasons. In fact, the minimum set of tests needed to properly guide diagnosis and treatment is TSH/FT3/FT4/rT3/TGAb/TPOAb. Hashimoto's autoimmunity is the leading cause of hypothyroid, yet many MDs do not run the antibody tests (TGAb, TPOAb); and even if they do, they do not understand what to do with the results because they do not know how to determine what is upsetting the immune system.

  • it's complicated for me to understand as I al ready had people trying to help I know nothing about thyroid hormone.my cholesterol doctor checks levels but doesn't say anything and doctor done them yesterday but last year just told I had it and put on pills, I hadn't been eating put weight on and hair falling out still is and eyebrows were thick hardly got any and I know these are symptoms . should I ask to be refered to what kind of doctor.thanks xx

  • Forgot I did have antibody test and it was positive many years ago when went to rheumatology . when thyroid tested positive so did antibodies so I have been refered back to rheumatology ? .is this right and what are the antibodies.I've so much to deal with trying to manage my health as I had perforation in bowel 2008 had colostomy then 2013 ileostomy . have fibromyalgia and myalagica enphalitis . hypothyroidism . and ckd stage 3.cysts on kidneys and one on ovary and hydrosalpinx on tube.bad depression and anxiety ,anemia and vitamin d deficiency . and list goes on,don't smoke or drink.in the last year I changed doctors and this is when thyroid started but in my notes I had it earlier and wasn't told why I don't know.it's the only one of my illnesses I don't understand , thanks for input xx

  • TPO or TG autoantibodies attack the thyroid gland, eventually causing hypothyroidism. This situation is basically an environmental health problem, which few MDs know how to solve. One of the common triggers of thyroid autoantibodies, is gut problems (which you have) that allow undesirable peptides and other substances to get through the gut wall, into the bloodstream. Have you tried to eliminate those foods from your diet that are most likely to cause gut problems? Gluten and dairy are at the top of the list, but there are others.

    Rheumatology is basically the study of autoimmune disorders, but with a focus on the problem autoimmunity causes with joints. Thyroid autoimmunity is called Hashimoto's. There are about 80 types of autoimmune disorders, such as MS, lupus, RA.

  • Thanks for replying Eddie.iam waiting to go to rheumatology but is it a different type doctor I should see.it had hypothyroidism in my notes in 2010 and my doctor just told me months ago when test came back I had but over stone on hadn't been eating just fluids and had metallic taste,I got tested and was told I was okay.my new doctor said I was not okay . so I've beeven tested a giant this week that's 3rd time in less than year as hair falling out and weight went up.when I went on Levothyroxine I lost a stone in couple of months,I haven't tried elimination diet.hardly eat bread and dairy that helps as even though with lots of bowel away I still have IBS.does it do anything to hearing as I've terrible tinnitus and hearing loss I didn't know I had,I wear 2 hearing aids.this is recent and I'm 56.do you think I should ask to see certain type of doctor.thanks for all info as I said all my health problems I understand but not thyroid. I just got told I had it but not the results that I've seen you all posting.any input is helpful to manage the condition . thanks x

  • Tinnitus is a classic sign of hypothyroid. Mark Starr discusses it in his book "Hypothyroidism Type 2". He claims that anyone who has had significant hypothyroid more than 10 years is likely to have tinnitus, and unfortunately going euthyroid after that doesn't fix the tinnitus. I noticed tinnitus about 9 years after I had my major collapse from gluten-triggered hypothyroid.

  • Forgot my doctor thought I maybe had lupus that's what I got referred to rheumatology for last January and still waiting,long waiting list.?as long as this x

  • Is an ND a Naturopath?

  • Yes, ND = Naturopathic Doctor. They look for causes of illness based on environmental assaults to the body. Whereas MDs often try to just cover-up symptoms with Big Pharma drugs (which often do not fit well with the body's chemistry).

  • 😁 well said.

  • When I had adrenal insufficiency, my doctor, an MD who also practised natural medicine, sent me to an endocrinologist who tested me to find out which pathway was the cause of the insufficiency. I'm a lot fuzzy now on the details, but he was able to determine this with a 1 hour test and treat me accordingly. There were 2 different chemical pathways that could have caused the insufficiency and thus 2 different ways to treat me. Only one required a drug, I believe. I didn't have to take any drug. After about 10 months I had recovered and had no more problems, but I did have to wear an emergency bracelet during that period saying "adrenal insufficiency" so that in case of an emergency I wouldn't be given the usual drug of choice for many emergencies, which would have proved life threatening for me. Sorry, I can't remember anything more specific about the drug.

  • I assume you are saying you had cortisol insufficiency. Making cortisol is a 5-step process after cholesterol, in which progesterone is one of the intermediaries. If that process is not working, cortisol can be supplemented (as hydrocortisone) in small amounts, though most MDs don't like to do this. However, William Jefferies MD wrote a book years ago, "The Safe Uses of Cortisol", which states that supplementing with HC is safe, if the patient has tested low for cortisol, and the total daily HC dose does not exceed 20mg.

    Some doctors will attempt to supplement with strong synthetic steroids like prednisone, and this can get the patient into trouble.

  • You may well be right. Your words sound familiar to me. I remember researching both pathways at the time and it was quite complicated. I understood it then but now I find it has faded from my memory, most likely because it doesn't apply anymore.

  • How can I find out more information on this?

    Julie S

  • Some of the leading info sources for thyroid problems are Mary Shomon, Janie Bowthorpe, Dana Trentini (Hypothyroidmom.com). You could try googling these people. Also there is discussion of autoimmune thyroid problems on holtorfmed.com.

  • What is a ND? Should I request a salvia test?

  • "ND" is a Naturopathic Doctor. Saliva testing for thyroid is fairly new, I don't know how good it is, but only NDs and "alternative" MDs will offer it. However, saliva testing for adrenal dysfunction is widely used, but again, mostly just by NDs and "alternative" MDs.

    If you go with regular blood testing for thyroid, the test offered by GPs (TSH) can be problematic because it doesn't provide a complete picture. If you do go for thyroid blood testing, I recommend you try to get a full panel TSH/FT3/FT4/rT3/TPOAb/TGBAb. The last two antibody tests reveal whether you have Hashimoto's, which is the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism. Most allopathic docs don't know what to do about Hashi's, but there is a protocol for lowering antibodies that is known by alternative practitioners.

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