A history of thyroid madness or not??

Whilst I have been busy trying to get to the bottom of my health probs I started thinking back to childhood and family - I can only follow my maternal lineage.

My nan spent years in and out of depression and anxiety and I remember she used to go to bed a lot and had no energy. I remember her being helped down the stairs to sit in front of the fire one day. She and my mother would argue a lot as they were both prone to 'flying off the handle'. My nan could be really loving but there was always an edge to her and bit by bit I saw her decline. I think someone once mentioned something about thyroid? Don't remember any meds only that she had beed given prothiadin (like valium I think). My nan died when she was 80 - she had flu which apparently weakened her heart and she died of heart failure.

Whilst doing some geneology research I discovered that my great grandmother had committed suicide in her 50's - I was told that she was a very large lady (I have a photo now) who may have had 'womens problems' but was always sad.

My nan's sister who had told me about their mother also said that she had times when she was not feeling well and could get irritible at times even in to her 70s, she didn't say that she had a thryoid problem or whether she took any meds - I didn't think it was appropriate to ask.

It is interesting to look back and see what happens.

Does anyone have any similar stories.


10 Replies

  • Thanks for posting that blog.

    I recommend reading Dr Richard Asher's paper:


    (Yes - freely available - suggest you download the PDF.)

    Also worth reading the Wiki article about him:


    Most of what he says is as true now as back in 1949.

    Completely off topic, you might have heard more about his children than him - : Peter Asher - member of the pop duo Peter & Gordon and later record producer, Jane Asher - film and TV actress and novelist, and Clare Asher - radio actress.


    Updated on Jun 26 2010 4:54PM: Not forgetting Jane Asher's fame as a cake maker.

    Richard Asher's paper includes photographs and descriptions that could be upsetting to some. Indeed, I'd hope they were upsetting in the sense that viewing and reading without being upset seems impossible to me.

  • Hi thanks Rod

    Interesting and and very sad article.. I am a Social Worker for over 65s and work with a lot of people in the community with varying degrees of dementia and age frailty. I have been working with this lady who moved into a residential home as she was a high risk at home and was severly self neglecting. As she had no family I had to go and do an inventory of her house for legal protection purposes - the house was full of new things still in packaging, piles of everything hoarded over the years in all her rooms. A mouse had nested on a pile of clothes on one of the beds and there was enough alcohol (unopened, she didn't drink) to open a pub. The neighbours were very good but they sai dthey had always known her as an eccentric lady eg - laying her husbands shirts out on the lawn and pouring water over them saying the sun would clean and dry them out.

    Since she had been in the home she had chosen despite some encouragement to stay in bed saying she was tired and better off there. Sometimes she seemed lucid but then she would say very convincingly that her (late) husband would be in to see her soon and that her parents were arranging to visit her at home once a month. I noticed on one visit that she looked as white as a sheet and asked about meds - one of her medical diagnosis was hypothyroidism and she was on thyroxine - I immediately asked for her meds to be reviewed particularly the thyroid/blood tests. I am due to visit next week so will find out what happened.

    Yes this might be the dementia - but the neighbours had known her for over 20 yrs and talked of her eccentricity and 'strangeness'. Were there elements of thyroid impacting on behaviour.

    Since researching for my own purposes I have become increasingly interested in just how the thyroid does impact on life, health and wellbeing.

    The above case has been anonymised for obvious reasons.


  • Stacey,

    Between my and your comments (above as I write this) I happened across another article which talks about AJ Cronin's The Citadel (as well as Asher's article again) and the article author's own experience as a doctor.


    By the way folks, this isn't a private conversation between Rod & Stacey. Feel free to plough in there.


  • Yes - anyone out there? Either been watching that awful footie or like me possibly taking advantage of the quieter than usual Tesco's to do my weekly shop. Or maybe just enjoying the weather.

    Here is my big question of the week - when are we going to get together to draft a campaign to present to Andrew Lansley - the health ministerish person? This may have been discussed before and apologies if I have missed something. I read a speech he made recently where he spoke about better partnership working in health and also social care. Some stuff about being less target driven and more patient focussed? Or was I dreaming?!


  • Your family history is not dissimilar to mine... also on my maternal side. I had not the faintest idea about it all until after my own diagnosis when I started looking at things in much the same way as you have. It makes me so angry how many people have, and still do, suffer so needlessly. The word criminal comes to mind, often.

  • And I've just remembered back to when I used to make regular visits to help out in the local 'old people's home' when I was in my teens. I find myself wondering how many of the apparently 'doolally' folks in there might actually have benefitted from thyroid medication.

  • Interesting

    I just wish there was a way of doing some legitimate research through my work but I suspect that would fall foul of the NHS Trust I work within. I could always go much more comprehensively into the medical diagnosis/current meds route when I assess and make occasional noises to the community nurses adn /or GPs I work with - after all - if we are to be looking at cut backs - if someone is optimally treated then they should function much better and be more self caring - much the same as any rehab programme! Of course the danger is being accused of seeing everyone to be having a thyroid problem - you know how it is!? I think I am professional and rational enough to make decisions about whether someone has mental capacity to make decisions about different aspects of their life so this level of responsibility can be applied elsewhere.


  • Don't you find that you keep seeing 'thyroid' in the photographs you see, the television you watch. the newspapers you read? I have probably become OCD about thyroid. :=) I see it absolutely everywhere.

    Just sometimes I must be right.


  • my late mother had a mental illness that kept her in and out of mental institutions all of her adult life, i am now starting to wonder if she might have had thyroid problems..

  • I just find this so sad and unfair!

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