Hyperthyroidism and depression?

Hi, I've been depressed for a few months now. I saw my GP and he sent off bloods for a thyroid test, apparently my thyroid is borderline overactive and I have thyroid antibodies. He's referred me to an endocrinologist but I've heard nothing about an appointment yet. In the meantime I'm struggling with my depression, does anyone have any experience of hyperthyroidism and depression? Would taking antidepressants affect my thyroid?

15 Replies

  • Are you already on anti-depressants? Or has your GP suggested you take them?

    Ideally, your thyroid problem should be brought under control before bringing anti-depressant medication on board, as there's every chance the depression will go once the thyroid hormone levels are re-balanced.

  • Thank you for answering. My GP talked about antidepressants before my blood test results but didn't mention my depression after that. I'm confused because I thought depression was a symptom of an under-active thyroid rather than an over-active one. I'm going back to see him tomorrow because the depression is really getting me down and I feel as if I'm in limbo while waiting for my endo appointment to come through.

  • No, it's not only a symptom of hypOthyroidism. Both too much and too little thyroid hormone can have a detrimental effect on the brain. If it is the thyroid hormone issue that's causing your depression, then anti-depressants may not be of any help. More importantly, some anti-depressants can make the depression worse. Do discuss this with your GP though, and ask if there's any way your Endo appointment could be pushed as urgent.

  • Thank you, I will.

  • Your thyroid is causing the depression, taking depression meds will not help the thyroid, I would wait, if you can to see the endo. Xxx

  • Thanks, I might try and hang on, I'm going back to see my GP tomorrow so I'll see what he says. I know antidepressants won't help my thyroid, I was wondering more if they'd have an adverse effect but I didn't phrase the question very well.

  • Hi

    I was diagnosed with Graves (overactive thyroid with antibodies) in November last year and I felt absolutely terrible not sure if I felt depressed but I had this weird feeling of hopelessness as if I had lost my real self somewhere, it was horrible.

    About five weeks after my first endo visit and a few weeks before my next one, I was given a very low dose of amitryptiline which is an antidepressant, it was to stop my heart pounding ( I can't take beta blockers because I have asthma) They didn't have any adverse effects on me and I stopped them myself the minute the palpitations stopped again and my endo raised my thyroxine when I saw her.

    I was worried that I would become addicted but my doctor said the dose was so small it was very unlikely and she was right. They didn't help the thyroid but they did stop the palpitations until I got back to my endo. Once my thyroid was treated all those horrible feelings disappeared and yours probably will too.

    Do you think your doctor maybe gave you the antidepressants instead of beta blockers?

    Liz x

  • Hi Liz

    Thank you for replying. I didn't phrase my question very well. My GP suggested antidepressants before my blood test but didn't mention them after I got my results. So I was wondering if it was worth giving them a try while I'm waiting to see the endo. I have actually been on betablockers for years for high blood pressure and I'm wondering if these have been masking some symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

    It's good to hear that you're feeling better now. Right now I feel as if there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

    Isobel x

  • Isobel,

    That is really interesting about having been on beta blockers for ages, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were masking some of the hyper symptoms. Perhaps once your doctor saw your test results he realised you needed your thyroid sorted out rather than antidepressants.

    I had terrible shakes as well as the pounding heart - could hardly put toothpaste on my toothbrush - hence the amitriptyline. I was not keen to take it but it did work for me even though I knew it wasn't going to fix my thyroid.

    I'm sure there will be light at the end of the tunnel for you. I felt so hopeless, I didn't want to do anything, talking to people was just such an effort, I honestly thought I was losing my mind, I even said to one of my doctors that I thought I was developing Alzheimer's. All those horrible feelings have gone now and I realised recently that I had forgotten ever feeling like that.

    Good luck tomorrow, hopefully you can get in to see an endo soon. I had to wait from November until February but she did review my blood tests and monitor me by letter until I got there which sort of helped.

    Liz x

  • Have you got support around you. I was hyperthyroid in 1997 and treated for depression before they even did bloods. If you can hold on as once they start to treat you your symptoms may lift. I'm no expert but here I am in 2013 after a total removal of thyroid and still on low dose anti-depressants. Dr's seem keen to tret the low mood and not the cause. I'm currently at odds with my GP but this site and its support are making me more positive. Do you do or have any opportunity to exercise? I do a session each eve and it really boosts your mood. Even if its a 1/2 hr walk.or a spin class.Rai x

  • Thanks for answering. I have been thinking about taking up running again, maybe I'll give it a try if I can get motivated x

  • well done , i'm not a runner but do find walks ,spin and body combat help. i relly have to force myself to do it but once I start it really helps. rai

  • I'm a very positive personal naturally or at least I was before all this happened a few years ago. It took a lot to get me down. I am currently going through my worst bout of depression, which also seems to be the last symptom to hit me (still no hyperactivity though), so I'm also looking for advice on lifting it.

    Pottyrai has essential advised on exercise which I think I will try out. Getting your blood going can be a benefit for a lot of things so hopefully it'll help mentally.

    I hope you also try it and get over this awful mental state we all go thought eventually

  • I feel for all who and in a low mood as i am with you at this moment too....i can go for walks but couldnt run to catch the bus lol......so might try gentle walks again but with anxiety too its not easy......i work full time from home running my own business and come 5pm i am exhausted...have housework washing ironing dinner to cook.....and exercise is last thing on my mind.......

  • Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who went to the trouble of answering my question. It was my first time on the site and I think you're all amazing :)

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