Thyroid UK

Mental health issues and steroids revisited: Still wondering about the thyroid connection?

Just a wee update. My daughter had all the symptoms of hypothyroidism (though she was very thin and losing weight). She was put on steroids to combat positive DS DNA antibodies and vasculitis but suffered psychosis and was admitted to hospital. We eventually got a diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis when MNDA receptor antibodies tested positive. Thank goodness someone tested this or I'm sure she would certainly have been labelled either with bipolar or schizophrenia in the absence of anything organic. She was treated by Neurology with immunoglobulin transfusions and almost immediately the psychosis and other symptoms cleared. Only 1000 cases reported worldwide in last 6 years (for info see, "My Brain on FIre: my month of madness" by Susanne Callahan). It has mainly been young women in their twenties who have been reported when there was a sudden change in behaviour ( a bit like the exorcist and "demonic possession").

She has also had her nodule on her thyroid aspirated so awaiting results of this. It's an interesting and developing new field this Autoimmunology and course there is the link between autoimmune disorders and the thyroid. It's all very intriguing.

3 Replies

Hi What a dreadful experience. This is more of an aside. For many , many years, psyches have used thyroid treatment in a low dose , where bloods normal but no response to psyche treatment. A lot of people for many years and still are sent to psyches when really their thyroid. Make sure she has TSH, T4 and free T3 tested, on line if difficult If the cortisone helped, that may also be down to the adrenal glands., Also nodules always routinely need a biopsy under ultra sound by a radiologist. Mostly fine but the only way to be sure.Best wishes to you both,



Great to hear there has been progress P. It'd depend entirely on the exact steroid, but for sure e.g. cortisol levels if elevated interact with thyroid. Unless my memory is shot it seems they tend to cause suppression of T3 production (conversion), and to increase the 'switching off'/conversion to reverse T3 of existing hormone.

Basically to prevent over stimulation. There's seemingly several groups of hormones (thyroid/adrenal/sex etc) that all can increase metabolism - so to prevent problems when one or the other is high the others (in the crudest of terms) tend to reduce or are partially de-activated to compensate....



Thanks for your interesting post and am glad your daughter is getting better.

Some people do lose weight whilst being hypothyroid and we have had posts in the past from people who were diagnosed with mental health issues rather than a thyroid gland problem.

I read a while ago that some elderly people diagnosed with dementia may well be deficient in T3. Research has also shown that T3 can help in bipolar or depression but many are given anti-depressants instead of some T3.


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