Are there any Male members who thought they had depression which wasn't helped by SSRI's & then found out it was a Thyroid/Adrenal problem?

I started getting "depressed" when I was 19 (now 42). My episodes are 1 every 2 years and last from 3 months up to a year, but seem to be getting longer as I get older. The SSRI's I have been prescribed don't seem to do anything really. I mainly have symptoms relating to my thinking, cannot concentrate or make decisions, the mental fog people talk about. I also get dizzy when I stand up, easily get pins & needles, lots of ear wax, anxiety, low mood and my basal body temp averages out to be 35.7 C (anything below 36.5 C suggests problems with my thyroid).

I am going to try and get my GP to do a blood test not just looking at T4 & TSH. I have just ordered some natural dessicated thyroid because I am so utterly fed up feeling like this. Nothing seems to help, I have had psycho-dynamic counselling for 2 years with no real improvement.

I was wandering if there any men out there (thyroid probs seem to be more common in women), who have had similar experience and have found that they had a problem with their thyroid and managed to sort it out.

10 Replies

  • I noticed your question hasn't been answered yet so I wanted to bump it up to the 'recent activity' so that it might get noticed :)

    I'm not male, but what you describe is very similar to me. I started suffering with depression when I was 18 which actually resulted in psychotic symptoms and a lot of medication! It was several years before I was finally diagnosed hypothyroid. Before being diagnosed, I was prescribed t3 to enhance the effects of tricyclic antidepressants which didn't seem to be working even at very high doses. It was like a miracle. I had been told for a few years that there was nothing wrong with my thyroid but now I suspect I had had borderline test results for years. A couple of years after this t3 experiment (which was stopped when I was 'cured') I was finally diagnosed (after several appointments with doctors who treated me like a 'mental health patient' - see today's BBC news about this!) and prescribed t3 again and had another miraculous recovery which continued until I was told I had to have levothyroxine like everyone else.

    I am now 41 and have recently gone back to t3 and am feeling better than I have done in years.

    I know I'm not male, but your story struck a chord with me.

    Your symptoms do sound like low thyroid function but they could equally be due to 'adrenal fatigue' (you might want to do some research on this), low iron or low folate or B12. It could even be low vitamin D or even a combination of all of the above.

    Dizzy on standing makes my think 'adrenals'. Pins and needles makes me think 'B12'. Low mood and low basal body temp could be any or all of the above. I suspect thyroid may be playing a part at least so it would be worth getting tested but not while you are taking the dessicated thyroid as that will skew the results.

    Do you have results for TSH and T4? I would be interested to see them if you have. It might help to shed some light on whether it is thyroid related :)

    I hope you get some responses from some of our male members soon. We have quite a few :)

    Carolyn x

  • Hi Carolyn,

    Thanks for your reply much appreciated :-)

    I haven't had a blood test yet so don't know what my TSH, T4, T3 are. I have done some research in to this and Thyroid UK recommend that I get the following tested:

    TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and Thyroid anti-bodies.

    It then suggests a whole list of other tests, which do include iron, B12 and adrenal cortisol levels. I have an appointment with my GP on the 8th Oct but am trying to get a cancellation if 1 comes up beforehand.

    Is my GP more likely to go for the Thyroid tests, or do you think it is worth mentioning the others as well?

    I plan to go in armed with a record of my basal temps, specific symptoms and mention that my grandmother had an under-active thyroid. I was figuring if I had it all written down I wouldn't forget because there seems to be so much to remember and think about. My brain fog is bad and I find it difficult to remember things and sometimes can't think of the words.

    In your own experience you have taken T3 how does this differ to natural thyroid?

    Sorry that there are so many questions! Just 1 more do you know how long I would have to be off the natural thyroid supp before I could have a blood test without skewing the results?

    Again thanks for responding, its good to know there are other people out there as well



  • Hi Carolyn,

    I have just got back my Blood Test results, they only show TSH though.....

    They are:

    1.32 mIU/L (0.35 - 4.94) and this is apparently normal/OK.

    This test was taken before I started taking NDT. I am not even sure if the NDT I bought contains T4 or T3, it says it contains Porcine Thyroid (freeze dried concentrate). It is called Procept Metavive I and I bought it from The Natural Choice Health Choice Ltd (

    I have been taking this for 2 weeks now. I am also taking a multi vit which contains Vit D, iron, folate, B12

    as you mentioned. Following reading up on adrenal fatigue (Dr Skinner's website), I have just started taking 2000mg of Vit C with bioflavanoids.

    My main questions are does the NDT I have bought even contain actual T4/T3 how do I find out?

    How much of Vit D, B12, iron and folate do I need to be taking?

    My GP won't give me a full thyroid blood test, so how do I get one.

    Sorry there are so many questions. I am just very keen/desperate to get better




  • Hi. Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner but I work full time as well as volunteering here and I have no internet access at work as I am in the classroom most of the time.

    I think the thyroid glandular you are taking does contain some thyroid hormones but nowhere near as much as you would find in NDT for example.

    Your TSH does look 'normal' but without testing at least T4 there is no way to know whether you have a thyroid problem or not. TSH doesn't always react to low thyroid hormone. It doesn't with me. I have a low TSH even when my T4 is low.

    Have you had your iron and ferritin tested? It might be worth asking your GP about this. If she doesn't think you have a thyroid problem, ask her to check all the vitamins and iron/ferritin because they are the next most likely causes. Even if it is your thyroid you need these to be at good levels. Iron/ferritin in particular causes a big problem with the body's ability to use thyroid hormones. It is best to get iron and ferritin levels before supplementing with iron to make sure that you need it and also to get a baseline. It my take a while to get these levels up.

    When you go back to your GP, point out to her that the glandular you are taking is an over-the-counter preparation, not an NDT and likely only contains trace amounts of thyroid hormones (I suspect it actually contains more) as well as vitamins and minerals to support the thyroid. You are not self-treating, merely supplementing because you are desperate and no-one is doing anything to get to the bottom of why you are feeling so bad.

    Hopefully, if you see an endo that is any good, you should get a thorough work-up to get to the bottom of this. They should at least do TSH, T4 and T3.

    I hope your endo does the tests. Hopefully there will be one on the Thyroid UK list that is near you.

    Sorry I can't be more help.

    Carolyn x

  • I am not a man but my son aged 38 now had several years when he thought he was just depressed and as an after thought was given a throud function blood test last February at the end of another visit to his GP. We my husband and I had warned him that as we were both hypothyroid there was a significant chance he might inherit it. His TSH came in at ,96. A startlingly high reading. Currently he is on increasing amounts of T4 alongside an anti depressant. He is now back to work and hopefully will come off the antidepressants when his T4 readings are within the normal range. Because it is so mu h more common in women men and their GPs are less likely to think their depression is thyroid related. Good luck. MaggieW

  • I was reading this and is the same for me what happened to your son a high tsh of 94. Was your son;s frees off alot as well. How long did it take him to stabilize.. I am so glad he is doing so much better and is back at work..

  • Hi Jason,

    I'm a man. I'm 27 years old. I had viral illness at 15 that has caused all sorts of repercussions since.(fatigte some mental retardation in my processing speed, can't concentrate etc).

    Short summary being being pumped full of SSRI's and told ib had depression. Aged 21 at uni. They did help with me, as it was a atypical depression...

    It wasn't until aged 23 that I frankly told my new gp that my illness's started before I "got depressed" . couple blood tests later low and behold my thyroid was way off..

    4.5 years on I feel no better and given up totally with NHS diagnosis and had to go private and spend £100's on private tests to diagnose issues.. (And now have cause of thyroxine not working)

    If you're symptoms are long term illness then adrenals could be"sub optimal" or down right fatigued..

    I've only recently got my head around my condition through help from a number of great people on here. (And I'm a biological scientist so I should know about this stuff. .. So there is a lot to get into especially if you can't think to save your life..)

    You have to take your health into your own hands... Funding your own cure can take a while so make sure you have someone you can talk to in the mean time so you don't bottle the frustration up and make yourself even more fatigued. ;)

  • Interesting, I had an infection and following on fatigue in my late 20's and despite improving a lot, was never the same after, I suspect that was the beginning of my thyroid issues too.

  • Seems in the same ballpark as me. I had suspected viral encephalitis, and then post viral fatigue.. And then thyroid probably stated playing up until it gave up at aged 21 ...

  • My depression (I know the cause: chronic pain) has gone on for years, and every Antidepressant (had them all!) has waned in it's beneficial effect after a while, or I have had such nightmare side effects, the depression seems a better option!

    Being diagnosed with low testosterone (caused probably by the Opiate pain killers) means Testosterone replacement made me feel a LOT better, and getting thyroid sorted too has helped a lot, although I remain depressed, although I "cope" without any antidepressants currently, and at least don't have those side effects to stress about!

    So yes, getting hormones sorted can help, if that is a factor.

    Testing is the only thing that's going to give answers as to whether or not it is an issue, certainly low adrenal output was a problem for me, handling even the slightest stress was a serious problem.

    Just taking NDT in isolation is not something I would suggest until you know what is going on - for one thing, it will make subsequent blood tests less than helpful, and if it is adrenal related, may make things worse. How far you will get with your GP or an Endo, is a bit hard to predict, some private testing might be needed, although unless you are dramatically low in Cortisol, you wont find much help for that via Doctors in this country, but at least it might save you some money in testing! :-(

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