pschychiatrist & thyroid med

In the answers to my first question here (telling the awful history of my hypo illness), someone very kindly mentioned that psychiatrists are able to prescribe thyroid med. I've seen two over the last 20 years, but I now know my 'insanity' was lack of thyroid med. How long have psychiatrists been able to prescribe T4/T3? I very clearly told both of them that I had been diagnosed in 1981 with an extremely under active thyroid. I'm still fuming over the behaviour of GPs, consultants, endos, psychiatrists et al ! (smiley face - at least I can smile nowadays)

8 Replies

Marigold, psychiatrists can prescribe T3 for refractory depression which doesn't respond to antidepressants. They're not allowed to prescribe it for hypothyroidism though :o

Thanks Clutter. Do you think a consultant psychiatrist should have questioned my dose of thyroid med when I presented with severe depression, having told him about my diagnosed very underactive thyroid? Wondering about negligence basically.

Marigold, I had a battery of blood and urine tests to rule out physical illness before I was referred to a behavioural pyschologist who diagnosed bipolar many years ago. It was normal practice then but doesn't always appear to be so now.

I think he might have asked to see your thyroid results and what medication you were taking but I don't know that it constitutes negligence by not asking for them.

The classic 1949 paper by Dr Richard Asher, Myxoedema Madness, tells of thyroid hormone used on the mental ward at Middlesex hospital (though he himself was classed as a physician). Be prepared for some brutal photographs if you follow the link.

There are quite a few more papers - not all accessible, unfortunately - which identify the close connection between thyroid and mental issues and the use of thyroid hormones in psychiatry.


In May 2014, my psychiatrist said he did know he could give me T3 for my longstanding severe depression (over 20 years) but refused because he had never prescribed it himself. (he will obviously never learn!) and my GP said no also because it was frowned upon ! (I was on T4 at the time. We know that the GPs and Endos are uneducated in Thyroid illness and sadly Psychiatrists also.

To read that so much knowledge was there in the past and yet it has been allowed to become nearly extinct, rather than being expanded, is, in my eyes, criminal. Twenty years of antidepressants and I only ever got worse, such a difference since taking NDT, I'm a different person.

Thank You for this link, Rod, I've had a quick look and it is very interesting. (will read more tomorrow). I noticed, like Clutter, that the dosage of meds was in grains, evidence I think of the use of Natural Thyroid.


Levothyroxine had been synthesised many years earlier but was not a regular product in 1949.


Interesting case studies, Rod. Odd to read of four x two grains being the daily dose for one of the patients

I have always suspected that the potency was at the least questionable. Also well known to be variable between makes. They did not have the technology to accurately assay for T4 and T3 content but relied on things like total iodine content.

I have never been convinced that doses were as much higher then as they initially might appear.


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