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Thyroid UK
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Hypothyroid links to mental health?

Hi everyone,

I have a question about hypothyroid and its links to mental health. I have been diagnosed with hypothyroid for 5 years now, and although my levels appear 'normal', I feel far from it. I have experienced several miscarriages, a stillbirth and also after the birth of my son I was unable to provide my premature baby with enough breast milk. My memory is poor, I'm uninterested, unmotivated, I have mood swings, tired constantly, headaches often, dull ache behind the eyes, and although Iv never been much of a 'smart person' I can feel myself loosing my intelligence. I have been back and forth to the doctors many times as I'm sure you all have too. They tests my levels and it's 'normal' and want to put me on anti depressants. Maybe all of this is in my head and I actually have a mental illness? I feel bipolar some days, schizophrenia the next. Iv asked to be referred so many times but I am never taken seriously, and have been refused blood tests often as I am 'fine'. Iv been to 3 different go surgeries and seen every single doctor and they all think the same. I just want to be fixed for the sake of my little boy. I have to live with the guilt everyday that I'm not the mum he deserves. I wish the doctors would just help me.

24 Replies

zcj140908, if your son has a loving mother who cares for him and loves him, he already has the mother any son or daughter deserves.

Normal means results are within range. Thyroid and some vitamin and mineral ranges are very wide and tweaking Levothyroxine and supplements can optimise levels and improve wellbeing.

Ask your GP receptionist or practice manager for your most recent thyroid results with the ranges, and any other blood results you've had recently. Post them in a new question and we'll try and figure out whether we can help you feel better physically and mentally.


Thank you for your reply. I have made a new post with a photo of my results. X


Don't give up if you feel unwell. It took me 2 years to get a diagnosis for hypothyroidism after my third child was born as I just got told. "What do you expect. You have 3 children and your husbands always away." I went to endless Doctors and eventually one did the necessary blood tests.


Hi zcj, with ALL of those symptoms are your doctors deaf? It is really disheartening to know what is going on in the NHS. I have read so many similar stories here and find them incredible. I think they are researching T3 to treat bipolar and Niacin was considered helpful for schizophrenia (in case you were serious). Every cell of your body needs thyroid hormone and if you don't have enough to go around, you will suffer.

Many people are getting their own since it is sometimes impossible to reason with the GPs. If you feel you are powerless in this modern day, we can go back to about 1910 when the doctor saw the signs you have and prescribed Armour Thyroid even without blood tests I presume. It is still made today and reasonably priced. Everyone follows a similar protocol and remarkable things can happen. There is no reason for you to be deprived of treatment and forced to struggle with every day life. You certainly seem to have hypothyroid symptoms and possibly adrenal support is also lacking.

Please start educating yourself here and determine you are not going to allow this terrible neglect to continue.


Please please obtain your results from the surgery and post them in a new question - don't forget the ranges as labs differ. Many people here will be able to help you with excellent advice.

We will soon have you well and happy. The journey to wellness can be a bumpy ride - but keep posting and asking questions and we are all here for you. You have been poorly treated by your Docs as you have shown many red flags. Iron - B12 - Folate - Ferritin - VitD - also need to be tested.

Always obtain copies of ALL blood test results - it is your right to have them - so you can monitor things for yourself.

Look after yourself and your little boy.....



Thank you for your reply. I have made a new post with recent blood test results. X



I wish I could give you a hug! You really sound like your at your wits end with this! I know EXACTLY what you mean about feeling like your losing it, this brain fog and mood swings that comes with hypothyroid is the worst. Especially when your a mother. With regards to your mental state, hunny you've been through multiple miscarriage and still born, that's got to have an impact on anyone's mental health! I'm so sorry you have been through that! I hope you have been given the right grieving support for that alone.

It's very frustrating that your getting nowhere with your gp. Sadly there are too many people on here that are in the same pickle. I have had more questions answered on here and more useful information than I have ever received from the Nhs.

I've just managed to fight to get an appointment with my gp about this as I have been hypo for over a year and no one has ever aat me down and explained anything!! Never explained my blood work plan of action nothing. I feel quite similar to you, I am trying to hold down two jobs and raise 2 kids and I work in a nursery and some days at 930 am I could curl up in a ball and fall asleep . Not good when I'm reaponsible for 25 4 year olds!!I'm forgetful, low concentration, no sex drive, I'm snappy, sad, cross. You name it! The reason I've insisted on a face to face appointment is because I haven't felt like 'me' for ages and I feel like I'm 50 not 30. Your doing your best Hun! im fairly sure you can self refer to see someone about mental health, although I think your go should be offering you this willingly or at least getting to the bottom of your thyroid meds to check you are being medicated correctly. I can understand your caution about the anti depressants. Use this forum, it's good for support!! Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing xxxxxxx


You can get a full panel of bloods done at blue horizen with I think a discount if you mention thyroid uk or tuk if you doctor wont do them.Lots of us have found we have to treat ourselves to get well. You need to get ferritin, folate, vit d and b12 done as well as thyroid hormones.

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Hi m'dear - Your post caught my eye m'dear and I am sorry to read it, unfortunately it's not unusual. Your doctor needs to look at your fT3 as much as your TSH and fT4. It sounds to me like you're not converting. The sad thing is that medicine often forgets another area - you may even have enough hormone level in your blood but if it's not able to connect with tissue (because of low levels of other hormones like cortisol or progesterone, for example) you are not going to get the benefit. Remember the 'workhorse' hormone is fT3, not the fT4 where your doc will usually only look as that is what is being replaced. Mental health, reproductive health as well as metabolism are intimately connected with thyroid.

First try checking with your GP that they are also checking your fT3 in their evaluations! Getting your thyroid levels right is much more preferable to a prescription of addictive antidepressants that will actually only numb your life.

I hope this helps. Warm wishes, Alyssa


Hello zcj,

I am sorry to hear of your troubles and send my heart felt wishes.

Brain fog is common in people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions.

Big imbalances of thyroid hormones can even induce psychiatric disturbances, mimic mental health and in extreme cases patients may appear schizophrenic, losing touch with reality and becoming delirious or hallucinating. I suffered psychosis earlier this yearn and the resulting depression still comes and goes without warning.

Doctors often misdiagnosis thyroid imbalances as the range of symptoms are enormous and may appear as other illnesses. Therefore a delayed diagnosis is common and the trauma already caused may not be considered.

AS DrAlyssa explains above T3 is enormously important and some (like myself) are incapable of the conversion required from the given Levothyroxine.

The total T3 in the brain comes from what is converted locally (from T4), plus what is transported in as T3. This accounts for a 80% of the total T3 specifically bound to nuclear receptors in the cerebral cortex, and approximately 67% of that in the cerebellum.

A neurotransmitter is a secreted chemical that's binds to a receptor on another neutron. Imbalances can be caused by thyroid hormone (or other) deficiency but also by blood sugar imbalances, gluten intolerance, heavy metal toxicity, chronic stress (causing elevated cortisol levels).

Because glucose is the fuel source of the brain, normal blood sugar levels are important for the production of neurotransmitters and also stop the activation of microglia (brain immune cells) causing further inflammation.

Also to consider is Hashimotos.

Dates Kharrazian states brain fog can be an activated immune response as unmanaged Hashimotos can cause inflammation of the brain (neuroinflammation) and a breakdown of the blood brain barrier (zonulin) leading to depression & fatigue and worse.

Curcumin (which passes through the blood brain barrier) and resveratrol are known to reduce inflammation and encourage healthy brain function. I supplement both. Other nutrients known to help the brain inflammation are green tea, ruin, DHA (in fish oil), Vit D, luteolin.

I started medicating on T3 (added to T4) in july. My head is much better and I feel grounded.


Thyroid hormones & cognitive impairment.


Effects of triiodothyronine on central nervous system.



Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal before applying any of these suggestions.



If most of the brains t3, is from converted t4, as you say, then how could someone on t3 only, not be brain damaged or at least, severely impaired?



zcj medicates on Levothyroxine so needs to convert in order to achieve the required T3 in her brain.

If medicating on T3 alone (which I am not so don't speak from experience) I assume it would be up taking by the brains receptors as doesn't need converting.



Hi Flower,

In the paper I read on this (please don't ask me to find it again!)

there are receptors in the bbb which lie between the feet of astrocytes (which take up the T4) these let the T3 through the bbb directly. This is not, however, the main way of getting T3 into the brain.

Perhaps the way the psychologists treat their patients is to give massive doses of T3 so that even if it is only, say, 5% of the T4 mechanism, it is 5% of a lot and therefore enough to have effect.

I don't know, that is a hard one.


Thank you LAHs

Fascinating isn't it.?

We know it to be used for manic depressives and bipolar disorders.

I can't believe the difference adding T3 has made to my brain .. ie thought patterns, way of thinking, rationality (and all within days of starting). Unbelievable really.

There is loads of research going on if you dig for it. I have folders and folders of it but there's a point when the depth becomes too hard to understand.




That is a question that is at the forefront of research. According to some research most of the brain's T3 is converted in the "brain side" of the blood brain barrier(bbb) from T4 in the blood serum, the T4 enters via the feet of the astrocytes in the bob - with just a little T3 entering directly as T3 from the blood serum.

However, for some time now some mental illnesses have been successfully treated by doses of pure T3 (e.g. cytomel). I do not understand this and I am not sure the psychologists who administer the T3 do, but it is done empirically and it works. So go figure.


i am on t3 only for nearly 18 months and i would be brain dead by now, if t4 were needed, actually.

Are you sure it is being researched? I have found no doctor the least bit interested in anything other than thyroid test results, mostly TSH.


Hi Faith,

I think the keyword in your post is "interested". There is research being carried out in this area (I will try and dig out some papers and post the links for you - I don't know where they are now but I remember they were difficult to read) but research is carried out by a different set of people usually in different buildings and researchers and practicing doctors do not regularly communicate. Doctors go to conferences annually or biannually and listen to the researchers present their new ideas, and that is were the word "interested" comes in. If doctors were interested the flow and implementation of ideas could turn our problems around. Very often big institutions get between the researcher and the doctor, e.g. the American Thyroid Association( ATA) and the British equivalent, (and (more scary) research is funded and promoted by Big Pharma). ATA et al cause a long delay to occur between positive research and the practicing doctor.

But I am very glad you found T3, it turned your life around, as it did mine.


I'm sorry you are feeling so bad and are being failed by the NHS. You may have been hypothyroid for a long time as your miscarriages/stillbirth could be caused by undiagnosed hypo. I think your doctor is another who is incompetent when treating a patient who is hypothyroid. We have to read and learn ourselves to improve our health and you are now on the road since your post. :)

Take levothyroxine first thing with 1 glass of water. For the next blood test for your thyroid hormones get the earliest appointment and fast (you can drink water). Leave about 24 hours between your last dose of levo and the test and take it afterwards. This keeps the TSH highest and that seems to be the only result the doctor is interested in. Also ask for your Vitamin D, iron, ferritin and folate to be tested at the same time. You have to keep in mind few doctors know how to treat hypo patients so we have to become more knowledgeable out of necessity.

You can get better but undiagnosed hypo can cause havoc with everything in our body. Now you have to get to an optimum of meds which you will.


Take heart - you are not alone.

Sorry to hear that you are having all these issues & on top of it all the Dr's are not being helpful.

I went through the same difficulty where all the Dr was interested in was putting me onto anti-depressants. Even had several referrals to the mental health clinic where they went down the same path. Naively I went along with their recommendations & in the process have lost a year of my life & had the most aweful withdrawal from the meds. Now I don't care what they think of me - I do my own research & book appointment after appointment until they give in & do what I want them to do.

The Dr is so tired of seeing me now that she mostly goes along with what I want as long as it is not outlandish. Now & again she will buck & try to "fight back" but then all I do is bring forth more research papers by academics to prove how wrong she is.

All I can say is stick to your guns - there is a lot of research results out there that show a definitive link between thyroid & the symptoms you mention! Don't let them railroad you into something you don't want, or don't believe is for you. Do your research & form your own opinion. Above all, advocate strongly for what you need & remember, your Dr sees you for 10 min but you live with yourself & the symptoms 24 / 7.

All the best & hopefully you will get onto the right path soon.


No advice but just to let you know I am exactly the same (apart from the schizophrenia) went private endo and was told bloods were all normal so I am now going to gp to beg for Armour & I am putting all my hopes on it changing my life x


"normal" means nothing. The average doctor does not understand the difference between "normal" and "optimal". Demand the numbers, and if the doc is not doing the minimum test suite (TSH,FT3,FT4,rT3,TPO antibodies, TG antibodies) suggested on a number of thyroid sites, then demand it. If you cannot demand it, find an advocate to go with you.

T4 (thyroxine) alone will not solve your problem if you are a poor T4->T3 converter. And thyroid alone will not solve your problem if you have nutritional deficiencies, gut problems, other hormone problems such as adrenals, etc.

Yes, thyroid disorders can definitely produce mental illness-type symptoms. Hypothyroidmom.com has a major article devoted to this subject. That article mentions cases where people had been diagnosed with conditions like bipolar affective disorder, but came out of it after receiving good thyroid treatment.


As already mentioned above, it would be a good idea to have vitamin B12 tested as deficiency is often interlinked with thyroid disease and symptoms overlap. It is especially involved with miscarriages, as it is involved in building DNA, as well as depression, anxiety, memory problems, headaches, psychiatric issues, etc.

What many GPs consider a normal test result is not and, as with thyroid issues, it's best to research as much as possible.



Dear zcj, this is such a sad story, I am so sorry you have had such a miserable time and admire you for thinking about your son.

I can't offer advice but maybe some hope. I was sent away by 4 GPs who considered me neurotic but luckily for me when I went back with a speech all planned "I understand that this is all in my head and I am not really in pain but this imaginary pain is so terribly bad I cannot cope, please, please refer me to a psychiatrist".

I didn't say a word of this, before I'd reached the seat this GP who had never seen me before told me to go straight to the couch and told the student with him what was wrong with me. (By then toxic shock).

Said GP then tore pages out of my notes saying they made me look like a hypochondriac and over the next few years really helped me.

Maybe your next visit will bring you to just such a GP, I do hope so.

So, please, difficult though it is, please do keep going back and asking for help.

As for the hypothyroid, I am far, far better since reading this site, my medication greatly reduced now that I understand what vitamins etc are essential for thyroid hormones, all those symptoms much improved : poor memory; uninterested; unmotivated,mood swings, tired constantly, dull ache behind the eyes, and ability to think.

I am sure the great knowledge others will no doubt share with you will help.

You put mental health in your title, here's a link someone else found that might be of interest.

Myxoedema Madness = article that links to magnesium: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

and a quote that I think came from it:

Many symptoms of psychological dysfunction have been described with hypothyroidism. Those symptoms most commonly related to thyroid deficiency include forgetfulness, fatigue, mental slowness, inattention, and emotional lability. The predominant affective disorder experienced is depression. Perceptual changes may develop with alterations of taste, hearing, and vision. Delusions and hallucinations may also occur as the disease progresses. No correlation, however, appears to exist between the degree of thyroid dysfunction and psychiatric symptoms that subsequently develop.

Meanwhile all those of us who have been where you are now send you hugs and care, support and admiration, we know what you are going through and how brave you are being, especially while looking after your little boy.

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Just had another thought - I used to work in a Psychiatric Unit and the marvellous Psychiatrists, even students, very often diagnosed and corrected problems like hypothyroidism not being correctly treated (and shocking thought this is often cancer misdiagnosed as depression), maybe you could get yourself referred?


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