Need help with depression and Thyroid

The last 15 months I have been suffering with anxiety and depression,it all started when I needed counselling for late bereavement, but waited 9 months on a waiting list, in the meantime the GP put me on Sertraline, Mirtazapine, had a 6 weeks break, were I went through hell, didn't know it was withdrawals, then I went on Fluoxetine for 10.5 weeks... Private Endo put me on Armour thyroxine, my thyroid went over, which put me in a bad way, that was only for 16 days, went back on Levo,.....3 months ago I went into a private hospital, were they gave more meds, came off them, I have been on nothing for the last 3 months, I have had private blood tests which came out normal,that covered thyroide, stimulating hormone, free T4, CRP Ferritin, Haemoglobin A1c (IFCC), and Free T3,.... This was last April... Should I have had a better test? at that time I was reducing Fluoxetine, not sure whether the test covered everything. the NHS tested my adreanal glands and cortisol, and they said that was normal, I am not sure about the vitamin part, If everything is normal, does anyone know what anti depression tablet may be alright with Thyroid, as I am so desperate to get better, as my son and daughter are so worried about me, and they have lives of their own This has gone on too long, I think my GP is so fed up with me. I am so alone in a dark hole and don't know what to do anymore, not sleeping and eat very little, loosing too much weight...... I was a happy go lucky person before all this, just sad after loosing my husband......Please Please help me someone... so very desperate.... Hilary

35 Replies

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  • Do you have the actual results (and lab ranges) for the tests you have had?

    Normal is often far from normal - the ranges are ridiculously wide.

    I'm thinking it wasn't the Armour that sent you over (unlikely it was a big enough dose unless your doctor is a complete idiot) but rather that you have problems with adrenal fatigue and/or are very deficient in iron.

    But first of all, results are needed. If you don't have them, get hold of them ASAP and post them here.

    Hugs - I lost my husband in June 2016, and I think it's true to say that if you haven't been there, people just don't get it. I feel like I've lost half of myself along with my husband. xx

  • Hi jazzw can you look in my profile, as you will find 2 results of

    blood tests, there is one from 3 months ago, that was the NHS and another from 4 months ago that is the Private one, which was done last April.....I think they were normal, don;t think there were any vitamins on there, but see what you think... many thanks Hilary x

  • Hi Hilary

    So. Three months ago, after you'd switched back to 75mcg levo your results were:

    Ferritin 31.4 ug/l (13 - 150)

    thyroid stimulating hormone 1.250 uIU/ml (0.270 - 4.200)

    Free T4 14.35 pmol/L (12 - 22)

    free T3 4.1 pmol/L (3.1 - 6.8)

    So what I can tell straight away is that you need an increase in levothyroxine dose. Your TSH result doesn't matter but you need your FT4 to be nearer the top end (nearer 22) and your FT3 to be at the top end of its range - nearer 6.8. A rise to 100mcg would be a good start and you may need more.

    Your ferritin is much too low - are you taking iron supplements? You need it to be much higher - at least 70. Your low ferritin will likely be the reason you struggled on Armour. Looking at the results from when you were on Armour, it was working for you but for some reason it's hard to tolerate when your iron stores are low. But don't worry about that - levothyroxine may well be enough, you just need more of it.

    I can't see that you've ever had Vit B12 or Vit D tested but if I was a betting woman, I'd lay money on them both being insufficient. See if you can get your doctor to test them. It's amazing what a difference having the right amount of vitamins can have - stupidly underrated by today's doctors, but then they only get about an hour on nutrition when doing their training! It's very common for vitamin levels to be low because being hypothyroid reduces stomach acid and makes it more difficult for your body to take the nutrition it needs from food. That becomes a double whammy when you're not on enough thyroid hormone replacement in the first place.

    First step - ask your doctor for an increase in levo dose and see if you can get your B12 and Vit D tested.

    Big hugs.

  • Thank you so much, you have made me feel a whole lot better, I have said all along it is my thyroid, when I have been trying to convince people for the way I am, knowing darn well this is not me..... x :)

  • Thank you for all you have done for me Jazzw, I also truly know what you are going through, your loss was quite resent, and your right, no one really understands till it happens to them xx

  • I agree with Jazz.

    Normal could mean anything. Best to post the actual result, with the associated ref range of each.

    If it's all on one page, and you have a smartphone, take a pic of that page (excluding your personal details) and post that image. This site only permits 1 image per post.

    Ps. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

    Hopefully, 2017 will be happier & easier..🌠

  • Put your reply for the blood test above x

  • Sorry Londinium, My head is all over the place, your reply is above for the blood tests... thank you so much x

  • Ahh thanks a lot Londinium for your reply, and I hope your 2017 is a good one.... Hilary...

  • Do hope you have a happy 2017 also and thank you Hilary

  • My first comment is that depression is very often the result of nutrient deficiencies and low or incorrectly dosed thyroid meds. It can take a long time though to get nutrients and thyroid working well.

    If you want a suggestion to help your depression quickly then you should do some research into 5-HTP. It is available on Amazon and other sites that sell supplements without prescription. Look for reviews on Amazon, and you'll see it is very popular.

    If it interests you, then I would suggest, to start with, buying one small bottle of 50mg capsules. 5-HTP has no effect on some people, so it isn't worth buying a lot until you know it helps. Also, many brands of 5-HTP are sold in 100mg dose sizes and for some people (e.g. me) that is too much. I've been taking 50mg at bedtime for nearly 6 years, but some people need much higher doses. Once you know whether or not it suits you and what dose you need then you can buy a suitable sized dose and bottle size.

    Please note that anti-depressants of any kind must not be mixed.

    So if you already take a prescribed anti-depressant then you won't be able to take 5-HTP.

  • I really appreciate your help... thank you so much.... Hilary x

  • First of all Hilary, I am sorry all of these problems arose after the loss of your husband. A bereavement is awful especially when you feel unwell yourself. You could have been hypothyroid and undiagnosed before this and all of your symptoms put down to your bereavement.

    I have had a quick look at your past post and see that you tried Armour for 2 weeks but that's not usually long enough but if it made you feel worse, I would have done the same.

    I would recommended you get a Free T4 and Free T3 blood test (I don't know whether your GP will do so) if not you could get a private one.

    I couldn't get well on levothyroxine and also tried several other thyroid hormones but am well now on T3 only. Sometimes even the addition of T3 to T4 works for a lot of people. Several Scientific Research has shown this to be the case.

    Levothyroxine is, as you probably know, T4 only. It has to convert to T3. T3 is the only active thyroid hormone which is required in our receptor cells, and we have billions in our body. The brain contains the most.

    Blood tests for thyroid hormones should be at the very earliest, and fasting although you can drink water. You probably know this and also allow 24 hours between your last dose of levothyroxine and the test and take it afterwards.

    Get a print-out of your results with the ranges and post for comments. I would also ask for Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate and antibodies if you haven't had them recently.

    It's time you had a bit of sympathy and I, when first diagnosed, couldn't understand how I could feel more unwell with replacement hormones than with a TSH of 100. With the help of Thyroiduk. Dr Peatfield and Dr Skinner I did find a way through.

  • Hi Shaws, first of all thank you so much for for your reply.... I was actually on Levothyroxine for 20 years before all this happened, and certainly didn't need an antidepressant, a year last August I took a heavy dose of Tramadol for a knee op, didn't know it was a strong tablet, and stopped it suddenly , left me with anxiety then the doctors put me on AD's while I was waiting for counselling, the rest you know... they first thought I had a thyroid problem at 16 , and there after with every other GP... In 1992 came off the Valium, they had prescribed for me most of my life, hiding the fact I had a problem , in 1995 started falling off my feet, with a heck of a lot of horrible symptoms, diognosed me MS to which I didn't have, It was Diana Holmes that said to me I don't think you have MS I think it is long term untreated thyroid and she was right, did not need any meds those 20 years I was on Levo, might have had a few lows,but always bounced back, now even today they still don't know enough, I was quite a happy go Lucky up and till 2 years ago, I really want to find myself again, I know this is part of the bereavement, but I know some how there is something not quite right, as my husband past in 2013, and did okay till the Tramadol, yes was sad, they say I am going through late bereavement, but do feel the Tramadol and AD's have messed my system up, but got that way I am not sure anymore..... I am so great full for the information you have given me, I think I will go private for my blood test, as am tired of begging GP's for what you really need, they have so many exuses for why you can't have or get the treatment you need.... Hilary x

  • Hilary, thanks for your response and it is amazing how we used to believe that doctors knew best. I know my Mother did and so did I. One day after my mother's blood test the doctor told her 'your bloods are now fine' you don't need any more B12 injections. My Sister and I both said' oh, that's great Mum. The result was my mother died a horrible death as she had Pernicious Anaemia (I do too now) and should never had her injections withdrawn. It's the 'after-effect' shock that life-giving medication is withdrawn or (with hypo) insufficient may be given to keep us 'within a range'.

    Anyway all on us on this forum are more knowledgeable now and I have found a way to good health now and you will too I am sure.

    I have read Diana Holmes' book saw Dr Peatfield and Dr Skinner (unfortunately Dr S died and his patients/family/staff are sure all the appearances before the GMC caused his early demise). Dr P withdrew his licence due to the strain but still advises although he himself has been seriously ill this year. All our knowledgeable doctors who treated patients by their symptoms and not bloods have retired or died.

    T3 can be used by phsychiatrists for their patients. Why don't they check hypo patient's FT3 and if low add T3.

  • Hi Shaws I felt so much better after talking with you and all the rest on this forum, I felt as though there is a light at the end of the tunnel now, as i know by being on this forum, I will sort my thyroid out.... by the way I was sad to hear Dr Skinner had died, i saw him in 1996, he was very nice.... So sorry what happened to your Mum, years ago I used to have faith in GP's, but not anymore, your lucky if you have a good GP who will listen to you, they used to call it a bedside manner..... As soon as I sort my private blood tests out, I will put it onto the forum....... Many thanks again..... Hilary :)

  • It's a relief when you find that others also have had the same uphill battle but you will win in the end, despite what the guidelines state :)

  • Dr Skinner's death was due to being pursued by his Associates - it certainly wasn't his patients who were complaining about recovering and one eminent doctor told his patient 'we've got him now'. Unknown to him the patient was also seeing Dr S and told him. Now - what are we to believe? . The GMC found no case against Dr S in all the times he appeared before them but he was stubborn and wouldn't give in. This is from the World Thyroid Register.

    "The Royal Society of Medicine’s reply to Dr Skinner’s repeated request for a conference to address this problem was to organise a conference on thyroid disease and refuse Dr Skinner’s request to speak on his experience in diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism. The only Royal College which sent a representative to speak at the World Thyroid Forum organised by Dr Skinner in 2012 was from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to speak on fertility problems in hypothyroid patients.

    Dr Skinner vigorously opposed certain aspects of the UK Guidelines at the time they were being formulated and lodged his ‘Document of Record concerning UK Guidelines for thyroid function tests’ in 2005 with all the Royal Colleges, National and Local Health Organisations, the British Medical Association and tried with the Society for Endocrinology who rejected it. He also wrote to Dr G H Beastall, Secretary, Guidelines Development Group, British Thyroid Foundation in 2005 to comment on the pitfalls in the proposed guidelines.

    It is disappointing that Dr Skinner’s medical colleagues have been and still are behaving like bullies in a playground forming their gangs and stopping all others from engaging with doctors they have chosen to cast out of their inner circle. Sadly, they have neglected their duty in caring for these patients resulting in a serious shortfall in their medical care leading to unnecessary suffering and years of mental and physical ill health.

    These Endocrinologists and General Practitioners have harassed Dr Skinner and doctors like him and instead of constructive scientific discussions have resorted to firing their guns from the shoulders of the General Medical Council and patients and their needs have been completely forgotten. It takes a great deal of courage and determination to persevere in the face of such adversity and Dr Skinner’s bravery and belief in doing the best for his patients brought respect and loyalty from all those who knew him.

    This is borne out by numerous patients attending the General Medical Council every time Dr Skinner appeared before them and by more than 2500 testimonials from patients presented before the General Medical Council at his Hearings.

    By their own admission, the majority of Endocrinologists and General Practitioners would not treat the patients who were treated by Dr Skinner so they have no experience of diagnosing and treating these patients. Dr Skinner successfully treated thousands of these patients and accumulated a vast treasure of information including blood tests and clinical signs and symptoms at their first consultation and at follow-up.

    R.i.P

  • Felt so much better yesterday after talking with you Shaws, but i made the mistake by going to the doctors this morning, and telling her that i thought my depression was due to my thyroid, she wasn't having any... My Son came with me, and made the mistake of telling her, i had been very depressed, and he and his sister were worried about me, he new I had a good day yesterday, but he doesn't quite understand, which i can appreciate, my daughter understands more, and she thinks a lot is my thyroid, i felt so happy yesterday as i felt I had something to look forward to, I was going to find out more.... The GP offered me some other AD's, i have so gone down in my own estimation today.... I am going to make an appointment with Endocrinologist again.... Is this the right thing to do?.... All i want is someone to believe me,.... Will not take her AD's... I am taking a 2ml diazapam the last couple of days, will not keep on taking them permanently, just 1,5 tabs a day just to take the edge off, but i don't want that to interfere with a blood test... can you give me some more advice, not sure what to do anymore, just want more days like yesterday, preferably without any meds... thanks Hilary

  • First, I suggest you copy and paste your response above onto a new Post so that you will get more responses especially from those who have gone through the depression route themselves.

    The less you tell the GP the better, I think. I've made the same mistake and they either think of us as a bit neurotic or obsessed with how we feel. Which might be true if we have loads of symptoms which they cannot diagnose or relieve . When we think we've got 'good news' to tell the doctor they aren't interested except to look at the blood test, mainly TSH and pronounce a diagnosis.

    Before you see an endocrinologist, see how you get on through the support of the forum. When your emotions have settled you will feel more in control yourself. Many members have been so elated to be referred to an Endo and been so disappointed.

    Thyroiduk.org.uk have a list of recommended Endos if you wish but maybe let your emotions settle so that you don't panic. I realise, if anxious, sensations can arise from our stomachs and can take over and make us afraid. If we realise this is common and not unusual we can cope a little better.

    You are now a member here and members have gone through all sorts of doctors/endos/symptoms and have come out the other end feeling much better that they've made their own decisions.

    Of course your family worry. Why wouldn't they when Mum has been diagnosed and give a prescription but is seemingly worse than before all of this, plus your sad bereavement, which in itself is sometimes a mountain to climb.

    A couple of links and the most important on first one is the Free T3.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    Tick off all your clinical symptoms:

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    Tomorrow is another day, so try to calm your emotions which I think wont be easy and look to feeling a little better tomorrow. As they say, one day at a time. A little better each day. It has taken years for us to be diagnosed and we didn't even realise our thyroid gland was packing up.

    :)

    Bear in mind I am in no way medically qualified for anything except a sticking plaster on a cut. So my views are not due to education etc.

  • Hi Shaw, I am so scared the way I am feeling, feel as though I am going to crack up been awake most of the night, now I am worried if I keep taking these Diazapam, I am going to want more...My son has stayed with me the the last couple of nights, but going home today..... Need to get this blood test done soon, but I am afraid the Diazapam might mask it... I know I shouldn't just bother you, but you seem to make sense in what you say, I used to be a strong person, but I don't know who I am anymore.... so sorry

  • I should think you are feeling like you are going to have a nervous breakdown but I think it is due to being hypothyroid.

    I think if you get your blood tests TSH, T4, Free T3 and Free T4 and antibodies it will give members a clearer picture.

    Personally, I don't think you've improved even taking anti-d's. Have they helped? or made you feel worse?

    As we have hypo the doctors aren't even aware of how we feel as they are not in our shoes. We are relying upon them to know all about how to treat us: or the effect of not being on a replacement hormone (or sufficient) to make us feel much better. I have just read the side effects of diazapam and I'll give you the link and I think you will be able to tick off quite a few.

    So I cannot advise. Personally, I would get thyroid hormones in balance first.

    drugs.com/sfx/diazepam-side...

  • I have just looked at another link and this is an excerpt:

    219241 tn?1413541365

    redheadaussie

    Having been misdiagnosed for 15 years and then on medication for thyroid and STILL told I had to take anti-depressants I can tell you ....DON'T take the anti-depressants till you get your thyroid levels at your optimum range.

    Hypothyroidism mimics depression and too many doctors prescribe anti-d's hoping that'll fix the problem.

    I won a battle with two psychiatrists. (15 year period!) They both failed to check my thyroid levels and it was totally unnecessary to be on anti-d's in the first place. Please inform your psychiatrist to look at the medical journals to establish that anti-d's in thyroid patients is not the recommended treatment.

    Mar 03, 2011

    medhelp.org/posts/Thyroid-D...

  • Check your info leaflet for your antidepressants as I know some SSRIs are contraindicated for levothyroxine so you've probably not had full benefit of your levo. GPs just tend not to be aware!

    I hope your 2017 is kind to you.

    Xx

  • For the last three months I've been suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression, it hit me suddenly after lots of worry and stress and then finally believe it or not a horrid cold sent me over the edge and one week I began waking up with that awful anxious feeling of dread and really struggling to get out of bed, couldn't eat etc etc. I was put back on citalopram. Several months earlier I had carefully weaned myself off citalopram after being on it for 3 years for panic disorder and social anxiety. The second time round citalopram took longer to help me, around 8 weeks. It's helped me with the physical symptoms on anxiety, now 12 weeks on I'm now still suffering with the mental side but it is getting better ... Intrusive thoughts, worries, over thinking constantly however I'm now taking the attitude "Just let them be" the less attention I give my anxious mind the less it will bother me over time. You will get there I promise.

    As for your thyroid, you most likely definitely need to have some form of medication for your thyroid. One thing I worried myself over was that my mental illnesses were triggered by my thyroid and that scared me because I had been fine before but now with CBT I have recognised it's most likely more to do with small issues I was stressed about and I also had kidney stones and PCOS issues to which just brought me down. Please look into CBT which your Dr should offer you alongside anti depressants. Also, SSRI's shouldn't affect your thyroid meds. I can't tell you what SSRI is right for you, everyone is different. You may not have found the right one for you but make sure which ever one you try, that you take it for at least 8 weeks to give it time to help you.

    Good luck and if you ever want a chat I'm here. Remember - a bereavement is a big enough thing to go through to trigger depression and anxiety, don't assume or worry excessively that it's your thyroid. Bereavement can cause your emotions to run all over the place. Your mental health is important to feel better about tackling other health issues x

  • Jade, I would ask your doctor, if you haven't already asked for a Free T4 and Free T3 blood test. The reason being that low T3 could be the cause of depression. Anxiety and depression are also clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism but doctors are apt to put in 'boxes' symptoms rather that look at the patient as a whole and join up the dots (symptoms). Your TSH should also be around 1.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    evolutionarypsychiatry.blog...

  • I've asked for other blood tests Shaw's but because my T4 AND TSH comes back within normal range I'm never given the opportunity for other bloods and the nurse said the labs won't check for anything else. I've also asked to see an endorsement just to be offered other blood tests but been refused. Saying that despite my mental symptoms I'm fairly well, I don't really have any other hypo symptoms and like I said never really felt unwell on levo. I had a lot of small stressful situations including my brother being badly attacked that caused a lot of stress and with being unwell with a cold, kidney stones and PCOS symptoms it all got on top of me. I've never dealt with stress very well. My symptom at the moment whilst overcoming depression is over thinking and dwelling .. I'll get there. I feel I know what's caused it as I have been going to CBT, that wouldn't help me if It was hypo alone that's causing my personal anxiety.

    Yes glynisrose it is a symptom of hypo but that doesn't mean this lady is suffering with hypo depression. There is such thing as delayed bereavement too.

  • I'm glad your feeling quite good but considering that T3 is the only active hormone I don't understand why the Endocrinology insist that TSH and T4 are sufficient. It is T3 which is needed in our receptor cells not T4.

    The doctors have been told that TSH and T4 is all that's necessary and that is o.k. for some. However, if we need to know our FT3 we can have a private test.

    Just for information:-

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    Read about FT3 on this link:-

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

  • Oh I know! I do wish they would offer me the test. I'm not financially able to order private tests unfortunately. X

  • P.S. I should have said that it is preferred that our TSH is around 1 or lower. Not 'anywhere in range'.

  • Depression is a SYMPTOM of hypothyroid not a seperate thing,.

  • I wish my endo would accept that!

  • It's also a SYMPTOM of nutrient deficiencies.

  • One other thought .......you said this all started after a knee operation. Presumably with a general anaesthetic? I think I read some where that a general anaesthetic seriously depletes our stores of B12. And you need good level of B12 for your thyroid hormones to work.

    Plus dealing with a major operation probably puts our adrenal system under more strain, further affecting our ability to use thyroid hormones. Hence in the past, the importance put on rest and recovery during a period of convalescence.

    As suggested by others, get your vitamin D, B12, folate and ferritin levels checked out.

  • Sorry to hear you've been feeling so low. Food sensitivities can also cause inflammation and depression, gluten being the most common. It may be worth doing a gluten free trial to see if it helps. It's better to wean off gradually over a couple of weeks so that it isn't a shock to the system. Cutting down on sugar and grains can also reduce inflammation.

    Also try to make time for relaxing activities such as lavender baths, listening to relaxing music, yoga and walking in nature. Good luck x

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