Thyroid UK
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Depression with thyroid troubles

Hello, I'm new to this site, 2 years ago I had Rai for Graves, it's been a struggle ever since, have been on anti-depressants ever since, and am trying to come off them. It's been so hard, some days I don't want to go on. I'm 66 years old, does this ever get better?

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Yes, it does.

I've been there too, I've had a thyroidectomy performed in 2013, for Basedow-Graves disease reasons (TED present at that point

Struggled for approx 12+ months to find a balanced (T4 medication) and after this I've had a quite good period, followed by a crash - I mean a complete meltdown, physical and mental. That was when I've met depression, probably for the first time in my life. At some point, after a few months I've realized (gladly...) that I wasn't a depressive person for a life time and, though my condition and context was pretty delicate there were not enough reasons to fall to depression.

Long story short - I've changed again medication, now using a T4-T3 combo and overcome the situation, with some support form a therapist I've asked to assist me. That was spring 2016 and until recently it worked reasonably good.

Currently, to be honest, I feel that I am going to crash once again but now I am aware, at least in part, of the reasoning behind. There are personal issues that can push to a depression but there is also the thyroid hormones replacement meds that, in my case, seem to fail cyclically, around each 18 months :)

Bottom line, though I had bad episodes, most of the times the situation is quite ok, stable and live has the flavor it should have.

My suggestion to you is not to let go and keep on searching, you can find equilibrium in the treatment.

Don't stop believing, be restless in your search, understand that an exterior factor is playing with your head, look for answers and solution both outside but inside too...that was the way I've overcame poor treatment inflamed depression.

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Thank-you so much Ceasard, it's nice to know I'm not alone!

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I took anti depressants on and off for30 years until 2 years ago when I decided to take charge of my own medication,I stopped the anti depressants and started to take SAM-e instead, I feel so much better and have no side effects! I am not medically qualified,this is what I found worked for me.

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Cobbyp,

If you post your recent thyroid results and ranges we'll be able to advise whether or not you are optimally medicated. Being under medicated will make you unwell which will probably cause depression. If you have any results and ranges for ferritin, vitamin D, B12 and folate post those too.

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Hi Clutter, Wonder if you could advise, am new to this site, recent labs are TSH: 1.03, FT3 2.4 (2.2-4.0) FT4 1.2(0.7-2.0) haven't felt well on synthroid alone, I take 100mcg. New Endo is agreeable to T3, she said a possibility would be to try 50mcg synthroid and 1 grain Armour, or adding Cytomel to the synthroid. What would be a reasonable starting place with either of these? My metabolic tests are all fine, see an excellent oncologist for colon cancer follow up (am cured), he runs a very long metabolic panel on me every six months to make sure cancer has not returned. Thank-you so much for any advice. Colleen

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Cobbyp,

Either the 50mcg Synthroid + 1 grain Armour or adding 10mcg Cytomel to 100mcg Synthroid should raise FT3 which is currently low in range.

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Thanks Clutter, I will suggest that to my endo, will see her in about 4 weeks, sure appreciate your help!

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I was diagnosed hypo 12 months ago and reeled off my list of symptoms off the check list, including raging depression. Third appt saw another different GP who suggested my thyroid levels were normal now (on 50mcg levo and no FT4 or FT3 tested) but how about some anti depressants, blood pressure meds and statins. I suggested proper tests and getting my levo dose right first (luckily i found this site early on).

I agreed that If they got me optimally medicated and I still felt depressed etc then I would reconsider. I am now better medicated and was right, i do not need anti depressants or blood pressure meds or statins and weight has stopped going up, still hoping for hair .......

We are all different but as Clutter suggested, post your results with ranges so you can at least see if under-medication could be a factor, Endos and GP's are notorious for chucking pills at the wrong condition instead of raising thyroid meds and no clue what optimally medicated means.

If it turns out you really do need the anti depressants at least you can then fight to get put on the right ones/dose to help.

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Thank-you all of you for your replies, unfortunately I listened to many of the posts on other sights, that said my Ft4 and Ft3 MUST be in the top third of the range, and I upped my synthroid dose without my endo knowing, and my ft's did end up in the upper third of the range, but I ended up almost insane, also ended up in the E.R. with seizures. This happened after taking only 18 mcgs. higher than the dose I was on. I have also tried armour and cytomel, and they made things worse as well. I'm on 88mcgs of synthroid now, and feel a little better, my TSH is 1.40, my FT4 is 1.1, and my FT3 is 2.0 I definately feel better when my TSH is over 1.00. I can't even tell you what a nightmare being over medicated is like. I almost drowned as a child, and i can tell you the anxiety and horror of being on too much thyroid medication, made that a walk in the park. I'm hoping the depression I'm experiencing now is withdrawal from the anti-depressant. My ferritin level is 14 low end of normal, I tried the vitamin route, even bought Shakely vitamins to the tune of 200.00 a month, and ended up with hot flashes and diahrea. I had colon cancer 3 years ago, stage 1, and am cured, but still see my oncologist every 6 months. He runs complete metabolic tests, and says everything is fine. I also drink quite a bit of coffee, and wonder if this might be part of the problem. Have any of you had problems from anti-depressant withdrawal? I feel like I'll never get the synthroid dose right until I'm off the AD's because I think they might throw the thyroid levels off. This is just so hard, I just want to feel like myself again. Peace and good luck to all of you that are suffering from this thyroid stuff. If anyone out there has recovered, sure would like to hear about it, so desperatly need stories of hope!

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I have also written on here today, with regards to my thyroid vitamins being on the low side of normal, been taking folic acid for the last 4 weeks, as that was low, but like you I have been given different antidepressants over the last 19 months to which none worked, just made me feel worse and go further down hill, I only wanted counseling for late bereavement.... My most resent AD was Venlafaxine, which on this occasion only took them for 5 weeks, I cut them down, and took my last quarter 10 days ago, but I still take 3ml of Diazepam to help me come off them, I also am scared now I am getting addicted to diazepam, and again like you i am not sure whether it is withdrawal or my thyroid being at the very low range of normal, or both. unlike most underactive thyroid suffer-as I have lost a lot of weight. I am thinking we both might be suffering from withdrawal..... Hilary

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I think so too Hilary, this is so hard, I do know that the anti-depressant I'm on does work, but I just want so desperatly to be off it. The one anti-depressant that does work for everyone is Parnate, it has to be the one put out by Activas, the other generic brands don't work. It might be difficult to find a Doctor to prescribe it, as there are dietary restrictions involved, you could find out about it by googling Parnate. I too have lost a lot of weight, do you have Graves? Do you still have a thyroid? I wish you the best of luck, and patience in your suffering. I have to believe that somehow we will get better, I do know that there are people out there that have gotten better, sure wish there were more people who have recovered posting and sharing their stories, I suppose people tend to post when they are feeling unwell, and when they get better, just go on leading their lives. God Bless! Colleen

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Yes Coleen I have taken levothyroxine for 21 years now, have tried Armour, but didn't work, I don't have Graves, for 19 years of that I didn't take AD's, may have got a little anxious at times,but not for the need of anything, on average was okay, AD's don't work for me , but the withdrawals, are horrendous.... paying out yet again tomorrow for an ENDO, spent out a lot of money in this last 15 months to find out why i am feeling this way, but when i do start feeling somewhat near to the real me again. I will definitely get in touch and let you know... Do you live in the UK?......You can always keep in touch with me where ever you live..... Hilary :)

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Thanks so much Hilary, were your thyroid levels pretty much the same when you felt well as when you went on and off the AD's? Hilary, if you do decide to go the AD route,( I think it's MUCH better if you can go without them) I swear to you Parnate WILL work, it works for everyone, in the past 2 years I've been on 12 different AD's, all of them made me worse, Parnate also starts working in about 3 days, just make sure you take the name brand, or the Generic brand that is made in Italy, I live in the U.S., here it is put out by Activas. Hope this helps. Colleen

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Hi Colleen i see you live in the US, my mother was born in Chicago, my son lived there for 22 years, he is also an American citizen, came back when his father was very ill. Plans to go back to Florida, has a house in Orlando I was there many times a year with my late husband, he want me to go back with him, but I need to be well first, he is in Miami as we text now, gone over to see friends... thanks for your help .... Hilary x

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Thank-you too, Hilary! I have always wanted to visit the U.K. Canada is the closest I've come! Florida is a beautiful state, hope you feel better soon, so you can go there soon! Stay in touch! Colleen

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Hi Coleen, yes it would be nice to keep in touch, and hey if you ever wanted to come to the Uk , you would be more than welcome to stay here. What part of the US do you live?..... Hilary :)

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Wow, what an offer! I would love to come to the U.K. I will put that on my bucket list! I live in Northern Minnesota, on a lake called Hand Lake. Same offer goes here! If you ever come to the States, would love for you to visit, and your son also! Colleen

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Hi Coleen, just in from my friends house, around the corner, she also lost her husband, but it didn't effect her like me, she just has fond memories, which is nice, took my little Bichon with me, he is nearly 17 years old, and still quite fit, just doesn't see so well, my neighbor also has a Bichon. She minds Lucas when i go away, he also came from Orlando, as he was my sons dog, i have had him since he was 6 years old, don't know what I would do without him. Yes anytime you wish to visit England, your more than welcome. and thanks for the offer to Minnesota, I will definitely have to get to being me again, that is my aim.... are you on facebook? if so, my name is Hilary Barnett, you can look me up... the above picture is 3 years old... big hugs.... Hilary :)

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Hi CobbyP,

I am sorry to hear that you are having a particularly difficult time.

I struggle with depression too and can tell you that when I tried to come off of antidepressants on my own I really struggled. If you are not already you should really be working with your doctor to slowly ween yourself off of them.

I have to say that therapy has really helped me too. A lot of people do not feel that it is for them but I highly recommend giving it a try. I have found that it is the 1 hour each week dedicated to me - if that means crying, talking about my illness, relationship issues etc. My therapist is really good at making me translate my emotions into words and reasonable thoughts. If money is any issue there are many counselling charities that only charge on a means basis so that you can get help without worrying about the financial impact. Just google and I am sure that you can find somewhere near you.

I am seeing a new functional medicine practitioner and she recommended that I look into neurotherapy. Apparently they have had really good results treating depression. I am going to try it once I have saved up my pennies. ( brainworksneurotherapy.com )

Lastly, please know that you are not alone on your journey to health. We are all trying to get to a better place and many of us have times of struggle. There many highly knowledgeable people on this site who can help you understand your blood test results and suggest ideas.

Try to keep your chin up. I hope that you feel much better very soon!

Kathy xx

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Thank you so much Kathy, I think I made a big mistake going off the AD's cold turkey. I will speak to the Doctor about weaning slowly. Were you eventually able to get off them? I have been thinking about seeing a therapist, for now I go to a self-help group called Emotions Anonymous, which helps a lot. The thing I truely don't understand, is that I've been to 5 different Endocranologists, 3 of which studied at the Mayo Clinic, ALL of them said that the TSH test is the best level to dose by, and not to worry about the FT3. I know tons of people on Synthroid, and none of them even know what their FT3 is, and they are all doing fine! It just seems like I've become obcessed with my FT3 level, and make it worse by taking a higher dose, or using Cytomel. Isn't it possible that some people just normally feel fine even with a FT3 level at the low end of normal? I just don't know what to do! Thanks for the encouragement! Colleen

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Hi Colleen,

I have been on antidepressants a few times in my life. The first time I stopped cold turkey and really struggled. For me it was like an ongoing feeling of despair which eventually went away but at the time was not fun for me or anyone around me. I was just so desperate not to be on them. Several years later I went back onto them and when I was ready to come off of them I worked with my doctor to slowly reduce my dose and it was a much easier process. It takes the body time to adjust so easing off is kinder to the nervous system. You just need to be patient with yourself.

If you see a doctor without much training or knowledge of thyroid issues they will be hung up on the TSH level which frankly will only tell you where your T4 level is but not much more than that. I know that on the NHS many doctors feel hand tied in terms of referrals for other thyroid blood test. I have had to pay privately for further testing. I have found that with all of the levels- TSH, T4, RT4, and nutritional that each person will function differently at each level. It is such an individual thing. My functional doctor said something in regards to blood test results that really resonated with me: "Normal range and optimal range are two very different things". So your levels may show in the "normal" range for a test but your optimal may be the very top (or bottom) of the range. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. That is just something to remember.

I have Hashimotos and still have not gotten a proper handle on my levels. I am waiting for the next set of blood tests results to come through to see where my T3 level amongst others are at. I have tried many things expecting to see dramatic results only to be disappointed ( I have been gluten free for 2 years but have frustratingly seen no improvement) so keep plugging along and holding onto hope. I suggest getting a full set of blood tests including T3, RT3, RT4, B12, ferritin etc and posting the results on this site for some of the more knowledgeable people to give opinions on. You may find something unexpected above and beyond T3 that needs addressing. It is worth looking into if it will make you feel better. You are precious and you deserve to feel well.

Best of luck to you xx

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I will do that Kathy! Thanks so much! Colleen

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