Thyroid UK
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Hello Everyone ,

I am reaching out for help. I have a dear Aunt that is very close to me that had breast cancer and thyroid issues. She had surgery and for the past year now has been paranoid about everything. Between this time she also got sober and now is daily convinced people are out to get her, doing things to her, breaking into her house, bringing up things from years ago that she believes people were out to financially hurt her. She has a hard time maintaining a job because she thinks people were putting things in her lunch or making fun of her. I am at a point where i don't know what to do , where to go to help her or find out what is the root of her issue. She claims to be off all medications and is only taking Levothyroxine which is a thyroid medicine. Is there any advice, experience that anybody has that can give me clarity or direction on what to do ? Thank you so much

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Hello Loganbengal513 welcome to the forum :) You might like to ask your aunt for her latest blood tests, if this can be done without upsetting her further and posters can comment on her thyroid levels. Feelings of paranoia can be a symptom of undermedication. If your aunt has a thyroid problem she will typically need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of her life, so you might also like to ask her how long she has been off thyroid meds. More here

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_... I'm sorry that your aunt is suffering but glad that she has you standing in her corner

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Hi Loganbengal513

If she was drinking heavily, then withdrawal from alcohol can cause issues like this but there's also lots of other issues that can physically cause anxiety and issues with brain chemistry including whether or not she's taking enough thyroid replacement. Also nutritional deficiencies can cause similar problems and these are quite common in those with thyroid problems or even in those that drink too much. We can't really advise without her test results but she can get these from her doctor and you can post them here for advice.

We normally advise the following tests

TSH

T4

T3

VitB12

Vit D

Ferritin

Folate

A blood count can be useful too and has she had her kidney/liver function tested if she was drinking too much for a long time?

Most GPs wont do the t3 test and her doc may not wish to do the others either as they are pants most the time as generally clueless but you can get the tests done privately for a reasonable cost.

There are other things but it's always good to start with the basics. A good healthy diet and eating enough is always useful too.

Hope you get to the bottom of it soon :-)

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If possible, ask if she's had thyroid blood tests recently and if not, suggest she gets them done and perhaps offer to accompany her? Paranoia can accompany lack of thyroid hormone and your aunt might not realise this.

If your aunt drank a lot of alchohol, she may also have low B12 levels and this will make it worse. Surgery and some anaesthetic can also knock out B12. Thyroid hormone might not work very well until vitamin levels are sorted out.

It could be worth explaining that not having enough thyroid hormone and having low vitamin levels can make you feel fearful of things that you wouldn't normally fear because it alters your outlook but this can be corrected very simply. Perhaps if she understands what the cause of her feelings might be, she may be more willing to explore solutions. She might be fearful that she is losing the plot when actually there is a physical cause.

Perhaps she doesn't think it's possible to be free of these fears so she's not looking for a solution? Perhaps if you explain that it's possible to be symptom free and there are solutions if she can take one little step at a time. First thing is to get proper blood tests done.

If you could persuade her to have thyroid and vitamin blood tests and post the results here then people will be able to help. No doubt there are lots of people who've been through similar.

Ask for TSH. FT4, FT3 (doc might not do FT3) TPO, TgAb, B12, folate, ferritin and vitamin D.

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Did your aunt get medical help to come off alcohol? I hope she did. There is a condition that can develop in alcoholics called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS). One of the symptoms commonly associated with this is paranoia. WKS is caused by brain damage, and the brain damage is caused by developing a severe deficiency of thiamine or vitamin B1 (two names for the same thing).

The reason alcoholics develop a deficiency of thiamine is because the body needs lots of it to metabolise alcohol. The poor diet of alcoholics adds to the problem.

To make matters worse, detoxing from alcohol also increases the body's need for thiamine. If alcoholics seek medical help to give up they are likely to be treated with high dose B vitamins including thiamine (amongst other things), but if they give up alcohol without any medical help they may end up with WKS due to running out of thiamine.

Low T3 (a thyroid hormone) also causes huge problems with cognitive function and can cause paranoia.

Your aunt can treat herself with high dose B vitamins, with little risk of developing any problems, although too much vitamin B6 can eventually cause peripheral neuropathy.

But treating the thyroid is more problematic and throwing thyroid hormones at the problem is not the answer. Any thyroid treatment needs to be done carefully and with regular testing.

I'm pretty sure that you aunt's paranoia and her general mental function can be improved to some extent, but how much is in the lap of the gods. She would just have to try it and see. Don't let doctors and psychiatrists get their hands on her to treat her mental problems. They will just prescribe anti-depressants, anti-anxiolytics, and probably many other very poisonous drugs. And I can assure you that none of them are good substitutes for B vitamins, Vitamin C, and the correct levels of thyroid hormones.

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Yes, unfortunately, totally agree with humanbean - very unlikely to get help from the docs who will probably just throw anti depressants etc at her which will not resolve the issue at all.

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humanbean, what a brilliant answer!

I was so upset by Loganbengal's story I could not imagine a way out for her aunt, yet you have given her a way and a lot of hope. Thank you.

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Hi Logan, I'm worried about everyone's mental health after watching this series: \

brokenbrain.com/replay/

You probably won't be able to see much of it but it truly explained how autoimmune conditions and also what alcohol does to the brain. She needs to work on her gut health since that is where much of this starts. It takes a definite commitment.

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Sounds like there are some good suggestions here, but it is important to know what drove her to drink in the first place and it seems that fear is at the root of her problems as well as body chemistry. Could be related to adrenals and thyroid, but it does seem that along the way there was some emotional abuse from one or more close individuals in her youth or in relationship with others later on, that is now surfacing because it can no longer be kept under restraint in the subconscious through self-medication (alcohol). I would engage your aunt in compassionate conversations that may bring some of these old wounds to the surface for recognition and review.

As well as diet, supplements and thyroid replacement, keeping her in a daily vigil for finding truth and answers that are beyond the physical can be of great help. And remember that no matter how much you wish to see her well, it is only going to happen if she is willing to work at improving her situation by her own efforts. Is she cognizant of her chronic panic and paranoia?

I believe that her recent bout with cancer has traumatized her as well, and if her surgery was a mastectomy she may be having a displaced reaction. She may be embarrassed about her condition and not knowing how to handle the emotional crisis she is putting the blame on others. She needs to discuss this in the open with loved ones like you.

You may also want to explore homeopathic and/or Bach Flower Remedies. They are natural, and work on the emotional and mental state. Rescue Remedy could be a good place to start.

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Thiamine is also very often too low when hypothyroid, so your aunt has double the reason to suspect that

thyroidpharmacist.com/artic...

Would suggest you get her vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 tested first

Then get her a good quality vitamin B complex. But ideally test first.

Gluten free diet if possible too may help

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Sounds like a combination of factors but yes I was mentally unwell with underactive and unmedicated thyroid. I also gad auditory hallucinations and paranoia though wasn't in a position to work - or do much of anything. Hope you can go with her to appointments as not easy to speak up for yourself when feeling so low!

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