Confused : Hi Im a very concerned mum, my son has... - Thyroid UK

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Hi Im a very concerned mum, my son has been in a mental health ward twice recently all they can diagnose is serve anxiety and depression. He is so unwell, recently he has been told that in May he had a low thyroid test ( no one told him then) and then another even lower in sep. They have now done another test and said his levels are now within range. He has had no thyroid treatment at all they just seem to be ignoring it. My question is, can it be possible that this is all down to his thyroid and is it possible to have hypothyroidism with low blood levels and then they change to within range. We o not have a copy of his readings. Thank you.

22 Replies

Anything is possible. But, we'd need a lot more detail to know for sure. Does he have copies of his results? Which tests they did is as important as the results, because if they don't do all the right tests, they can't possibly make any sort of diagnosis. And, saying his levels are 'low' and 'in-range' tells us nothing, because we don't know which test it is - although probably the TSH. Sounds as if he needs his antibodies tested.

But it used to be true - and probably still is - that a lot of people ended up in mental hospitals when all they needed was thyroid hormone replacement.

Nailtech in reply to greygoose

I do know it was TSH levels but I don’t know what they were, we I’ll ask for a copy of them. Thanks

Jnetti in reply to Nailtech

Hmm, low TSH doesn't make sense to me, unless he has some form of central hypothyroidism. greygoose do you have any ideas?

Although without the T4 and T3 results it's difficult to know. Hyperthyroidism does cause agitation I think....

Jnetti in reply to Jnetti

Oh, thought you said low TSH.... Sorry :-O

greygoose in reply to Nailtech

Well, the level of the TSH depends on the time of day the blood was drawn, so on its own it is pretty meaningless, something doctors just don't understand. So, it would appear more testing is necessary to know anything. He needs:




TPO antibodies

Tg antibodies

vit D

vit B12



to get a full picture of what's going on.

Nailtech in reply to greygoose

Thanks for this advice, I will ask the doctor to test for these.

greygoose in reply to Nailtech

OK, but it's doubtful he will. And, even if he orders them all, the lab probably won't do them. Most people end up having to do private tests to get them all done. Details of private tests here:

Depression is a common hypothyroid symptom. Is he also very lethargic and unable to talk much? Has he recently gained weight, is he always cold....? There are many other possible symptoms of hypothyroidism and everyone gets slightly different combinations.

In the UK we have a legal right to ask for our blood test results, without charge. As his next of kin I think you should be able to get a printout of your son's results as he's unable to get them himself. If not, make a fuss.

Post them here, including the reference ranges (either in brackets, or with a small "R" next to them. For example, "TSH 3.7 (0.27-4.2)". The main results you will need to for thyroid are:

TSH, FT3 (Free T3) and FT4. Also antibodies. Vitamin B12, ferritin and folate may be included so post them too.

Is there anyone else with thyroid problems in your family? The tendency can be inherited and is evidence that it needs investigating.

Nailtech in reply to Jnetti

We are going to ask for a copy. It was TSH levels that were low. My mum had thyroid problems my sister has Hyperthyroidism and my niece had thyroid cancer and had her thyroid removed. Thanks

Thyroid problems run in families, do this family history makes it more likely he may have a thyroid problem.

In my view, doctors require a very high threshold before they will diagnose thyroid illness. This means that if any doctor has ever said that a person's thyroid function looks low or that they are borderline for a thyroid problem I would say they almost certainly have thyroid illness. They may also have pretty extreme blood tests but doctors just call it nothing.

In your position I'd make it a big priority to get hold of those test results. You are legally entitled to have them. Its very possible they could explain the whole of your son's mental illness.

Should also mention, if you struggle to get hold of the results, or if you do get hold of them and they're very inadequate (probably only TSH has been tested, not a full thyroid panel), you could consider getting full Throid testing through a finger prick mailorder tests. The ThyroidUK website explains how

Get all the tests that have been mentioned, complete thyroid panel including antibodies, and ferritin, folate, vit D, and vit B12. You should be able to get these as a package.

Thank you I going to ask for all these thing to be tested. Also yes he has been saying how cold he is for weeks and he also can’t be bothered to talk, he is so lethargic all the time. This is all so different from a young man a year ago that played a lot of sports and was always on the go.

Isn't it just damn peculiar that they would rather diagnose mental health issues than a thyroid issue? There's always talk of cures being found for cancer and other ailments yet the thyroid which seems key to good health is just dismissed? Just where is medicine going now that fundamentals are ignored? Whole body health needs whole body treatment not just the sensational/high profile problems

Its very strange :( Its hard to figure out why they are so hostile to thyroid illness and so reluctant to treat it well. It leaves lots of people sick for a long time :(

I’m sure it has had a baring and like previous replies have said find out what his antibodies are and vit levels. Do a private blood test if necessary. Does he have any dietary problems? You can be more thorough exploring his physical health than the ward can be. They can keep him safe. I hope he gets better really soon x

He has no dietary problems we have ever found. The ward are not really looking at physical health. Iv ask them to repeat the blood test and they said we have to wait 3 months.


I am very sorry you're son is unwell. A mental health problem can also occur with a problem with your thyroid gland.

Unfortunately, it seems to the majority on this forum that doctors know little about the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

I remained undiuagnosed because of the 'modern' method of diagnosing/treating . I eventually had to diagnose myself.

Before blood tests were introduced along with levothyroxine, we were all diagnosed upon our clinical symptoms alone and given a trial of NDT (natural dessicated thyroid hormones as that's was the very original replacement. Now we're prescribed a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine.which is T4 alone and should convert to T3. T4 (levothyroxine) is an inactive hormone and has to convert to T3 (liothyronine). It is T3 which is needed in all of our T3 receptor cells and heart and brain need the most.

You may have to get a private test taken as the medical profession only test a TSH and T4 I believe. It is a home test and if you decide and if doctor will only test TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 this is insufficient.

Few doctors - in these modern times know any clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism and ae apt to treat symptoms as 'apart from the thyroid gland'. They also only take notice of the TSH.

These are symptoms of hypOthyroidism: (too little hormones).

These are hypERthyroidism.: (too much hormones)

First - if doctors think of taking a 'TSH' (thyroid stimulating hormone) it should always be at the very earliest (TSH is higher then and drops throughout the day) and can make the difference between getting diagnosed or not. In other countries we'd be diagnosed if TSH goes above 3 but in the UK they make the person wait until it's 10 and people could be quite unwell by this time.

Private blood tests are available and blood draw should be at the earliest, fasting (water can be taken). I shall give you a link.

Your son needs:-

TSH, T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3 and thyroid antibodies. Blood draw, fasting (he can drink water). If he was taking thyroid hormones he should allow a 24 hour gap between last dose and test and take afterwards.

This is the procedure, make sure son is well-hydrated a couple of days before so that blood flows easily. The following are the labs that do home finger-tip blood draw.

Post the results, with the ranges on a new post for comments. He should also get B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate too which the doctor should do. Deficiences also cause symptoms.

The hormone T3 is needed in all of our T3 receptor cells (there are no T4 receptor cells).

Always get a print-out of the results and make sure ranges are given as labs differ in their machines and the ranges may also be different and ranges allow members to comment upon them.

Nailtech in reply to shaws

Thank you for this I will get in touch with the Nuffield hospital near us.

shawsAdministrator in reply to Nailtech

The majority of medical professionals seem to follow guidelines in which TSH and T4 are sufficient for a diagnosis. (If they suspect a dysfunctional thyroid gland - my own experience is that - despite seeing doctors who gave me different diagnosis for my symptoms - none did a TSH. In the past there were no blood tests and doctors diagnosed us upon symptoms alone and given NDT (natural dessicated thyroid hormones).

Nowadays - if we're tested - they seem to only test two, i.e. TSH and T4. In reality Free T4 and Free T3 are more informative. T3 is needed in our millions of T3 receptor cells as it is the Active hormone that permits our body to function optimally. Many seem to be able to convert T4 (levo) into sufficient T3 but some don't.

Most Hypothyroid people suffer with Hashimotos - an auto-immune condition.

I am very concerned as a 'Grumpy Grandma' - about young people being diagnosed with mental health issues when the Thyroid has not been fully explored.

Also the lack of understanding as to how low B12 - Folate - Ferritin - VitD can affect the performance of the thyroid and general wellbeing. Do have them all tested as Low B12 can cause anxiety and depression.

Low thyroid can cause poor absorption of nutrients and poor nutrients can affect thyroid hormone performance in the body - chicken or egg ?


First thing is, do you have any actual blood test results? if not will need to get hold of copies.

Your son is legally entitled to printed copies of his blood test results and ranges.

UK GP practices are supposed to offer online access for blood test results. Ring and ask if this is available and apply to do so if possible, if it is you may need "enhanced access" to see blood results.

This is by far the best way, as you can see historic test results too

In reality many GP surgeries do not have blood test results online yet

Alternatively ring receptionist and request printed copies of results. Allow couple of days and then go and pick up.

For full Thyroid evaluation your son needs TSH, FT4 and FT3 plus both TPO and TG thyroid antibodies tested. Also EXTREMELY important to test vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12

Most GP's will only test TsH, this is completely inadequate

Low vitamin levels are extremely common, especially if you have autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's) diagnosed by raised Thyroid antibodies

Ask GP to test vitamin levels and thyroid antibodies and full Thyroid including FT3 and FT4

You may need to get full Thyroid testing privately as NHS refuses to test TG antibodies if TPO antibodies are negative. Rarely will they test FT3

Recommended on here that all thyroid blood tests should ideally be done as early as possible in morning and before eating or drinking anything other than water .

Come back with new post once you get results

Depression and anxiety are extremely common symptoms when hypothyroid

Low vitamin levels can get significant aspect too so essential to get these tested

For thyroid including antibodies and vitamins

Medichecks Thyroid plus ultra vitamin or Blue Horizon Thyroid plus eleven are the most popular choice. DIY finger prick test or option to pay extra for private blood draw. Both companies often have special offers, Medichecks usually have offers on Thursdays, Blue Horizon its more random

Mental issues including Bi-polar and Hashimoto's

Thank you for your help.

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