Thyroid UK

Depression and anxiety symptoms in hypothyroid women (Pub Med Abstract)

This abstract (dated July 2010) may be useful to anyone needing to convince their GP or Endo that thyroid hormone imbalance is the likely cause of the depression, anxiety etc that they are experiencing.

The study refers to women, but I've no doubt it also applies to men!

Here's the important bit (although you would be wise to go to the link below and print the whole abstract if you're giving it to a doctor):


[Depression and anxiety symptoms in hypothyroid women.]

PURPOSE: to study the association between hypothyroidism and depression and anxiety symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: this case-control study showed a greater probability for hypothyroid patients to develop anxiety and depression symptoms when compared to euthyroid controls. Due to the high prevalence of hypothyroidism and depression observed in clinical practice, depressive symptoms must be considered in patients with thyroid dysfunction and depressed patients should be tested for TSH.


7 Replies



I am hypo, was diagnosed about 7 years ago although I have had symptoms and been tested many times since being a teenager (now 47). I am currently battling with my GP as I suffer with terrible depression even though my last TSH in Dec was 0.5

I have asked repeatedly for T3 test but the GP insists the lab won't do it if my TSH is 'in range' (0.3 - 5.0). I have a multitude of symptoms including, tremendous headaches and frequent migraines, puffy face, hands, feet and legs, brittle nails and hair, dreadful lethargy, palpitations, dizziness, very low body temp (32.8 - 34.6), aching joints, my right hip is often agonising and test results have indicated inflamation but it is always put down to a previous back problem, and so on and so on..... the worst thing by far is the depression, I have been on and off antidepressants for many years (Valium at 14 yrs) as it appears they would rather treat the symptom than the cause, how can this be cost efficient????

I just want to find a doctor who will treat me as an individual and consider all of my symptoms together, a doc who will order full thyroid tests including T3 FT3 and FT4, folate, vit D etc but as I understand it even most of the endos are useless so what hope is there?

Sorry to be so negative but I really am having a very hard time finding the end of the tunnel never mind the light!


A TSH of 0.5 could possibly indicate that you're over-medicated, which can also cause all of the symptoms you've described. Have you tried a slightly reduced dose to see if it helps?

The other possibility is that your TSH is not an accurate reflector of your actual thyroid hormone levels, which is more rare but can happen. Does this TSH result similar to previous TSH results?

If your GP won't refer you, seeing an Endo privately would enable you to get all the tests done that you want, but of course you would have to pay for the consultation and the tests.


Hi RedApple, thanks for your response.

Over the last 2 years my TSH has been reducing, it was 0.05 in Dec, 1. something in Jan 2010 and 2.0 in march 09. that being said I have always struggled with fatigue even long before being diagnosed. This last year or so I have had problems with sleeping, feeling exhausted but waking periodically during the night, since Christmas I seem to wake every hour or so and sometimes can't get back to sleep for over an hour, I think the depression is caused by feeling so exhausted all the time. I don't think the palps are to do with being over medicated because I have had them for many years and they are no worse now than they ever were, also the fact that I cannot shift the weight and I have a lot of water retention (puffy hands, feet and face). I do usually take a dip in mood in the winter months so am intending to get some vit D supplements but the GP did say that she would refer me to an endo if things didn't improve and I don't want to take anything else if I am going to be referred to an endo as it might affect any tests that are carried out.

I just hate feeling like this, I used to be very slim (size 8) now I am a flabby size 16 and I used to be very fit and active but now I have no energy for anything and it is all having an impact on my 26 year marriage now.

Anyway, hopefully I will get referred to a decent endo (fingers crossed), I can't afford to go privately, I was looking at arranging a genova blood scan but even that is £100!

Once again thanks for your response it is very much appreciated.

Lin x


I can totally relate to everything you've written here, especially the sleep problems. Low vitamin D could certainly be a contributing factor and your GP can test for this. My GP has finally cottoned on and is now into testing everyone that walks into the office. He told me to take over the counter supplements, but I know some people do get vit D on prescription.

I would suggest you take up the endo referral offer from your GP as soon as possible. There are *some* understanding endos, so it is very definitely worth pursuing. It really sounds as though you're not going to get anywhere until you do. It's possible that your system is awash with T4, but it's simply not working as it should. This is what happened to me. I never feel right on thyroxine alone, despite what my TSH and T4 levels might indicate on paper.

Consider asking for your thyroxine dose to be reduced and some T3 added. You might meet with some resistance to this if you mention palpitations though, as most doctors think palpitations are caused by being overmedicated. Some people (including me) get palpitations when they are under medicated, or if they're not taking the appropriate type of medication.

With regard to the weight problem, I finally figured out that what works for me is a low carbohydrate diet. I am slim again and have more energy and less fatigue if I stick to the low carb way of eating, although I freely admit that it takes a huge amount of willpower!


Thanks RedApple, I will certainly try the low carb thing, I have been considering it for a while but I love pasta so I know it wont be easy!!!

I do tent to eat a lot of fruit, veg and fish and I don't have much bread but am a sucker for a roast potato or three :)

I am going to press for the endo referral and have been trying to find out as much as possible about this rotten condition, interestingly I have a lot of adrenal fatigue symptoms which would also fit with me feeling rotten for so long so I am hoping to explore this further either with the GP or endo.

I have asked about T3 but the GP will not even consider a test let alone a supplement, it is very frustrating to say the least.

I am pleased to hear that you have had some success with optimising your meds, it gives me hope that there are some open minded GPs out there.

Thanks again for your response and advice, it is very much appreciated.

Lin x


Yes. Low carbohydrate seems to be the only way to go. I do a lot of exercise - generally burning off 650 calories in 45 minutes or thereabouts - but the only way I can lose/maintain a weight which makes me feel, and look, better, is by avoiding bread/rice/cake/biscuts/pasta. However, there is a plus side - for me, at least - in that such things as icecream (in moderation), and frozen yoghurt don't seem to affect me. Bulgar wheat seems to be alright as well, if you want to have it with meat or vegetables. I have congenital hypothyroidism (don't have any of my own), and have been on a fairly high dosage all my life.


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