Thyroid UK
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Mis-diagnosis of Bipolar disorder

I became ill 7 years ago went to my gp with anxiety like symptoms and referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Bi-polar and placed me on medication i was that poor;y i went with what they were saying. Now i am being told i have always been borderline hyperthyroid, and It was the anti-depressants that were the reason i went thyrotoxicosis. They have now said the bi-polar was a misdiagnosis. Has anybody come across anything like this please

11 Replies

My three close friends were convinced I was bipolar when I was hypothyroid.

One of those friends has an ex who is bipolar so they knew what they were talking about and didn't mean it nastily or jokily, they were really concerned.

I could tell I wasn't behaving normally. I came across as sort of manic and agitated. I felt dreadful and as if the problem was coming from my chest - like metal scraping against metal in my heart.

As my thyroid levels improved on thyroid replacement my behaviour returned to how it had been before i.e. no longer suggestive of my being bipolar (which I hadn't been). I have never been diagnosed with a psychological disorder and as far as I know am mentally healthy.

I believe there is a close connection between thyroid imbalance and bipolar-like behaviour and seeing as most psychiatric disorders are diagnosed based on observing the person's behaviour, I can see how untreated or sub-optimally treated thyroid patients could be misdiagnosed as bipolar.

I also believe that bipolar is over diagnosed.



Exactly the same as with Koala, my friend has an ex with bi-polar and was convinced that was what was wrong with me - and actually everything else Koala says mirrors what i felt and think!


Debbiejoyce, I'm glad that they have said it is a misdiagnosis and hope you now get the correct treatment.

Personally I believe it's over diagnosed too. Again perhaps funding has a part to play and keeness to dish out AD type pills. I wonder, and worry, how many with Thyroid moodiness are deemed 'bi-polar'. J :D


I was suspected of being bi-polar, which during the process of full diagnosis they changed to a type of schizophrenia.....I have neither and was just very hypo which they totally missed.

"mind"'s website has a lot of info about mental illnesses and clearly states that "no diagnosis of schizophrenia should be given where there is a possibility of thyroid disease". This applies to other MH illnesses and psychiatrists should know this....sadly they dont always! What I have found interesting is that psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe T3 for some types of depression even where there is no (known)thyroid problems!!


From what I have read, your story has been repeated all too often.

There does seem to be one point at which this mistake could be caught - and that is if the person is going to be prescribed lithium, a classic mood-stabiliser fairly often used for bipolar. Because lithium can cause hypothyroidism, its being prescribed should force a thyroid test so, if the thyroid levels are obviously bad it might be noticed.

Unfortunately, the same also can apply to depression,especially if it does not resolve with anti-depressants or other interventions. And, again, prescribing lithium sometimes catches it.

fedupsusie's "mind" statement is good and should be taken as an absolute standard. After all, even if there were not such a close connection, they always need to be sure that they recognise people who have both a mental and thyroid disorders concurrently. (Maybe that is asking too much?)


A friend of mine had been on 175mg t0 200mg levo for years as had her Mum before her. Knocked about as a child by father then further , though far less so, by husband. Divorced. Went to USA, remarried. So lots of stress for many years. She was diagnosed as bi-polar in the US (no she wasn't). Suspect there were more meds. She came back to to UK with-in a few weeks diagnosed with a brain tumour --- inoperable --- she passed away three weeks later. Such a shock. If US Drs' perhaps had done different test the tumour would have been found, she would have been saved. Is there a connection --- I think so. Problem is so many symptoms cover a vast array of illnesses. Certainly, the knocking about played a big part in the development of the tumour. ( I asked a Dr who took my bloods if it were possible -"Oh yes" was her reply) I believe such high quantities of thyroid meds for all those years was a dreadful strain on the adrenals and many other things.


ps no other test were ever done for her when she lived in the UK either. So call it an accumilation of many things. In all, it is still an absolute disgrace that testing is SO inefficent and lacking. Whatever happening to good patient care?


New research has shown a link between bipolar disorder and a genetic thyroid disorder. Some doctors are saying it's because the lithium causes low thyroid because the people they are testing are already diagnosed with bipolar and have been on lithium, but it looks as if it may be that Thyroid regulation — causing both hyper- and hypothyroidism – is causing bipolar disorder. It certainly makes me think that they need to look at people who have unipolar depression as well.


I'm hypothyroid rather than hyperthyroid but I experienced something similar. Since getting better treatment for the hypothyroidism, I no longer have any symptoms of mental illness. I'm sure it's no coincidence!

Carolyn x


I agree. I've come across medical studies that indicate that a dodgy thyroid can mimic bi-polar symptoms. Although not diagnosed with hypothyroidism (I think I might have Hashi's), I suspect this is wrecking havoc on my moods and sometimes acting 'strange'.

Hope you found an answer to your issue.


20 years ago diagnosed BP mistake. Diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism first an wasn't even treated until a month or 2 later on the Hyperthyroidism. 2 weeks after being hospitalized said I was BP I had

The severe kind of hyhyperthyroidism. I feel im

Closer to Epileptic partial but need conformation and I'm doing good with no meds but do take b and d vitamins.


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