Thyroid Hormones and Depression

There are sometimes more things that need to be dealt with in a patient with depression then are obvious at first glance. If the depressive is suffering from being tired more than they should be this may be a sign of a thyroid problem. If this is the case then it is worth having a blood test that can determine if the thyroid is functioning properly.

If it is not then not only has the health care provider found a problem that needs attention but this problem is often linked to depression. Righting the thyroid may help reduce the episodes of depression.

Thyroid Hormones

The thyroid has several hormones. They are T3, T4, TSH and prolactin. Depending on if the functioning is too high or your function is too low you will be given medication to treat this condition. The problem is that sometimes the medication to make a persons thyroid function properly can aggravate or even cause depression. It obviously causes some type of hormonal imbalance.

Sometimes the best way to combat this is to give two different thyroid medications together. These would be the combination of T3 and T4 hormones. A small maintenance dose is better because too much thyroid medication can cause trembling, form clots, aggravate a bad temper or cause an irregular heartbeat.

T3 and Norepinephrine

But the interesting part of this is that studies have shown that the thyroid hormone known as T3 can be used to take care of depression that is not caused only by thyroid dysfunction. The fact is that depression is caused by improper absorption by the brain of serotonin. It is when the levels in the brain of norepinephrine and the neurotransmitters get out of sync. They become too low and so the brain sounds out messages of not being happy. T3 alone, or with an antidepressant can solve this problem.

Since it is known that depression can be caused by a thyroid condition most health care providers should do the thyroid test before looking at other causes of depression. If the thyroid is dysfunctional then there is a simple fix.

Physicians need to be careful which thyroid medication they prescribe. Depression will appear whether the patient has too little or too much thyroid function. T4 is known to make a persons depression worse and so if it is T4 they need to give their patient it must be accompanied by T3. Overall thyroid dysfunction, when the person has not yet fallen into the depressive state, can go unnoticed for a while.

Downward Spiral

One other problem when dealing with depression and thyroids is that you can wind up in a vicious circle of depression. Lithium, which is a drug usually used for those suffering from bipolar disorder to alleviate the mood swings, can over the long term cause hypothyroidism especially in older women.

It can then also cause depression which is what the medication was prescribed for in the first place. Yet, if the person is bipolar that medication must be given. It just shows how complicated treating depression can be.