One of the most pressing issues of the medical community today is deciding whether or not the thyroid can definitively be linked to an increase in anxiety at all.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland in the body, located specifically where the neck is.
What Does the Thyroid Gland Do?
Great question. The purpose of the thyroid gland is to control many of your bodily functions. Some of these bodily functions are; breathing, heart rate, CNS, weight, temperature, and many other basic core functionalities of the body.1
So What Does This Have to Do with Anxiety?
The answer to why the thyroid and anxiety have been so intricately linked together lies, in part, within the thyroid’s functionality. As you probably noticed, there are a lot of physiological processes that are closely linked with the functioning of the thyroid gland. As such, it is reasonable to assume that the thyroid could be intricately linked to the presence of greater anxiety within the human body.
One of the theories of how the thyroid is connected to anxiety lies in the way that the thyroid acts when it is malfunctioning. If the thyroid is functioning naturally, then there should be no issues specifically with anxiety. However, if the thyroid is malfunctioning then there may be certain problems with body temperature, heart rate, CNS, weight, and all of the other factors that are controlled by the thyroid that we mentioned earlier. This is important to note because physiological symptoms can sometimes breed mental ones.
Physiologically, the thyroid can decrease the temperature of the human body. This decrease in temperature can actually lead to various anxiety symptoms. Other symptoms of anxiety can stem from the other symptoms that come with thyroid disorders.
Thyroid Disorders and Anxiety
Since it’s been established that thyroid disorders can play a huge role in anxiety, it’s important to now shell out the various types of thyroid disorders that exist and what their relationship is, if any, to anxiety.
For thyroid disorders specifically, there are two different types of thyroid problems, and they are called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism and Anxiety
Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overactive thyroid. The symptoms of this thyroid disorder comingle with anxiety in a way that breeds anxiety in itself.
Let us explain:
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism range from shaking and tremors to irregular heartbeat, irritability, and sweating. These are also all of the same symptoms of anxiety. This causes many future patients to seek medical help for anxiety rather than hyperthyroidism. Eventually, after a battery of tests, the doctor is able to accurately diagnose the situation, but that serves to illuminate how closely related the two are.
Sometimes the prevalence of these symptoms brew permanent anxiety and it becomes a problem that either must be treated with the hyperthyroidism or separately. There have even been a few cases where the anxiety has remained even after the hyperthyroidism has been effectively treated. The cause of this is largely unknown at this time.
Hypothyroidism and Anxiety
Conversely, hypothyroidism is the presence of an underactive thyroid. The relationship between this type of thyroid disorder and anxiety is slightly more nuanced than with hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, the disorder hypothyroidism can mimic the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. In this instance, the connection between hypothyroidism and anxiety becomes similar to what it was with hyperthyroidism. This phenomenon is called Hashimoto’s.
Another way that this thyroid disorder can affect anxiety may be through the overall impact on your mood. These various swings in your mood could cause your mood to change to the extent that actual anxiety would develop. While rare, it happens.
Also, there’s some of the other effects have hypothyroidism that may eventually lead to anxiety through social stigma such as; weight gain, fatigue, depression, and sensitivity to temperature.
The connection between your thyroid and anxiety is almost undeniable given all of the evidence above. It’s now known that even slight aberrations in the normal functioning of your thyroid gland can cause all types of regulatory issues with the body and that most of these aberrations are correlated with an increase in anxiety.
However, it is also important to note that there are occasions when the anxiety precipitates the thyroid problem itself or when it occurs entirely independent of the thyroid problem.
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism both have different methods of yielding anxiety to an individual and both are unique in their nature. Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid while hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid. Hyperthyroidism’s means of creating anxiety is a lot more explicit than that of hypothyroidism, doing so through the physiological symptoms only. However, hypothyroidism can give birth to anxiety through physiological symptoms or via altering the moods that one feels throughout the day, making it a very unique type of thyroidism with a complex relationship to anxiety.
We did a review of Thyroid Support Complex. The results we found were…interesting.
Any questions? Feel like we missed anything? Drop a comment below to let us know.