Is Your Thyroid Affecting Your Mental Health?

Published on December 5, 2013

At times, medical conditions can mirror mental health concerns. Our thyroid is responsible for producing and regulating our hormones. These hormones in turn can affect energy levels, mood, and even weight. Abnormal thyroid levels can cause psychological concerns.

If your thyroid is overactive in the case of hyperthyroidism, symptoms may include increases in anxiety or nervousness, tension, irritability, heart rate, and sensitivity to noise. You may also struggle with feeling excessively hot, softening of nails, hair loss, and weight loss. For women, changes in menstrual flow or frequency can be problematic. The most common form of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Many people affected by hyperthyroidism can also develop eye problems such as redness, dryness, or in some cases eyes that bulge from the sockets due to increased pressure on the optic nerve.

An underactive thyroid, in the case of hypothyroidism, can cause your body to slow down. Symptoms include a slowing of mental processes, poor memory for recent events, fatigue, diminished concentration, increase in weight, and a loss of interest and initiative.  You may also feel oversensitive to cold, tingling or numbness in hands, joint or muscle pain, slowing of heart rate, and difficulty breathing. The most common form of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease.

Both forms of thyroid disorders produce symptoms that are similar to depression or anxiety. By having a thorough medical examination, a medical doctor can determine through blood tests if a thyroid disorder is the culprit for any mental health concerns. Through proper detection, thyroid conditions can be treated through medication, radioactive iodine, or even surgery.

While going through the process of understanding your symptoms and the treatment you may require, seeking support through a mental health professional may be beneficial. Don’t keep your struggles to yourself. We can assist in developing coping strategies to manage the stressors associated with a thyroid condition.

For more information, contact Dr. Hana Ra Adams PsyD., MA, LMFT at

Category(s):Anxiety, Coping with Medical Problems, Depression, Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Written by:

Dr. Hana Ra Adams PsyD., MA, LMFT

Dr. Adams obtained her psychology degree from Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A. She obtained her Masters Degree in counseling psychology (marriage and family therapy) and her Doctorate Degree in clinical psychology from Argosy University – Twin Cities, U.S.A. She is a Korean-American Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who enjoys working with families, children, adolescents, couples, adults, and older adults. She has worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, community mental health centers, in-home therapy, nursing care, mental health clinics, and school settings. She offers English, Korean, and a wide range of culturally appropriate services.

Dr. Adams works collaboratively with people to create new solutions and stories for their lives. She has experience working with people struggling with anxiety, depression, cross-cultural adjustment, transitional concerns, family conflict, marriage/relationship concerns, identity issues, sexual health concerns, sexual abuse, incest, parenting, adoption issues, grief/loss, school issues, shopping concerns, and academic concerns. She has special interest and experience with infant/perinatal loss.

Dr. Adams also has experience providing psychological assessments for personality and academic concerns. She is an American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program fellow.

Dr. Hana Ra Adams PsyD., MA, LMFT belongs to The Change Group LLP in Singapore

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