Is There a Connection Between Thyroid Hormones and Depression?

Far too many anti-depressants are prescribed these days when the real issue is some underlying cause.

I know of many cases where anti-depressants were prescribed by a doctor to a patient whose actual problem ended up being improperly treated hypothyroidism or low vitamin B12 and, in a few situations, sex hormone imbalances.

This short blog post will focus on the link between thyroid dysfunction and depression as it was prompted by a thyroid patient who showed me an article that Dr. Kent Holtorf, M.D. wrote a few years ago.

I will provide the link to Dr. Holtorf’s article shortly, but his thesis is simple: there are large studies that show that the majority of patients being treated with anti-depressants fail to respond to them, or have side effects that are severe enough to discontinue them. The research showed that T3 was far more effective than anti-depressants, with fewer side effects.

Dr. Holtorf believes that many depressed or bipolar patients actually have undiagnosed or improperly treated thyroid hormone dysfunction and that T3 therapy is actually more appropriate than anti-depressants.

It is very clear that hardly any doctors focus on the Free T3 (FT3) test result and assess whether the patient’s T3 levels are possibly too low before writing a prescription for anti-depressants. Even in the case of a patient with diagnosed hypothyroidism, FT3 is rarely the focus – but it should be. Equally, other issues like low B12 are often simply not looked for before the anti-depressant is offered.

Many of us know from friends, family members and possibly personal experience that anti-depressants frequently do not work and can have undesirable side-effects. They can also be difficult to withdraw from. So, investigating these other possible causes before prescribing anti-depressants would be preferable.

Let me be clear. I am not trying to imply that all cases of depression or bipolar disorder or other mental health issues have a root cause in hypothyroidism or low B12 etc. That would be a very silly position to take. However, it is extremely likely that a subset of those patients with depression actually does have an underlying root cause such as hypothyroidism and that this root cause remains untreated.

Here is the link to Dr. Holtorf’s short but important article:
https://www.holtorfmed.com/thyroid-dysfunction-as-cause-of-depression/


Here are just a few additional links to research papers and writings on the subject. There is too much out there on the Internet to ignore the connection between thyroid dysfunction and mental health issues:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3246784/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/is-thyroid-dysfunction-driving-your-depression/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3968440/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29331701/

https://psycheducation.org/treatment/thyroid-and-bipolar-disorder/


I recommend that if you are interested in this important subject area that you do your own research, as there is a lot of information out there.

I hope you found this helpful.

Best wishes,
Paul

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson is a British author and thyroid patient advocate. The focus of his books and work is on helping patients recover from hypothyroidism. Paul has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on thyroid and adrenal dysfunction and their treatment. His three books cover all of this.

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