My Thyroid and Me Chapter 13 - Your Moods
As February is boost your self esteem month, I had a look deeper into how the thyroid can affect you moods. Now I consider myself to be a happy go lucky person who always looks at the positive side of life, but just like many others there are time where I just don't feel like hearing anyone's voice and want to crawl back into my shell.
When you are have an underactive thyroid it is very common to experience:
- Depression - low mood and difficulty enjoying things, tearfulness, loss of appetite and disturbed sleep
- Anxiety - this can be a result of the thyroid condition itself or from worries about managing everyday tasks
- Mood swings - irritability, snappiness or short-temper which people often call 'moodiness'
- Sleeping difficulties
Hypothyroidism can also cause changes in appearance - for example, weight gain, loss of hair - which can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem or mood. Overall you may feel a progressive loss of initiative, a dulling of personality and you may encounter memory problems, difficulty in concentration, muddled thinking and a lack of interest or mental alertness.
Fortunately, in the great majority of cases, psychological symptoms improve as the thyroid disorder is brought under control by treatment, if the thyroid is the cause of the problem. But this improvement may not be as rapid as you hope, and it is common for people to feel emotionally and mentally ‘not quite right’ or ‘out of sorts’ for some time even after their blood tests return to normal.
There are lots of people who can help:
1. Talk to your doctor
2. Ask to see a specialist with experience in dealing with thyroid disorders
3. Confide in a family member or close friend who may be able to help you through this difficult time
4. Talk to others who have been through a similar experience - The British Thyroid Foundation has volunteer and who may be able to help
By taking appropriate treatment — such as medication usually improves both emotional and physical symptoms caused by a thyroid disease. Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed about talking to your doctor about the psychological symptoms associated with your thyroid disorder. They may be an important part of your thyroid disorder, so just ask as many questions as you need to in order to understand what is happening to you.
These symptoms can also have an impact on your family and friends so it is important to give them the opportunity to understand what is happening. The symptoms can affect your work so it is important that your employer understands the problem. Likewise, for school-age children and young people, these symptoms can have an impact on school or college work, so it is important that their education establishment is informed.
Even though the cause may be physical, anxiety or depression sometimes require treatment in their own right. If your symptoms are especially severe, or if they continue even after a fair trial of thyroid treatment, then you should ask your medical professional to refer you to a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist - one with expertise in psychological problems associated with physical illness.
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Chapter 12 - The P Word | Chapter 10 - Myth Busting | Hypothyroid and Men | Chapter 6 - Periods | Chapter 3 - Fatigue
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