Suicidality to agoraphobia: 34% of women with thyroid disorder suffer from depression in Kashmir
Srinagar: For days Hina, 25 seemed to be gripped by such severe darkness that she no longer recalled when she had last been happy. Sleep eluded her at night and day, and her mood fluctuated wildly between severe gloom and weak optimism.
“When she consulted us, she was displaying typical depressive symptoms. We got her Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels checked and she was diagnosed with hyperthyroid disorder,” Dr. Sheikh Shoib, Consultant Psychiatrist JLNM Hospital, Srinagar said.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front portion of the neck and is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. When the thyroid gland does not function properly — under or overproduces hormones, it can drastically affect your health.
Moreover, this disease has some symptoms in common with certain mental health conditions. This is especially true for depression and anxiety. Sometimes thyroid conditions are misdiagnosed as these mental health conditions. This can leave you with symptoms that may improve but a disease that still needs to be treated.
“Hyperthyroidism is a condition characterized by an overactive thyroid. It is one of the most common thyroid disorders. Hyperthyroidism can often manifest with symptoms consistent with mental illnesses; plus, it is not uncommon for people with hyperthyroidism to meet diagnostic criteria of psychiatric disorders,” Dr. Shoib said.
Sample this: Another young female from Srinagar consistently complained of fearfulness and anxiety.
“The root cause was untraced until she got her endocrinology checkup done and began taking medicines for hyperthyroid,” the doctor said.
The latest study conducted by Kashmir doctors at the Endocrinology Outpatient Department of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, Srinagar has revealed that there was a higher prevalence of mental health disorders in patients with hyperthyroid disorders.
Titled `Depression and anxiety among hyperthyroid female patients and impact of treatment’, the 2021 study has been published in the Middle East Current Psychiatry, an internationally acclaimed medical journal.
A total of Seventy-five female patients with hyperthyroidism and an equal number of euthyroid patients participated in the study
“34 percent of them reported hyperthyroidism. In particular, there was a higher prevalence of the major depressive disorder, suicidality, generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and agoraphobia. In some cases, the prevalence of a psychiatric disorder diminished after endocrinological treatment,” the study revealed.
It also highlights the fact that despite the reported high prevalence of psychiatric symptoms and disorders among people with hyperthyroidism, no previous study in India has explored this issue.
“To have a better understanding of this co-morbidity could improve the ways in which these patients are assessed and supported. Therefore, the present study was set out to explore the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in patients with hyperthyroidism attending an Endocrine Outpatient Clinic in the North of India,” it said.
Dr. Shoib, who is also a co-author of the study, said “early screening of patients” with hyperthyroid disorders for psychiatric symptoms and disorders, and providing “timely care” when necessary, can go a long way in improving the quality of life of this population.
“It is imperative to establish routine screening and timely care of mental health symptoms and disorders in patients with hyperthyroidism,” he said.