Thyroid Issues, Anxiety, Depression and More

Anxiety, Depression and Thyroid Disorders

As someone who treats kids and adolescents with depression and anxiety...I always request that the parents take their child to have their thyroid levels checked at the beginning of treatment. This is because there is a strong connection between thyroid disorders and depression/anxiety.

Did you know that?

It's true!

Basic Biology/Rock You Like a Hurricane

Our adrenals, thyroid and gut and brain are linked together and create an internal symphony, if you will, that's either mellow and relaxed or rocks us like a hurricane. The adrenal glands are part of the sympathetic nervous system and their job is to secrete such hormones as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones play a part in regulating our stress response...or causing BIG issues when things get "out of whack". The adrenals are what become impacted when we are under a lot of stress. Our body responds...and we end up feeling depressed, anxious or panicked. (There are a lot more chemicals/hormones at play with particular is some cases we have too much of a hormone or chemical and in other cases, we don't have enough...and if you are interested, I encourage you to read peer-reviewed, scholarly journals you can find online.)

New Findings: Anxiety and Thyroid

New findings show that 45% of people with depressive disorders and 30% of those with anxiety also have autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT). And, according to researcher Dr. Teja Groemer, a researcher at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, notes that "Autoimmune thyroiditis is present in a high percentage of cases with depression and anxiety, and this is so far not commonly known." (1)

Some Psychiatric Conditions are Autoimmune Related

Dr. Groemer and his team of researchers shared their findings in JAMA Psychiatry, online on May 2, 2018. "There is mounting evidence that some psychiatric disorders are autoimmune-related." The hypothyroid state has been linked to depression, and depressed patients often have thyroid disease, they add, but there is less evidence for a link between anxiety and AIT. (1)

Neurotransmitters, Brain Health and Depression

As Harvard trained medical researcher, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, explains, "Neurotransmitters play a role in shaping who we are and how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. They influence our moods, memory and learning, self-esteem, anxiety levels, motivation, and more. I think this explains why some people who have been suffering for years with unresolved thyroid symptoms can become grouchy, angry, and pessimistic. That reflects not who they are necessarily, but instead their worsening brain function.

As neurotransmitter function begins to fail due to thyroid hormone deficiency, the brain’s cells increasingly lose the ability to communicate with one another. This lack of activity causes neurons to die, creating accelerated brain degeneration in those pathways. When it comes to brain health, if you don’t use it you lose it—inactive neurons are swept up and discarded by the brain’s immune system. This is a scenario that causes a variety of symptoms, one of the more common being depression."
Dr. Kharrazian also states that for certain thyroid conditions, it's also common that there is more than one autoimmune condition lurking in the body. That's important to know if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Hasimoto's Thyroiditis, in particular.
But, there's more.

Foods and Your Thyroid: Knock-Your-Socks-Off Stuff

The foods you eat can also impact your thyroid...for better or for worse. I was vaguely aware of this fact and had read a few articles in passing. However, my mouth hit the floor when I downloaded "The Essential Thyroid Cookbook".

I thought maybe this book would give me a few tips to pass on to my college-aged daughter and my sister (for her son)...because thyroid issues are no stranger in my immediate and extended family. But, the book (pictured below) knocked my socks off! Like, "stay up late, can't stop reading this" kind of knock-my-socks-off!

You can buy this book HERE, if you are interested in learning more.


I was FLOORED when I opened up this resource. I learned more in the first few pages of this book than I have from any of the doctors we took my daughter to when she was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. REALLY. And knowledge that allows you to take command of your health is the best form of health care there is.

Not only are brussels sprouts a food to be avoided if you have certain type of thyroid disorder, but all cruciferous vegetables should be skipped, according to the cookbook authors. So should spinach.


How is your family's thyroid health?


1. Siegmann E, Müller HHO, Luecke C, Philipsen A, Kornhuber J, Grömer TW. Association of Depression and Anxiety Disorders With Autoimmune ThyroiditisA Systematic Review and Meta-analysisJAMA Psychiatry.2018;75(6):577–584. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0190

2. Kahrazzian, D. When Thyroid Hormones Don't Relieve Depression. Retrieved online 9.09.18 at

Here's to good health,

Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, is  the founder of Kidlutions and co-author of BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. She is the creator of numerous workbooks and resources to help from the preschool through the teen years. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter and Facebook! She'd love to see your smiling face there! Affiliate links may be used in this post. Please see our full disclaimer, located at the top of our page for more information.


Anonymous said…
Wendy, this is good to know. I have Hashimoto challenges. I recently learned how several of my fav foods (sweet potatoes, cabbage, broccoli) are working against my digestive system but I didn’t realize the neurological impact. Thanks for sharing.

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