Depression is common nowadays, and the pandemic has skyrocketed the number of depression rates across the globe. But is the pandemic really to be blamed?
Is depression only a result of home isolation or mental stress? To know that, we need to understand depression in layman’s terms.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Depression is a disorder that affects how you feel, think and behave. It is a persistent feeling of sadness that hinders your typical day-to-day activities.
Depression results from several complex societal, emotional, and biological variables interplay. Research suggests that chronic medical conditions that result in poor health are one of the potential risk factors for developing depression.
Cardiovascular illness or pregnancy, for instance, can cause depressive feelings and can eventually progress to a full, clinical depression. Not to miss, certain medical conditions can contribute or lead the way to mental illness, usually in the form of depression.
Depression can occur due to umpteen reasons, and it is typically an end product of a mixture of life events, external factors, and internal variables. So, weighing depression by one entity or an immediate incident can be wrong.
But did you know that thyroid hormones regulate several bodily functions? And that any interplay or abnormalities can cause depression?
Let’s look into what the research has to say . A study published in the Journal of Thyroid research cited that 1 to 4% of patients with mental disorders are found to have overt hypothyroidism. In comparison, subclinical hypothyroidism occurs in 4% to 40% of these patients.
Another study stated that Primary thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, may be accompanied by various neuropsychiatric manifestations ranging from mild depression and anxiety to overt psychosis.
Hormones can be scientifically defined as endocrine-produced chemicals that significantly impact a multitude of bodily functions.
Organs such as the adrenals, thyroid, hypothalamus, and pituitary impact development and growth, mood, sex drive, fertility, and metabolic rate.
More insidiously, thyroid hormones secreted by the thyroid glands have a say on our bodily functions such as metabolism, regulating body temperature, etc.
Not only this, the interplay between the hormones affects your mood and has higher chances of depression. One hormone abnormality can affect the functioning of the other and vice versa.
Low levels of thyroid hormones can make you feel low and moody. When you are a patient with hypothyroidism, you might feel under the blues frequently. The reason– T3 secreted by thyroid glands regulates the levels and actions of serotonin, Norepinephrine, and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid).
And serotonin is a mood booster– the lack of which can give you depressive symptoms. The deficiency of thyroid hormones in your central nervous system can cause fatigue, weight gain, and a lack of energy. Note that the mentioned symptoms are similar to that of clinical depression.
On the other hand, if you have hyperthyroidism, it is found that it is connected in particular to mood disorders and Bipolar Depression.
Thyroid disorders and depression have overlapping symptoms. So, sometimes it can lead to misdiagnosis. The right way is to get your T3 and T4 levels tested to know if you have an underactive thyroid that can cause your depression.
Studies have found that the Serum T4 levels in depressed individuals are in the upper range of standard or somewhat higher when compared to healthy people.
Other studies have found that the level of T3 is lower with an increase in the levels of rT3 in depression. Some studies suggest that mild hypothyroidism leads to increased TSH levels, which contributes to depression.
So, reach out to a thyroid expert and begin your treatment to avoid further complications.
The overlapping symptoms of depression and hypothyroidism can make it extremely difficult for doctors to diagnose and find the root cause of your depression.
While the traditional symptoms-focused- approach works to reduce your evident symptoms, it cannot completely cure the disease. As stated earlier, T3 is responsible for the secretion of serotonin– the happy hormone– the lack of which causes depression. Twenty percent of triiodothyronine (T3) in the cerebral cortex is secreted directly by the thyroid, while 80% is derived from the local conversion of thyroxine (T4) by deiodination.
So, if you have a leaky gut, your T3 secretion may be affected. Do you think taking medicine for the surfaced symptoms will work with an iceberg underneath? No.
The functional approach addresses the undersurface causes that contribute to depression. According to Jeevam health, several root causes are nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, protein deficiency, stress, etc. The functional medicine doctor works to find the missing link and makes a holistic plan for you. The thyroid experts can ask you to get thyroid panel tests to confirm. And once done, they will focus on giving a personalized meal plan along with supplementation, if any– in addition to the medications.
If you have depressive symptoms or feel low all the time, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to someone, preferably a doctor.
Even though this might sound like the last thing you want to do, it’s for your good. A professional can better decide what’s best for you. So, reach out to a thyroid expert or doctor and follow as asked.
I can see eyes rolling already. But, your thyroid can be the reason behind what you are feeling. If you are a hypothyroidism patient, you need to get yourself tested regularly. But if you are new to this, it’s equally important.
So, do as your doctor asks you to do. Get a thyroid panel test done and see if your T3 and T4 levels are standard or not.
You are what you eat. The food that we consume is one of the markers of how healthy we are. So, consuming nutritious food is a must. Consume food rich in Alpha- linoleic acids such as walnuts and avocado in your diet.
However, remember that particular food can trigger your food sensitivities and worsen your hypothyroidism. So avoid food such as refined sugar, gluten, etc., to avoid triggers.
Physical activity plays a vital role in maintaining our sanity. So, move your body. Workout, go for a walk, etc., to exercise and stay fit. Maintain a healthy lifestyle while eating healthy to see excellent results.
Nutrient deficiencies can cause hair loss. Vitamin D deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency in those with thyroid disease. It is estimated that nearly three-quarters of teen and adult Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Iron plays a vital role in treating hair loss and vitamin D.
Similarly, taking iodine selenium supplements can keep your hypothyroidism in check, thereby treating depression.
There are several causes of depression, but it’s essential to find the RIGHT cause to treat the disease. And in cases, functional medicine helps. Depression is a sensitive subject and should be taken seriously. So, don’t delay and take steps immediately if you feel you are suffering from it.