Research has found a link between hypothyroidism and depression. For instance, there’s some evidence that people with depression tend to have higher rates of hypothyroidism than the general population (such as this study). A 2004 study found that 38 percent of older patients with hypothyroidism also reported symptoms of depression.
Unfortunately, hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed. Some people simply aren’t tested for thyroid problems, while others are, but their lab tests come back “normal,” The problem is that normal test results can be deceiving. Even individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism can have problems with mood and cognitive function. Subclinical thyroid dysfunction (lab tests are all normal) shares many of its symptoms with clinical hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism appear to be more common in women with estimates of 2 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. Anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of people with subclinical thyroid dysfunction may develop clinical hypothyroidism. (Ross believes these numbers are much higher.)
Research also suggests that people with subclinical hypothyroidism may be more prone to depression compared to people with normal thyroid functioning. Dr Hagmeyer believes all individuals with depression should be evaluated for adrenal gland imbalances and thyroid problems at the very minimum.
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