Let’s Talk Thyroid Symptoms:
Anxiety + Hashimoto’s
We’ve talked a bit during this series on common symptoms about how Hashimoto’s affects different aspects of the brain. We’ve covered depression, brain fog, concentration, slow speech, fatigue & emotional upset. Now let’s talk about anxiety.
Anxiety is a very common symptom of Hashimoto’s.
What is anxiety?
“Everyone feels anxious now and then. But if anxiety doesn’t go away and is affecting your everyday life, then you might have an anxiety disorder. …But for some people, anxious feelings don’t go away. They can see situations as much worse than they really are, and their anxiety affects their ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks. These feelings can be caused by anxiety disorders.” https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/anxiety
For me, sometimes it’s anxiety that keeps me awake at night. I can’t switch my brain off. I can have the same thoughts running over and over in my mind. I know it’s not rational but I can’t seem to switch them off. I need to be careful about what I watch, scrolling through social media etc right before bedtime!
Sometimes people associate anxiety more with OVERactive (hyperactive) thyroid disease, Graves Disease more than with Hashimoto’s, and think of depression as being more connected to Hashimoto’s. Whilst anxiety IS a symptom of hyperactive thyroid, it is ALSO a symptom of hypoactive thyroid too. In fact studies have shown that anxiety is actually a more common symptom than depression in Hashimoto’s patients.
Bottom line – if you are suffering from anxiety, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your thyroid and it’s worth investigating further. It’s important to see if the underlying cause is coming from the thyroid because if you are improperly diagnosed, you will be improperly treated.
Chronic stress can cause inflammation which can trigger anxiety or depression. We know that chronic inflammation in our bodies isn’t good for us – and impacts things such as gut health, joint aches & pains, brain function, our immune system etc. If you’ve been following me for a while, hopefully the idea of reducing inflammation isn’t new to you.
Reducing inflammation is at core, my whole approach to managing my health. It guides which foods I eat/don’t eat, the type of exercise I do, how I approach stress, the essential oils I use etc
Anxiety is a massive topic and one that I will come back to over time to delve deeper. For now, use this opportunity to reflect as to whether anxiety is an issue for you.
So, what can we do?
Let’s get practical:
🚩 Get thyroid blood tests and properly medicated. It’s so important that you are being treated for the right thing. Hashimoto’s might be the cause of your anxiety. You need to find out!
🧠 Look after your brain health. Investigate the gut-brain connection. Looking after your gut in part looks after your brain and your mental health too.
🦠 Microbiome diversity – make sure you’re eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables to help support a diverse microbiome. To reduce gut inflammation, remove typically inflammatory foods – gluten, grains, dairy, sugars, lectins (follow a paleo or AIP diet)
🙏 Take stress management SERIOUSLY. It’s a critical aspect to managing Hashimoto’s.
🧘♀️ Try mindfulness and guided meditation to help calm the mind.
🌀 Call Lifeline 13 11 14 or similar service if you feel that you may harm yourself or have thoughts of suicide, talk to family or friends and inform your doctor straight away.
💦 Essential oils such as lavender, citrus oils, tree oils are worth exploring as are blends such as restful blend, grounding blend and tranquil blends. Simply adding an essential oil to a diffuse can have a quick impact on your mood as when we breath essential oils they work very quickly on our olfactory system.
🧐 Here is study that shows the benefit of a stress management intervention on women with Hashimoto’s. There was improvement in anti-TG titers and the levels of stress, depression and anxiety as well as better lifestyle scores, after 8 weeks of a stress management program.
✅ Join the discussion in the group, Let’s Talk Thyroid.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Read about other common thyroid symptoms here.
Suspect you have a thyroid issue? PLEASE trust your instincts and get it thoroughly checked out with your health practitioner. This thyroid basics page has an overview of what tests to ask for and a link to use a private lab if you’re doctor won’t order them.
Have a read/listen to this first!
You might also like to listen to my interview with my doctor here.
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