Millions of people suffer from depression, and people who have a thyroid condition have a higher incidence of this condition. Depression is more common in woman than men, and it seems that people with hypothyroidism are more susceptible to depression. However, men are at risk well, as are people with hyperthyroidism.
When a person with a thyroid condition has depression, typically their medical doctor will do one of two things. One approach they may take is to adjust their dosage of thyroid hormone, as this can frequently be the culprit. One common problem is that the synthetic thyroid medications commonly prescribed consist only of T4. Having the physician add T3 can help, or switching to a natural form of thyroid hormone under the guidance of a medical or holistic doctor can sometimes help not only with depression, but with other symptoms as well.
The second approach a physician may take is to prescribe an antidepressant to the patient. While this can help and may be necessary at times, these antidepressant drugs don’t do anything for the actual cause of depression. So while it might be necessary for someone with a thyroid condition to take antidepressants on a temporary basis, something needs to be done to address the underlying cause.
Can Taking Nutritional Supplements and/or Herbs Help Cure Depression?
Certain nutritional supplements and herbs can help with depression. Many people prefer alternative treatment methods over prescription drugs, as they can be just as effective at times, and usually cause less side effects. This of course doesn’t mean there aren’t any risks associated with nutritional supplements and herbs for depression. You do need to be careful, which is why it’s always a good idea to consult with a competent holistic doctor. Plus, a severe case of depression might not respond well to supplements or herbs, and in this case medication might be the best option.
Here are some examples of supplements and herbs which can help with depression in people with thyroid conditions (as well as those without a thyroid condition):
• St. John’s Wort. This is the most well known herb with regards to treating depression. While this herb has been shown to be effective for mild to moderate cases of depression, it isn’t too effective for severe cases of depression.
• GABA. An amino acid that can help to stabilize one’s mood. It helps to induce relaxation and calmness, as well as anxiety.
• Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These fatty acids play an important role in proper brain function, and while taking them alone probably won’t help to manage the symptoms of depression, taking them with one or more of the other supplements mentioned here might be able to help with the symptoms.
• 5-HTP. This is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is can can help with depression. There is some controversy over the safety of this.
• Tryptophan. This is an amino acid which helps with the production of serotonin, which as mentioned above, is a neurotransmitter that when released can help with depression. There is some controversy over its effectiveness, as well as its safety.
These are just a few examples of nutritional supplements that can potentially help with the symptoms of depression. Once again, it’s highly recommended that you consult with a doctor before taking any of these supplements. And just remember that these and other nutritional supplements and herbs will not offer a cure for depression, as they will only provide a natural way of managing the symptoms.
The Key To Overcoming Depression Is To Get To The Underlying Cause Of The Problem
Rather than just relying on medication and/or nutritional supplements, the best way for people with a thyroid condition to overcome depression is to get to the underlying cause of the problem. Both prescription drugs and nutritional supplements can help manage the symptoms of depression, which once again is important, but the overall goal should be to cure the condition. As mentioned earlier, people with hypothyroidism who are taking synthetic thyroid hormone might just need to have T3 added, or switch to a natural form of thyroid hormone.
People with hyperthyroidism can of course also develop depression as well. While this isn’t due to a deficiency in thyroid hormone, it can be due to the thyroid imbalance, or some other type of imbalance in the body. So the obvious goal is to determine which imbalances you may have, and then correct these.
Natural thyroid treatment methods can help many people who have depression. For those who have depression due to an imbalance in thyroid hormone, following a natural thyroid treatment protocol might be able to restore the normal function of the thyroid gland. This is of course the ideal scenario, as a person who has their thyroid health restored back to normal would no longer need to take synthetic or natural thyroid hormone. Of course not everyone can have their health restored back to normal through a natural thyroid treatment protocol, but many people can.
In addition to thyroid hormone, other hormones can be causing or contributing to depression. For example, an imbalance of cortisol can sometimes cause depression, as can an imbalance of the male or female sex hormones. As a result, a holistic doctor might recommend an Adrenal Stress Index test and/or a hormone panel for someone who is suffering from depression in order to determine if other hormones are being affected. Different doctors will have different approaches, as some won’t do any additional testing right away, but will first try to correct the thyroid hormone problem and see how the patient responds. If the person’s symptoms don’t subside then they will order additional tests.
Other holistic doctors will want to try determining the cause of the depression right off the bat. There really is no right or wrong way to approach this, as different doctors have different styles. One thing most doctors won’t do (and rightfully so), is to advise the patient to abruptly stop taking their medication. No person should immediately stop taking their antidepressant medication to begin a natural treatment protocol, as they will need to be weaned off of the medication slowly, preferably under the supervision of a medical doctor.
In summary, people who have a thyroid condition and also suffer from depression can obviously manage this through medication, or naturally through certain supplements and/or herbs. But just as is the case with any other condition, the ultimate goal should be to restore the person’s thyroid health back to normal, and correct any other hormone imbalances. Taking this approach will usually help the person overcome depression naturally, and eventually allow them to stop relying on the antidepressants.
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