I want to briefly touch on the difference between low thyroid (Hypothyroidism) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I say briefly because I feel like a lot of people coming to this page will already be familiar with these. Afterwards we will look at some of the ways low thyroid can cause anxiety and lastly what we can do about it.
Hypothyroidism vs Hashimoto’s – Are they the same?
The simple answer is no.
(Hypo)thyroidism is low thyroid function in the body, usually because your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone for the cells in your body. There can be many reasons for this.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and it is the primary cause of hypothyroidism. The immune system identifies the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and attacks it. The resulting inflammation damages the thyroid until it results in hypothyroidism. However, in addition to hypothyroidism, a person with Hashimoto’s can also have periods of normal thyroid function alternating with hyperthyroidism.
There is so, so very much more information on these two conditions but for the sake of not overwhelming, I want to stick to the topic of our article… Can Low Thyroid Cause Anxiety?
Establishing a connection – What the Experts Say
Since autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT), (one example is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) can be a cause of hypothyroidism I am including information from a study that links AIT to anxiety and depression.
This is a direct quote from an article on Jama Psychiatry, published in 2018, “In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 20 studies comprising 43,388 participants, patients with AIT showed significantly higher depression and anxiety disorder scores compared with healthy controls.”
You can see from the quote above that the link has been established between autoimmune thyroiditis and anxiety. There is at least one AIT that causes hyperthyroidism, (overproduction of thyroid hormone) called Graves disease, so since we want to confirm the link between hypothyroidism I’m including the quote below.
Izabella Wentz, PharmD, author of Hashimoto’s Protocol is one of the experts that was featured on the docuseries Broken Brain, hosted by Dr. Mark Hyman. She was wrongly diagnosed with anxiety and chronic fatigue for nearly 10 years before she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism.
She said, “There are things commonly misdiagnosed as seizure disorders, panic attacks, and anxiety attacks. All these things can stem from thyroid disease and can be reversed when you get proper thyroid treatment.” She also talks about the 5 stages of Hashimoto’s and that anxiety is likely a symptom in the early stages of the disease. This is good news because it can still be treated in the early stages.
How Low Thyroid Causes Anxiety
Thyroid hormone is directly involved in the release and regulation of our neurotransmitters so simply put, low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to low neurotransmitters. This is so important because neurotransmitters are used by the neurons in our brains to communicate with each other. If they can’t communicate properly this can create anxiety as well as a host of other problems.
The symptoms of low thyroid, such as your hair falling out, dry skin and fatigue can also cause anxiety! I think for me it really is more to do with the neurotransmitters because the treatment below works.
What to do
Obviously, if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis you need to get treatment. If you have not been diagnosed yet but suspect you have one, or both, of these you need to get diagnosed. Our thyroid is too important to ignore and there can be serious consequences if we don’t pay attention and treat these different disorders. So definitely go to your doctor and get the proper tests done. Hopefully, just confirming that your anxiety can be caused by low thyroid is helpful and now you can take the next steps of doing more research and confirming a diagnosis.
In the meantime, what can you do for the anxiety? That’s the question. Because as we are getting treated for anything we also have to deal with the symptoms along the way.
When my daughter was being treated for Lyme disease she had terrible anxiety and the amino acids, especially Gaba, helped her get through it.
Neurotransmitters. Learning about neurotransmitters for the first time was so exciting to me especially since I learned how to supplement with amino acids to balance my brain chemistry and substantially decrease my anxiety.
I have had great success using this Chart of Amino Acid Deficiency Symptoms to determine which amino acids to supplement with. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share this will all of you. Please leave me a comment when you’ve had a chance to use it and let me know what you think. At my house, I have each of the amino acids on hand but I only take them as necessary and I take certain ones more than others so I really don’t go through them very fast.
Using the Chart and Recommendations for Quality Amino Acids
As I was treating my own anxiety, I had done so much research and found an abundance of helpful information but I had to compile it in a way that I could find quickly and easily during an episode of anxiety or a panic attack. It was not the time to try to read the fine print and try to figure out what to do, that would have just made my anxiety worse!
Each column has a list of symptoms and at the top, it shows what you might be low in if you are experiencing those symptoms. Under that, you will see which amino acid to supplement with. I like to print out several copies and grab one when I’m feeling sad, anxious, angry, having cravings, or whatever the case may be. Of course, you could have a copy on your phone or tablet and just quickly scan to see what might help you at the moment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please use this Amino Acid Notes: Warnings along with the chart. I created it because it contains information about each amino acid and it has some warnings as well. For example, you need to be careful about taking Tyrosine if you have migraines or high blood pressure. As with everything start low and slow to see how you react to everything.
You don’t need to take all of these at once. Use the chart, start with the one you need most, try to keep all of them in your toolbox for when the need arises.
Make sure to get high-quality L-Tryptophan. I recommend Lidtke (link below) I like these because they are only 100 mg. So you can start with one as a low dose. I keep them on my nightstand and take one if I’m having trouble falling asleep. Update: I only take 1/2 now because they knock me out.
High-Quality Amino Acids –
(Links will take you to Thorne and Amazon and they will open on a new page)
Thorne Thyroid Test – Thyroid imbalance is more common than you might think. This at-home blood test provides insights about thyroid function by measuring key hormone levels. Results include a personalized health plan.
Source Naturals Serene Science GABA Calm – I find that GABA works fast. When I’m having acute anxiety… (for example I have a condition called misophonia and the sound of my cat cleaning herself drives me instantly insane) I take 1-3 of these. In fact, when I’m on the amino acids and the Pyroluria Treatment Protocol the sound doesn’t even bother me, I think she’s cute. It’s a night and day change.
Lidtke L-Tryptophan Chewable – Natural building block of serotonin, important for mood, appetite, normal sleep patterns, and nervous system function.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. However, you don’t pay more when buying through my links. Thank you for helping support this site!
20 Replies to “Can Low Thyroid Cause Anxiety?”
Hello there, the health of any individual matter a lot and you just have to be careful dealing with it and that is the key to living a healthy life. With the details of this article, I really feel happy that I got to know about this because it affects a good friend of mine but I never knew it leads to anxiety and that is key to helping him deal with the sickness well.
Hi Justin, I’m glad you liked the article. I hope you can share the chart of amino acid deficiency symptoms and the notes that go with it with your friend. I’m linking them here again to make it easy. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I wish you and your friend all the best!
Hello Alison, knowledge is indeed power and lack of it have caused the world a lot of things and I really hope we keep getting such wonderful information to help us better our health. I doubt some people knows about this. I would love to know more about taking Tyrosine when you have migraines or high blood pressure because I really don’t know anything about it as well.
Yes, thank you for visiting and increasing your knowledge and power. 😊
Tyrosine, boosts catecholamines and can help with motivation and energy. It provides support for the thyroid and can ease some types of anxiety, but again provides energy so be careful not to take too late in the day if you want to sleep! For people who have a history of migraines you should start out at a really low dose of 50mg for a couple days and then see if you can increase a little for a couple more days, etc… to get the benefits and make sure it won’t trigger a migraine.
Anyone who has high blood pressure or bipolar disorder may not tolerate Tyrosine.
It is the first time I am learning about Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It makes absolute sense how low levels of the hormone would in turn cause low neurotransmitters hence anxiety and other brain related symptoms. The chart itself is also very vast and makes it easy to identify which supplement to take. This has really been informative thank you very much.
Hi Nozipho, Thank you for visiting my site. I’m glad you like the chart, I just find it so helpful to have everything right there where I can quickly see what I need to do.
Such an interesting article! I was doing some research for my sister as her Thyroid is not working as it should. I haven’t got any clue if she has a lot of anxiety, but it might be good for me to mention it to her that it’s a possibility! I just wonder though, the moment you start the treatment for your thyroid, does it automatically also mean that your anxiety will get better as your hormones are stabilizing themselves anyway?
Thank you. It’s true that you won’t get relief from anxiety as soon as you start treatment for your thyroid. It will definitely take time for your chosen treatment to start working. This is exactly why I recommend using the amino acids in the meantime, they are not a treatment for the thyroid but for the anxiety. Please tell your sister about the chart I have provided if she does have any problems with anxiety. Thank you for visiting and I really appreciate your question!
Chart of Amino Acids
Notes to Use with Amino Acids chart
Very nice content. It’s a very informative post. I help mentally ill patients and we always have to make sure our patients have adequate level of Thyroid in their system.
We monitor, we prescribe thyroid meds based on their lab results. We pay attention to their mood and what can negatively affect their mood.
I am not familiar with this product you introduced in your post.
Do you recommend it for mentally ill patients?
Overall, it is great content.
Thank you Tsigemariamg for visiting and for your question.
Yes, amino acids are converted into neurotransmitters which alleviate depression and other mental health problems. Low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin has been linked to suicide. The supplement I linked was tryptophan, I think that is what you are referring to. Tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin and is usually converted to serotonin when taken on an empty stomach. It induces sleep and tranquility and also makes you feel happier and just more mentally stable.
This whole subject of amino acids and neurotransmitters is vast and fascinating. I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
When you feel the effects for yourself it is exciting!
helllooo alison, thanks alot for sharing such an amazing and educative article with us all, i was actually doing some research online when i saw your post and i must say it really has educated me alot, your article on Can Low Thyroid Cause Anxiety is some thing everyone should look info, i believe after these i will share your link on my page, thanks alot for the info
Thank you very much. I’m happy if the information can help you and your family, friends or followers.
All my best,
You have done a thorough research on this disease. Any form of sickness is terrible and the anxiety attack is just as bad. This is when you realise the importance of medical insurance. I can imagine the doctors visits, the tests and payments for treatment. Whooa..What I did not pick up is why would ones own immune system attack the thyroid gland as an enemy. Our bodies are really complex structures for sure. Thank you for the informative article and thank you for sharing.
Hi Energy Kadango,
Thank you for saying that an anxiety attack is just as bad as other sicknesses. You are absolutely right, it is scary and exhausting and can be very discouraging.
As far as our immune system attacking the thyroid it is kind of a mystery with all autoimmune diseases why the body produces antibodies towards itself.
Thank you for your comments!
Hello there, Many symptoms of psychological dysfunction have been described with hypothyroidism. Those symptoms most related to thyroid deficiency are forgetfulness, fatigue, mental slowness and emotional lability. The predominant affective disorder experienced is depression. Thanks for sharing this awesome article I know it would be of help to a lot of persons
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are right about the most common symptoms of hypothyroid being related to fatigue and depression which is why a lot of people don’t realize that it can also be related to anxiety especially in a certain stage of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
I am a math student and I am not very familiar with the thyroid. but I learn about thyroid and causes of anxiety.you have briefly explained about the difference between low thyroid (Hypothyroidism) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I have gained a lot of knowledge about low thyroid can cause anxiety. You have briefly explained the causes, symptoms and treatment.
Billsha, I’m glad you stopped by. I hope thyroid disease never affects your life! The most common cause of all thyroid disease is iodine deficiency so make sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet.
Best to you in your math studies,
Having quality information at your disposal would definitely eliminate ignorance towards this very important and complicated issue. Seriously, being able to use this information in dealing with the deficiencies of amino acids and the dangers it can cause to our health is valuable. I doubt most people know about this, I would share it too.
Thank you for your thoughts Kimberly, I’m glad you found the information useful.