Gone are the days, thankfully, when we could all easily identify any individual taking an antipsychotic 1) because they were the marginalised ‘mad’ and 2) stigma and shame were rife. With the seismic shift that has occurred both in psychiatry & society we now know so many of the people we live or work with just might be taking ‘something’ & under any number of diagnostic labels. And increasingly the ‘anti-psychotics’ are not reserved for the psychotic nor the ‘mood stabilisers’ for the manic.  Which can complicate things – especially when it comes to their thyroid.

You see it’s a mistake to think that only Lithium spells trouble for thyroid function

The latest piece of evidence from a study of over 25K BPAD patients in the US tells us this common misunderstanding makes us prone to not recognise all the other patients in whom their psych meds are disrupting and in fact driving thyroid (dys)function.  Though Lithium carbonate remains the most noxious goitrogen due to its multiple disruptive mechanisms – the rest of a large group of Psych meds (yes even antidepressants!) are impacting to the point of effecting the thyroid function test results you are likely to see in patients taking these.  And this is something we need to be alert to – these medications are essential, non-negotiable in most scenarios, but a secondary hypothyroidism is not their intended goal and can make matters worse.

Cue our growing understand of psychoneuroendocrinology, of course.
Your HPT is influenced by your mood & vice versa
I told you I’ve rekindled my love and passion for thyroid pathology and this is one of the many elements I got to include in our latest updated training * Advanced Thyroid Assessment* and the upcoming MasterCourse. But I just had to hit record on this one aspect immediately – because if we don’t recognise the cause we are likely to be throwing all the wrong things at the thyroid – to no avail.  This kind of subclinical or overt hypothyroidism is not due to nutrition per se, or due to some other kind of HPT re-setting influence like inflammation…it’s the meds & that necessitates different solutions & a much bigger conversation…so join me…
Many of us recognise the bidirectionality between thyroid function and psychiatry wherein ‘stress’ and mental illness can produce a predictable pattern and shift in TFTs and vice versa but regarding the question of psych meds as potential goitrogens, many of us are mistaken in thinking this issue begins and ends with the use of Lithium carbonate.  As it turns out, an increasing number of these pharmaceuticals are recognised to disrupt thyroid health & activity via a variety of mechanisms both centrally and peripherally & as a result many patients may get stuck in a vicious loop of worsening thyroid function and mental wellbeing. – until someone calls it – someone like us.
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