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Do Thyroid Issues Cause Panic Disorders?

An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association.  However, 60 percent are unaware of their condition, and some believe their thyroid issues can cause panic disorders. Women, more than men, are affected by thyroid problems.

Some symptoms of an overactive thyroid can cause people to feel like they are having a panic attack. Keep reading to learn more about how this condition may cause panic disorders.

Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland produces a thyroid hormone at a set rate. There are some situations where the rate can accelerate or slow down, which creates an unbalanced amount of the hormone.  Hyperthyroidism occurs when the gland produces more of the hormone than the body needs. If it produces less of the hormone, the condition is called hypothyroidism.

Both of these conditions can be linked to mental health changes, which is not all that common. But some people notice their thyroid problems can create panic attacks, as noted by the Calm Clinic.

Signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:

  • Anxiety, nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • High heart rate
  • High blood pressure

Hyperthyroid is directly linked to panic attacks. Panic attacks are usually considered a symptom of this type of thyroid disease. An overactive thyroid can cause changes to brain chemistry, which might lead to anxiety or panic attacks.

Panic Disorder Information

Panic attacks usually last about 10 minutes. Psychology Today notes the frequency of panic attacks is four attacks over four weeks or one or more attacks followed by a month of fearful anticipation of more attacks.

Roughly 3 million people in the U.S. are affected by panic disorder at some point in their lives. Married people experience panic disorder more than divorced people in a ratio of 51:24.

Other notable statistics about panic disorder from Psychology Today are:

Percentage who abuse alcohol: 30 percent abuse alcohol; 17 percent abuse drugs; and 42 percent abuse tranquilizers.

Eighty-three percent of people with panic disorder show a decline in work; 67 percent lose their job or income; 43 percent were unable to work for at least one month.

The Thyroid Gland and You

The symptoms someone has may feel like a panic attack, but it could actually be the symptoms of having an overactive thyroid gland. If the body produces too much thyroid hormone, it can cause the heart to work harder, creating symptoms that often feel like a panic attack, according to Verywell Health.

If someone with hyperthyroidism symptoms is correctly treated with antithyroid medications, the panic-like feelings and heart symptoms diminish.

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If the symptoms do not go away, call your doctor. The same symptoms being experienced can also be caused by a prolapsed mitral heart valve. The heart valve irregularity is more common in thyroid patients and may produce symptoms that are similar to panic disorder, such as a pounding heart feeling, fast heartbeat, palpitations, panic attacks, dizziness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms, as noted by the thyroid patient website Thyroid-Info.

If the sudden and recurring feelings of intense anxiety and panic are still disrupting your life, reach out to a mental health facility, like Vista Pines Health.  Licensed clinicians are available to offer assistance.

Sources

American Thyroid Association. (n.d.) General Information. Press Room. Retrieved from https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/

Calm Clinic. (2018, October 28) Can Panic Attacks Be Caused by Thyroid Problems? Abraham, M. BSC. Retrieved from https://www.calmclinic.com/panic/causes/thyroid-problems

Everyday Health Medical. (2017, November 15) Have Depression or Anxiety? Get Your Thyroid Checked. Therese Borchard, T. from https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/depression-bipolar-disorder-and-hypothyroidism/

Psychology Today. (2016, June 9) Stats on Panic Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199307/stats-panic-disorder

Verywell Health. (2020, February 3) The Link Between Thyroid Disorders and Heart Conditions. Shomon, S. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/thyroid-disorders-and-heart-conditions-3231710

Thyroid-Info. (2020) Panic Attacks and Palpitations. The Connection to Thyroid Disease & Hyperthyroidism. Shomon, M. Retrieved from http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/palpitations.htm

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