Ask The Pharmacist: Hypothyroidism causes depression, anxiety and OCD

Suzy Cohen

If you have hypothyroidism, it can cause depression or anxiety or OCD. The medications used to treat the psychiatric disorders work temporarily at best, if at all because they don’t address the low thyroid hormone.

Anxiety is sometimes overlooked and misdiagnosed. Anxiety can have many definitions and physical symptoms. For some, it could be defined as looping thoughts, heart racing, racing thoughts, trembling, internal tremors, feeling nervous, having unnatural fears or constant worry. 

Stock art illustrating depression.

Failing to normalize your low thyroid hormone levels will make it harder, if not impossible for you to get well. 

There’s a very strong correlation between psychiatric disorders and thyroid disease.

Some of you who are hanging on by a thread with severe or suicidal depression, will find solace in the fact that a simple, inexpensive thyroid medication (or supplement) could turn things around for you. 

You cannot trust your lab tests even if they say “normal.” The reference ranges were decided upon based upon a sick population. If you are in the “normal” reference range, that’s not saying a whole lot. I cover this in my book, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

With subtle symptoms, such as fatigue and weight gain, hypothyroidism can be tough to diagnose without a blood test.

By the time it takes you to read the next paragraph below, someone else will have taken their own life. That’s because every 40 seconds someone commits suicide in the world.
If you associate depression as a problem that impacts older people like people who recall the sound of a typewriter click, the ringing of a telephone or disco, well, you’re wrong. It affects children, adolescents and adults of any age. In fact, one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents (age range 10-19), have a diagnosis of clinical depression.

Up to 60 percent of people with thyroid disease are completely unaware of their condition, they assume they have some other condition that their physician has diagnosed them with, perhaps stress, high cholesterol, diabetes, bipolar, depression, anxiety, OCD, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or some other chronic illness or infection. 

Hypothyroidism affects about 10,000,000 Americans and perhaps millions worldwide.

If you have depression or anxiety, you might benefit from a trial run of thyroid medication. The type that’s right for you deserves a thoughtful, accurate response so I’ve written a longer version of this article, and you can receive it to your email by signing up for my free newsletter at 

In the meantime, it’s safe to say I think that thyroid medication and/or dietary supplements are better than antidepressants? Impressive results from STAR*D Trial have confirmed this. 

You can also take thyroid medication or supplements, along with a prescription antidepressant. It’s not either/or it could be both. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention lithium and fish oils as other natural options for mood stabilization and neurotransmitter support. 

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit