Psych Meds and Thyroid Damage
Did you know that your medication might be damaging your thyroid?!
Yep, unfortunately it’s true. What’s even more unfortunate is many doctors prescribe without realizing this. Many common psychotropic medications negatively alter thyroid function.
Let’s get to the big question… which drugs do this?
Lithium, many antipsychotics (especially phenothiazines), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Let’s break this down.
Lithium can cause autoimmune conditions affecting your thyroid.
Lithium is a common medication used to treat Bipolar Disorder. Lithium disrupts thyroid function by decreasing thyroid production (T4 hormone) and interfering with its conversion to its active state (conversion of T4 hormone to T3 hormone). Lithium can also trigger an autoimmune thyroid condition, which means your immune systems goes into overdrive and starts attacking your thyroid gland.
Phenothiazines, which are a class of antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia can also damage your thyroid and induce the formation of thyroid autoantibodies. Some antidepressant medications, especially tricyclic antidepressants, can also alter thyroid function and decrease thyroid hormone levels.
I know this can sound very confusing and might have your head spinning.
Bottom line: some medications are damaging the function of your thyroid gland.
So how does this affect you?
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, and have effects on the cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems. Low thyroid function (also known as hypothyroidism) causes symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, hair loss, dry skin, brain fogginess, and low mood.
So you’re already struggling with your mood, and you might be experiencing weight gain and brain fog as a result of your medication……now this medication might be causing those symptoms to become even worse by attacking your thyroid gland?!
What a vicious cycle!
Fret not. There are solutions to this problem.
One. If you are already on these medications, you should be checking your thyroid labs regularly. If these medications have affected your thyroid, you can take thyroid medication to help support the functioning of your thyroid gland. Ask your doctor to get a thyroid panel run next time you see them.
Two. There are other treatment options! There are other medications that do not negatively affect your thyroid! If you already suffer from thyroid problems, there are better medication options available to you other than the ones mentioned above. Better yet there are actually natural treatment options to help you avoid, reduce, or eliminate those medications!