Input on BP & Thyroid Dysfunction
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Q:  Input on BP & Thyroid Dysfunction

I don't have a question, but it's possible I have part of an answer.  I found your website while trying to determine if anyone has made the link between bi-polar disorder and thyroid dysfunction.

I was diagnosed 6 years ago with manic-dpression and very quickly, after taking lithium, was diagnosed with hypo-thyroidism also.  Since my doctor has never been able to get my thyroid level stabalized, I swing from hyper to hypo constantly, alternating every few months from one to the other.  For some reason my response to the medications is not the usual response; what is too much at one time is too little at another.

Because of these constant fluctuations, I made the connection a few days ago between manic depression, clinical depression and the state of my thyroid.  When it is underactive, I feel the same as I have when told I was experiencing clinical depression.  This includes decreased energy, decreased interest in life, numbness to events around me and lowered mental alertness.  During the times I have experienced hyperthyroidism, my speech is rapid, my mood is elevated, optomism abounds, thoughts are clear and fluid with rapid comprehension of new information, my interest in art increases also-exactly as in manic-depression.

I am telling you this to encourage your interest and endeavors in this area.  All of the research in the world does not equal the testimony of one such as myself who has experienced and been diagnosed with all four extremes.

Dear Ms. S' -- 
Thanks for writing.  Your description does indeed push me along toward thinking there is some profound similarity between hyperthyroidism and mania, and vice versa.  There are textbooks which describe mania "in association with" hyperthyroidism, but not as though they were somehow the same thing (and again, vice versa with depression).  You, and through others like you, me too -- are on to something really important.  I've submitted a 25 patient case series of folks treated with T3 and T4 together (which I hope you haven't had yet because I'm guessing it might do something positive) and I can't wait to see if it actually gets "heard" in the mood disorder circles (although that's tough because the drug companies shout much louder).  We'll see.  Thanks. 

Dr. Phelps

Published December, 2001


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