In a recent study, researchers found that there is a strong link between depression and anxiety disorders and autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT), a chronic thyroid condition.
They also found that special treatment could help many sufferers, especially women.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Depression and anxiety are among the most common psychiatric disorders across the globe.
The research team has now proven a strong link between depression and anxiety disorders and AIT.
Chronic thyroid condition affects approximately 10% of the population in the world.
It leads to a lasting inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hormones from the thyroid influence the metabolism and cellular energy balance as well as perceived energy levels and the psyche.
Previous research has shown that AIT leads to specific mental symptoms, such as inner unrest, tension, and exhaustion.
People tend to fall ill between the ages of 30 and 50, and women are likely to be affected.
The disease often first becomes apparent around the same time as the menopause and tends not to cause any pain.
It is easy to miss the inflammation of the thyroid gland or misdiagnose it as ‘menopausal symptoms’ or depression or anxiety alone.
In the study, the team did a systematic overview of the current research and calculated the strength of the connection between mental problems and AIT.
They combined 21 published studies based on a total of 36,174 participants. Among them, 35,168 suffered from depression and 34,094 suffered from anxiety.
They found that patients with chronic thyroid condition AIT are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from depression, or 2.3 times more likely to suffer from anxiety.
In addition, patients with AIT account for more than 40 percent of all cases of depression and 30 percent of all cases of anxiety.
The team suggests that doctors should screen all patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety for AIT.
In addition, in future research on depression or anxiety, AIT sufferers should be recognized as a separate group to cast more light on the connections.
The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.
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