Thyroid and your mental health – what’s the link?

In our recent survey, just over one in five people with a thyroid condition were initially diagnosed with a mental health condition. So, do these conditions crossover?

Thyroid problems often share symptoms with other health conditions, including certain mental health disorders, which can sometimes result in misdiagnosis.

We conducted a survey to investigate the relationship between mental health and thyroid conditions. Based on 797 responses, we found that more than one in five people with a thyroid condition were initially diagnosed with a mental health condition. So, how are the thyroid and mental health linked?

In this article, we cover:


An introduction to the thyroid gland

The thyroid gland is located in the neck and produces thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. It plays a vital role in regulating many bodily functions, including mood and energy levels.

If the thyroid gland isn’t functioning normally, it can lead to an imbalance in thyroid hormones. The thyroid can become underactive (hypothyroidism), leading to the production of too few thyroid hormones, or overactive (hyperthyroidism), where there's excess production of thyroid hormones. Both conditions can potentially cause physical and mental health symptoms.

Because of the crossover of symptoms between thyroid conditions and mental health conditions, they can be hard to tell apart. The table below outlines how symptoms relate to each condition.

Mental health symptoms vs thyroid symptoms

Thyroid condition vs mental health comparison table

What's the link between mental health and your thyroid?

Studies show that people with thyroid conditions are at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression [1].

Thyroid hormones help regulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, which affect your mood. Thyroid hormones also affect the brain's metabolic rate as well as the blood-brain barrier (which allows certain molecules to pass from the bloodstream to the brain). Both of these impact our brain function and mood.

A thyroid condition can also impact your energy levels, weight, concentration, or even appearance, which may have a knock-on effect on your mood, contributing to conditions like anxiety or depression [2].

Living with a chronic condition such as an overactive or underactive thyroid can also be challenging and may eventually take its toll on mental health. This can create a vicious circle as stress is known to interfere with many aspects of hormone balance, including thyroid function. It can exacerbate autoimmune thyroid conditions like Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and may lead to changes in TSH  levels [1]. 

So, while it's possible to have a thyroid condition and mental health condition independently, it's likely the two are linked in some way. The relationship is a complex one and not yet fully understood. However, as people with thyroid conditions tend to have higher rates of anxiety and depression, it's essential to prioritise your mental health if you have a problem with your thyroid.

How might a thyroid condition affect my mood?

People with thyroid conditions often have emotional or mental health symptoms. Based on our 2023 survey, people reported that their thyroid condition made them feel:

  • Misunderstood (55%)
  • Sad (51%)
  • Isolated (34%)
  • Vulnerable (32%)
  • Angry (30%)

Almost two in five (39%) participants reported that they had been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression alongside their thyroid condition.

It’s clear that mental health problems are more common with a thyroid condition, but it’s not all bad news. Getting the right treatment can really help.

Almost half of participants (47%) said that their mental health symptoms had improved with thyroid medication or treatment. In addition, leading a healthy lifestyle can help you manage your symptoms. There are also many sources of support - from your GP or specialist to support groups.


How can I tell the difference between a thyroid condition and a mental health condition?

Because the symptoms of a mental health condition and thyroid condition can be similar, it can be very difficult to tell them apart. The most accurate way to determine whether there is a medical cause for your low mood is through a blood test.

A Thyroid Function Blood Test can help you explore whether your thyroid function may be contributing to your mental health problems. And if your thyroid function is normal, it's likely due to another cause, such as a mental health condition.

Regardless of whether your mental health is affected by your thyroid condition or not, you may benefit from further support such as healthy lifestyle changes, talking therapies, or medication.


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Five ways to improve your mental health with a thyroid condition

1. Make sure you’re taking the right dose of thyroid medication

Ensure your thyroid hormones are stabilised with the right dose of medication by regular testing. Getting the right dose can prevent mental health symptoms worsening. Speak to your GP if your medication has been reviewed but you're still experiencing poor mental health.

2. Make positive lifestyle choices

Exercising with a thyroid condition can seem daunting – especially if you’re experiencing common thyroid-related symptoms such as fatigue or muscle weakness. However, light exercise may help improve your symptoms as well as your mental health. A slow walk or a yoga session is a great place to start. 

A healthy diet can benefit both your mental health and your thyroid condition. Make sure you're eating plenty of thyroid-friendly foods, which can complement your treatment and help improve your symptoms. 

3. Meet people with shared experiences

People with shared experiences can offer empathy and understanding. Joining forums such as Thyroid UK can put you in touch with other people with thyroid conditions and give you a safe space to share your thoughts – a worry shared is a worry halved.

4. Build a self-care toolbox

Everyone has their own unique way of looking after their mental health. Some people enjoy dancing, while others enjoy a hot bubble bath. Whatever activities bring you joy, add them to your self-care toolbox and access them if you’re feeling low.

5. Try some unconventional ways to boost your wellbeing

There are many ways you can improve your mental wellbeing, from meditation or taking a walk. But why not try some unconventional ways to reduce stress? From forest bathing to chewing gum, you may be surprised by their positive effects on your mental health.

Where can I get support for thyroid health and mental health?

If you've been feeling persistently low for more than two weeks, or you're struggling to manage your mental health, it's important to speak to your GP.

The British Thyroid Foundation has volunteer helpline contacts and local support groups that may be able to help.

For more general support for mental health, Mind and Samaritans offer a range of services.

Want to learn more about thyroid health? Visit our Thyroid Hub.


  1. Radhakrishnan R, Calvin S, Singh JK, Thomas B, Srinivasan K. Thyroid dysfunction in major psychiatric disorders in a hospital based sample. Indian J Med Res. 2013 Dec;138(6):888-93. PMID: 24521631; PMCID: PMC3978977.  
  2. Jurado-Flores, M., Warda, F. and Mooradian, A. (2022) “Pathophysiology and clinical features of neuropsychiatric manifestations of thyroid disease,” Journal of the Endocrine Society, 6(2). Available at:
  3. Underactive thyroid symptoms and treatments (no date) Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform. Available at:,weight%20gain%20and%20feeling%20depressed. (Accessed: April 18, 2023).
  4. Overactive thyroid symptoms and treatments (no date) Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform. Available at:,difficulty%20sleeping%20(insomnia) (Accessed: April 18, 2023).

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