Depression is a topic near and dear to my heart. Many moons ago, I lost someone dear to me to suicide… and while I’ll never understand the immense pain of a person in the moment before they choose to end their life, I can tell you that the loss leaves families and survivors (like me), in utter devastation and despair. Some even spiral into a deep depression themselves from the trauma. I was one of them.
Losing my loved one created the type of hole in my heart that I hope others never have to experience, and was likely a factor in the development or exacerbation of my autoimmune condition.
I personally battled with depression before my Hashimoto’s diagnosis, and had worked and interned in various mental health settings as a pharmacy student for about 10 years, with the goal of specializing in psychopharmacology, before realizing that I had Hashimoto’s and that there was a better way to resolve depression.
For the last decade, depression has become a distant memory for me. On most days, I feel calm, happy and empowered, and sometimes forget how it feels not to have a great mood every day. This year has been extra hard on many individuals, including me, and I wanted to share this article with you, with the hope that you’ll be able to find some solutions. While many people have managed their mental health conditions well in previous years, I’ve noticed that in 2020, many of us need to do EXTRA to support our mental health.
If you’re reading this, please know this: often depression can be resolved when an underlying thyroid issue is addressed.
Some people, however, struggle for years without a proper diagnosis of thyroid disease. It breaks my heart to think about the many thyroid patients who get labeled as clinically depressed instead of being tested for thyroid antibodies.
The good news is that, once a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s has been made, we can start looking for and addressing the root causes that might be leading to feelings of depression, including optimizing thyroid hormones. Today’s article will focus on some of the low-hanging fruit that can help many people feel better beyond thyroid hormones as well. That said, if you suspect you have a thyroid condition, please read my article for more information on diagnosing Hashimoto’s.)
I hope that you will benefit from this article and will also share it with someone you care about who may need it. How I wish I knew then what I know now. It breaks my heart that some of the kindest and most amazing people I used to know are no longer around to enjoy the beauty of this world, and that others are not living their lives due to the dark cloud of depression hovering over their heads.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- The connection between Hashimoto’s and depression
- Root causes of depression
- Solutions for depression that can help 80 percent of people feel better
Hashimoto’s and Depression
Clinical depression, or major depression, is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Depression affects more women than men, and the symptoms and severity of depression can vary from person to person. About one in ten American adults are affected by depression.
Most people are unaware of how frequently depression occurs with Hashimoto’s, but a study in 2004 found an association between the presence of a mood disorder, and the presence of TPO antibodies.
Furthermore, new studies have connected depression, distress, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and anxiety with a high level of TPO antibodies. TPO antibodies are early signs of an autoimmune attack on the thyroid, even when one’s TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) number is still normal.
In Hashimoto’s, there is a breakdown of the thyroid gland, which can rush thyroid hormones into the bloodstream, resulting in transient hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of agitation, anxiety, and even psychosis can occur… anyone who has experienced symptoms of hyperthyroidism (due to the fluctuations in thyroid hormone often seen in Hashimoto’s) can describe how terrible this feels.
Once the thyroid hormone is cleared out, the person may be functionally hypothyroid, and they may have symptoms of depression, apathy, poor mood, and brain fog. Symptoms of depression and apathy are also felt in subclinical hypothyroidism when there are slight reductions of thyroid hormone secretion.
Thus, it’s possible that some cases of depression are related to the thyroid. In fact, one reader with thyroid disease once told me, “I feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines of life, watching everyone else enjoy their journey, wondering if I’ll ever have my zest for life back.”
Appropriate identification of a thyroid condition and then the correct treatment can resolve many cases of depression. Furthermore, the underlying root causes and consequences of thyroid disease may also need to be addressed to fully restore a healthy and happy mood.
Conventional Treatments for Depression
There is supporting research out there supporting the link between mood disorders and Hashimoto’s. For example, people with bipolar disorder (as well as depressive and anxiety disorders) were found to have a higher prevalence of antithyroid antibodies. (To further complicate the issue, lithium — a medication often used for bipolar disorder — can trigger Hashimoto’s.)
Doctors who are aware of the link between thyroid issues and mood disorders will take a deeper look at the role of thyroid disease and may consider thyroid medications in those presenting with symptoms. Likewise, progressive psychiatrists will test all of their patients that present with new onset depression, anxiety, and mental health symptoms for thyroid disorders, and will often be open-minded about prescribing thyroid medication.
Unfortunately, despite all of the research that’s out there, these types of psychiatrists are a minority, and some patients have been misdiagnosed (even hospitalized) with “bipolar disorder” or “schizophrenia” when, in fact, they had thyroid imbalances.
In the majority of cases, conventional doctors favor the use of antidepressants (or a referral to a psychiatrist)! “Antidepressant” is a common name for the type of medications used to treat depression. (For a lot of people, Prozac comes to mind, though not all of the medications work on the same pathways as Prozac.)
That said, the most common antidepressants are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These include brand names such as Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, and Paxil. These drugs work by decreasing serotonin (our “happy hormone”) reuptake (reabsorption) in the brain, which leaves more serotonin available in the brain to positively affect mood. Common side effects of SSRIs include nausea, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, nervousness, and tremors.
Another commonly prescribed group of antidepressants are called SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Cymbalta, Effexor XR, and Pristq all fall into this category of drugs that work by improving serotonin and norepinephrine (a neurotransmitter and hormone in the nervous system) levels in the brain. Common side effects include nausea, drowsiness, fatigue, constipation, and dry mouth.
Wellbutrin (bupropion) is another medication that has a few different indications. Most commonly, it’s used as an antidepressant that works on the norepinephrine and dopamine pathway and may be given as a stand-alone medication, or in combination with SSRI’s, to counteract the sexual side effects and fatigue caused by SSRIs. This medication is also FDA approved for smoking cessation. I’ve written about the connection between smoking and Hashimoto’s before, and I personally took bupropion in college for the purposes of smoking cessation.
Interestingly, this medication also helps with weight loss, focus and energy. However, it can also lead to a suppression of TSH, the communication hormone that tells our body to make more thyroid hormone — potentially resulting in what is known as “central hypothyroidism,” where the TSH is normal but the actual thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) are low because the communication pathway isn’t working properly.
I took this medication in college around the time I started having thyroid symptoms, and I remember that I felt more focused and energetic when I took it. I often wonder if this medication either masked some of my symptoms, contributed to my thyroid hormones being low, or potentially led to a suppression of TSH, masking the fact that I was hypothyroid whenever I was checked. This is why I often recommend doing a full thyroid panel to screen for thyroid conditions, and why depression is a big red flag for me for thyroid conditions.
Additionally, medications that were once traditionally used for treating schizophrenia are now used as “add-on” therapies for treatment resistant depression. In the real world, as a consulting pharmacist, I saw a lot of heavy duty use of these medications, and in some cases, this led to debilitating side effects (fainting, lethargy, loss of balance, sexual side effects, and metabolic syndrome, with some individuals earning over 100 pounds in the course of a year or two after initiating these medications).
Do These Antidepressants Help Depression?
When I hear people in natural medicine speaking about the evils of antidepressants, I think of my deceased loved one… oh, how I wish he had considered antidepressants, instead of taking his life. While it’s true that most mood altering medications do have some unfavorable side effects, they can help some people feel better, and can save lives. At the end of the day, as someone who wants to alleviate the world of suffering, I am supportive of most methods people use to heal.
As someone who has dispensed antidepressants, taken antidepressants, and monitored patients who were initiated on antidepressants, I can tell you first hand, that they do work really well for some people. I have had patients come to my pharmacy in deep despair clutching onto their first prescription for an antidepressant — I sometimes would just listen to my patients for hours, on the phone in the late evenings when the pharmacy was quiet, and would see them feeling better and better every month they would come in to get their refills.
That said, antidepressants don’t work for everyone. A major study completed in 2006, the STAR*D trial, showed that only 30 percent of people were “responders” to most antidepressants. Additionally, the STAR*D trial found that less than five percent of people were found to be in remission from depression with SSRI drugs, even after using them for a year.
(That said, please note that if you are currently taking prescription anti-depressants, it is important not to stop taking your medications without the oversight of your physician or therapist.)
Additionally, as I alluded to earlier, side effects are common with mood altering drugs.
While I believe most medications have their time and place, the truth is, most mood altering drugs are dirty drugs (this is official pharmacist lingo). They interact with many receptors, leading to a long list of symptoms.
As a pharmacist, I often got reports from my patients and clients of feeling like zombies, gaining weight, feeling dulled, living in a fog, having sexual dysfunction, becoming manic, and feeling worse on antidepressants and other mood-altering medications.
One of the scariest side effects of antidepressants that I learned about in pharmacy school is increased suicidality. People who were prescribed medications for depression would be more likely to die by suicide within weeks of starting them. The theory that was proposed to us students was that “people got more energy before their mood improved… and thus, this burst of energy gave them the opportunity to take their lives.” This was so scary to me as a young practicing pharmacist.
Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem, and is devastating for loved ones of the deceased, who often go on to have post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor’s guilt, and even new onset autoimmune disease. (One day I’ll write more about my personal connection to loss… but for now, if you’re reading this and struggling with depression, I want you to know that you can feel better — and there are so many people and things that can help you. Don’t give up.)
Antidepressants can also cause a down regulation of our internal production of neurotransmitters. This means that people can become dependent on taking them and have withdrawal symptoms when they try to come off of them.
I have seen it first hand, and have had to work with numerous people to slowly wean them off antidepressants when I was a consulting pharmacist.
This dependence occurs because antidepressants prevent us from properly clearing serotonin from our brains, causing it to stick around longer. Unfortunately, the body takes notice of all of this serotonin hanging around. Soon, we begin to produce less serotonin, and we become less sensitive to the serotonin we do have. When not addressed, this result may become permanent.
Beyond antidepressants, I’ve seen other mood altering drugs being used for refractory depression, some “off-label,” others with FDA approval.
For example, Seroquel, Risperdal, and in particular Zyprexa, are the “dirtiest” drugs out there. They’ve traditionally been used for schizophrenia but are now being used for depression as well. I’ve seen people gain hundreds of pounds in the course of a year, become diabetic, lethargic and withdrawn, and develop irreversible, involuntary movements and painful muscle contractions, from using these types of medications.
From 2008-2011, the majority of my recommendations as a consultant pharmacist were to reduce or taper antipsychotic medications for clients due to the horrible side effects and lack of perceived benefit. From 2012 and onwards, one of my job descriptions was to help reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in the elderly.
Furthermore, I think it’s important to understand the root cause of the problem. For example, giving a person mood-stabilizing medications because of fluctuations in mood (due to Hashimoto’s), is like putting masking tape over the “check engine” light in a car, instead of checking the engine.
Antidepressants alone should never be the sole solution, even for a person with severe depression and anxiety. If you are someone who is taking antidepressants, root cause solutions can help you get the most benefit from them, and even help you wean off of them (under your doctor’s supervision).
As a pharmacist, I really got a kick out of this little Onion article:
Let’s dive in and discuss some of the root causes of depression (including, but not limited to thyroid issues), as well as some solutions beyond medications.
The Root Cause Approach
I remember speaking to my young clients who were living in mental health group homes about their goals. One gentleman mentioned he hoped to be free of psychiatric medications, yet because of his diagnosis, I was so sad that I would have to tell him that he would not meet his goal. In conventional medicine, medications are often life-long.
The amazing thing that I’ve learned with functional medicine is that many people with lifelong psychiatric diagnoses can recover after receiving proper thyroid care. This is because many of the same root causes, triggers, and strategies that help Hashimoto’s, can also help depression (when the root cause of depression or a mood disorder is due to the thyroid). In fact, 81 percent of the participants in my Hashimoto’s Self-Management Program reported an improvement or resolution of depression!
One reader shared how liberating and transformational it was to realize the depression was related to their Hashimoto’s:
“One year ago, I was feeling anxious, depressed, and like I was going crazy! I was sent to a psychiatrist and prescribed Seroquel [an antipsychotic medication] and clonazepam [an anxiety medication]. 5 months later, I read your blog and went to my primary care doctor and demanded testing for Hashimoto’s. I wasn’t going crazy, I had TPO Antibodies well into the 600 range. I am being weaned off of the psychiatric meds and I immediately changed doctors. Thank you, Dr. Wentz, or I would still be spending thousands on a psychiatrist. And my TPO is slowly coming down.”
While there are many different root causes, strategies, and solutions for depression, I want to focus on a few low hanging fruits that can help a person with depression, whether used in conjunction with antidepressants, or on their own… many of these can be DIY options, as well as approached with the help of your primary care doctor.
- Optimizing thyroid hormones
- Making dietary changes
- Addressing nutrient deficiencies
- Utilizing supplements that have been shown to improve mood and stress
- Implementing mood-boosting lifestyle changes
Thyroid Hormone Optimization
First and foremost, If your TSH is elevated, you may need to consider thyroid hormone medications.
If you’re already on thyroid medications, you may need to adjust your current dosage to optimize your TSH levels. A survey of over 2000 Root Cause readers found that as far as medications and mood, getting the TSH between 1 and 2 μIU/mL, and in some cases under 1 μIU/mL, helped a person improve their mood symptoms. (Levels that are too high or too low indicate an imbalance of thyroid hormone levels and have been associated with various symptoms, including depression and anxiety.)
However, it’s important to note that some people continue to have these symptoms despite taking medications like Synthroid, levothyroxine, or Levoxyl. Not everyone can be optimized on a T4 medication alone.
One of the biggest signs that a person with thyroid disease is not converting T4 to the active T3 properly is depression.
Additionally, medical studies have shown that up to one-third of people who fail antidepressants, report feeling better once they were started on Cytomel® (a T3-containing thyroid hormone).
If you are still having symptoms of depression while on your thyroid medications, consider talking to your doctor about switching your medications.
Taking a T3-containing medication, in particular, has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Around 60 percent of readers whom I surveyed, reported improved mood after switching to a T3/T4 combo medication like Nature-Throid, WP Thyroid, Armour, or a compounded T4/T3 version.
You may want to read my articles on understanding your thyroid labs and taking thyroid medications for more information on how adjusting thyroid medication dosages or switching medications can help optimize your thyroid hormone levels and elevate your mood.
I have found that for some people with Hashimoto’s, their depression may in fact be a reaction to a food that they are sensitive to.
Some of the most common food sensitivities that can lead to symptoms of depression are gluten, dairy, grains, soy, nuts and seeds. Eliminating these foods from one’s diet can bring enormous relief to a person’s mood and mental state. In fact, in my survey of readers with Hashimoto’s, 60 percent of people reported symptoms of improved mood by eliminating gluten, 59 percent saw improvements by going grain free, and 45 percent by giving up dairy. I recommend starting with an elimination diet to begin to uncover the foods that are problematic for you.
Additionally, balancing blood sugar levels is one of the most important components in reducing anxiety for people with Hashimoto’s, and can have an impact on symptoms of depression as well. When insulin levels swing from high to low, it’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster that can cause some of the extreme emotions that are characteristic of mood disorders. Of the people with Hashimoto’s that I surveyed, 61 percent reported improved mood with a low glycemic index diet, while 65 percent experienced improvement on a sugar-free diet.
Nutrients for Depression
Addressing nutrient depletions can be a game changer when it comes to relieving depression. Oftentimes, a deficiency in a key nutrient results in many of the symptoms associated with depression, and supplementing with a quality supplement can make all the difference in improving mood.
Nutrient depletions that are often seen in people experiencing symptoms of depression include:
- Vitamin B6: Depression can be caused by something so simple as a deficiency in B6. B6 is required for the production of neurotransmitters, and unlike antidepressants that artificially raise the levels of neurotransmitters, B6 has very few side effects. One clue that you may be deficient in B6 is a poor dream recall. I like the Pure Encapsulations P5P 50 form of B6, and generally recommend a dose of 50-100 mg. The pyridoxine form can also be used, however, doses above 300 mg should be avoided due to potential of induced peripheral neuropathy.
- Vitamin B12: A deficiency in B vitamins, particularly B12, can have a huge impact on mental health. One study found that one quarter of women who were diagnosed with severe depression, were deficient in this crucial nutrient. Of the readers with Hashimoto’s that I surveyed, 56 percent experienced improved mood when they began supplementing with B12.
- Methylfolate: Studies have shown that people with low levels of folate have a 7 percent response rate to treatment with antidepressants, while those with high levels of folate have a 44 percent response rate; therefore, it is often used in the treatment of depression.
- Iron (ferritin): Several symptoms of iron deficiency are similar to that of depression: fatigue, irritability, and brain fog. I personally became iron deficient while pregnant, and felt like I became tearful and emotional overnight… these symptoms are usually considered “normal” for pregnant women, yet iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in pregnancy. I was already taking an oral iron supplement, but ended up needing to supplement with two burgers a day and iron IV’s to stay happy. One day I told my husband that I didn’t feel loved because he hadn’t gotten burgers for me that day. 🙂 Testing iron and ferritin levels is incredibly important, and proper management may bring relief to symptoms of depression for many people. (As a side note, iron deficiency is more common in pregnant and menstruating women, while iron overload is more common in men and postmenpausal women. An overload of iron can also lead to mood alterations, so be sure to get tested and not just supplement.)
- Omega-3: A number of studies show that omega-3 fatty acids can be very effective against the treatment of major depression disorder and other psychiatric disorders, with no associated side effects. I generally advise 1-4 grams per day for most people.
- Vitamin D: Most people, especially those of us living further away from the equator, are deficient in vitamin D, and a deficiency in this important nutrient has been linked to elevated thyroid antibodies and depression. Sixty-four percent of my readers have reported improvements to mood when they’ve taken a D3 supplement. 5000-10000 IU per day is what it usually takes to get your vitamin D levels in range. I do recommend testing for vitamin D, and supplementing accordingly.
- Magnesium: Multiple studies have linked magnesium deficiency with depression, as this vital nutrient plays a key role in hormone balance and brain chemistry. Magnesium is required for the production of the sex hormones progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, and also helps regulate cortisol — all of which impact mood and cognitive function. Magnesium is also an important component in thyroid hormone production, and helps balance blood sugar — key factors in mood stabilization.
Stress Response Support
Treating hypothyroidism without treating the adrenals is one of the biggest reasons people continue to feel exhausted despite receiving treatment with thyroid hormones, and it can also lead to symptoms of depression.
The adrenal glands release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that impact many important functions throughout the body: among them, stress tolerance and mood.
In cases of chronic stress, the never-ending presence of stressful, yet non-life-threatening situations, can lead to the constant activation of the stress response. To help meet the demand for cortisol, your body will decrease the production of other hormones normally produced by the adrenals, such as progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone.
Eventually, with enough chronic stress, your body becomes overwhelmed and desensitized to the usual feedback loop, and stops sending messages to the adrenals to produce more hormones or less hormones, no matter what’s happening. We call this adrenal fatigue.
If you think stress could be at the root of your depression, you may want to look into supporting your adrenals. As a starting point, I recommend the ABC’s — Adaptogens, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Adaptogenic herbs support the body’s ability to deal with stressors and are thought to work by normalizing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Some herbs, such as ashwagandha, can help normalize thyroid hormone levels, as well as support the body’s stress response. Of the readers I surveyed, 77 percent said their mood improved when they took adaptogenic herbs.
The B vitamins and vitamin C become depleted during high cortisol production. In particular, pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin (another B vitamin) deficiencies have been linked to decreased adrenal function in animals and humans. Meanwhile, vitamin C helps to regulate cortisol and prevent blood pressure from spiking in response to stressful situations.
There are many types of therapies, exercises, and activities aimed at reducing depression — the important thing is finding one that will work for you. This may take some experimentation, but a few of my favorite forms of mental health therapy include:
- Bright light therapy: Bright light therapy (BLT) is considered among the first-line treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), yet a growing body of literature supports its use in other mental health conditions, including non-seasonal depression. BLT uses a lamp to mimic sunlight to adjust the person’s circadian rhythm and elevate their mood. I’m a big proponent of being out in nature and enjoying the sunshine (especially on a beach vacation), however, those of us living in colder climates may not always have the ability to escape. In such cases, you can purchase a therapy light online to sit under for 15 minutes a day, in the comfort of your home.
- Meditation: Stress and anxiety are major triggers of depression, and meditation can alter your reaction to those feelings by training the brain to sustain focus, and return to that focus when negative thinking arises. Meditation has even been found to change certain regions of the brain that are linked with depression. There are many apps that can help you begin a meditation practice (Headspace is a popular one), but even just closing your eyes, sitting still, and focusing on your breath for five minutes is a wonderful place to start.
- Exercise: Research has shown that exercise works as well as antidepressants for some people with depression. While high-intensity exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, low intensity energy over a sustained period of time causes the release of proteins called neurotrophic (or growth) factors. These proteins cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections, which improves brain function and makes you feel better. My favorite forms of exercise to give me a mental boost are hiking, yoga, and walking with my little family. 🙂
- Art therapy: The healing power of art is emerging as an evidence-based therapeutic modality for depression. One meta-review published in 2015 examined the impact of art therapy on depression, anxiety, trauma, distress, inability to cope, and low self-esteem. It concluded that patients receiving art therapy (using the process of creating artwork as a form of mental therapy) had significant improvements in 14 out of 15 randomized control trials. By immersing themselves in the art of creation, people with depression are often able to push back against the darkness inside their minds and find ways to express themselves when words fail. You don’t have to consider yourself an “artist” to explore this form of therapy — it’s all about the process of creation, not the final product. Many years ago, at the suggestion of a grief and trauma therapist, I painted this mandala to express my grief. I still remember what I tried to convey through it. The red colors symbolize the intense pain I felt, the faint yellow, my exhaustion from crying, and the orange colors are signs of confusion. The flower outlines my struggle to keep it together at the time. Yet, you can also see hope, transformation and healing on the horizon (as depicted through the little sun bursts).
- Yoga: Gentle forms of yoga, such as Yin Yoga and Hatha Yoga, have been shown to calm the nervous system and relax the mind. Many controlled studies have found benefits from yoga for depression and its symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and lack of energy. The combination of meditation and physical movement involved in yoga provide two important elements for relieving depression: meditation helps allow a person to clear their mind, while controlled, focused movements help strengthen the body-mind connection.
- Sauna therapy: Infrared saunas provide many benefits for Hashimoto’s, including stress relief and mood elevation. The sympathetic nervous system and HPA-axis try to respond to compensate when the body is stressed by the rising body temperature. When a person is in the infrared sauna, their norepinephrine levels rise, but the body’s stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol do not. Growth hormone, beta-endorphins and prolactin also increase. Beta-endorphins account for the reason a sauna session feels so pleasurable. The muscles also relax, allowing the body to release any tension and be free of stress. During this time, the body’s parasympathetic nervous system takes over, putting the body in a state of complete relaxation. In my 2015 survey of 2332 readers with Hashimoto’s, 74 percent of people reported that using a sauna boosted their overall mood.
- Neurofeedback: This is a form of biofeedback therapy that uses real-time displays of brain activity to help self-regulate brain function. Research has shown its effectiveness for a variety of brain-related conditions, including depression. I like the Neuroptimal system and recommend finding a local neurofeedback practitioner in your area who has one.
- EMDR Therapy: If your depression results from events that occurred in your past, utilizing therapy may be the path to healing. EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a method used by psychotherapists to help people eliminate the lasting effects of traumatic events. Francine Shapiro, PhD, who noticed that certain eye movements reduced the intensity of her disturbing thoughts and made her less anxious during a walk in nature, initially developed this method. She tested the method with trauma victims and published her findings in 1989, establishing it as an evidence-based level treatment for trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. In this form of therapy, the individual thinks about the painful memory, then follows a series of finger movements performed by the therapist, to help desensitize the negative feelings associated with the traumatic experience. I highly recommend working with a therapist who specializes in EMDR if you have encountered traumatic events in your past. I assure you, you can get past them.
Additionally, up to 80 percent of the people with Hashimoto’s that I surveyed reported that alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage therapy improved their mood.
Though this is not a comprehensive list of all of the therapies available to treat depression, they are easy places to start if you are looking for alternatives to prescription antidepressants. Speaking with a counselor or therapist is another important step toward mental health for many people. Sometimes, talking through the problem can be the best way to find the root cause — especially if past trauma is a factor.
I’ve seen a response rate of about 80 percent of my clients with depression who follow the above mentioned recommendations. If you are still struggling with depression, I encourage you to seek an integrative minded practitioners who is trained in functional medicine, using amino acids, orthomolecular medicine and the Organic Acid Test to help you find additional opportunities for healing, such as elevations in the Clostridia bacteria, that can lead to depression.
As always, I encourage you to take control of your own health and advocate for your needs. If your symptoms, including depression and other mood-related symptoms, are possibly related to your thyroid, be sure to advocate for comprehensive lab testing and the right medications. Additionally, I encourage you to look into the Root Cause Approach to healing Hashimoto’s and utilize the interventions listed above, as well as in my Hashimoto’s Protocol book, to begin improving your health today!
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