Fundamentally, a thyroid or parathyroid problem on a patient who has wide mood swings generally reflects the condition of hyperthyroidism. This condition involves an overactive thyroid gland which produces excess thyroid hormones, specifically triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4), which control body metabolism. As such, hyperthyroidism leads to increased heart rate and perspiration, heat/cold intolerance and weight loss, palpitations and arrhythmias as well as hair loss, nausea and motor restlessness, among many others (Geracioti, 2006). The author also identifies mixed mood disorders, mood swings and anxiety, depression and a hypomanic-like picture, cognitive deterioration, impaired concentration, irritability as well as potential psychosis or delirium as some of hyperthyroidism’s psychiatric presentations. These symptoms, among others, highlight some of the psychological impacts that hyperthyroidism has on patients. Further, Geracioti (2006) indicates that hyperthyroid patients suffer from social phobias, generalized anxiety disorders, emotional lability, anxiety syndromes and nervousness depicted as feelings of apprehension and inability to concentrate, among others.

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Bunevičius and Prange Jr. (2010) indicates that the anxiety, mania and tension signifying hyperthyroidism and their similarity to primary mental disorder symptoms can be explained by the over activity of the adrenergic system whose exhaustion (long term persistence) can lead to depression. This is affirmed by Hage and Azar (2012) who indicate that elderly hyperthyroid patients suffer symptoms similar to depressive disorders with apathy, lethargy and pseudodementia, alongside others such as dysphoria, impaired concentration and anxiety. Further, the recent study done by Joo, Jeong, and Hong (2014) found an association between subclinical hyperthyroidism and psychiatric symptoms like impulsivity and irritability as well as suicidal behavior, among others like anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms.

Suicidal behavior is especially a serious psychological effect of hyperthyroidism considering that the patient seeks to harm him/herself in spite of the accompanying adverse consequences on the self. Hair-trigger verbal explosiveness, feelings of fear of impending doom and heightened irritability as well as their manifestations as antisocial behavior as explained of Ms. A and Ms. B’s symptoms by Geracioti (2006) highlight’s the psychological impact of hyperthyroidism.

  • Bunevičius, R. & Prange Jr. A.J. (2010). Thyroid disease and mental disorders: Cause and effect
    or only comorbidity? Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 23(4): 363-368.
  • Geracioti Jr., T.D. (2006). Identifying hyperthyroidism’s psychiatric presentations. Current Psychiatry, 5(12): 84–92.
  • Hage, M.P. & Azar, S.T. (2012). The link between thyroid function and depression. Journal of Thyroid Research, 2012(590648), 1-8. doi:10.1155/2012/590648
  • Joo, S., Jeong, J., & Hong, S. (2014). A case report of suicidal behavior related to subclinical hyperthyroidism. Neuropsychiatry Disease and Treatment, 10: 641–643. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S60881