Twinkling lights, Christmas carols, delicious food, gift giving and time with family and friends – what’s not to love about the Christmas season? And yet many Americans approach the holidays with dread. Instead of looking forward to this joyous season, they anticipate increasing symptoms of depression. You may be surprised to learn that hypothyroidism and depression may not be separate illnesses, but rather depression may be a symptom of hypothyroidism.
Depression affects more than 15 million Americans. Oftentimes, you can’t pin point the reason for your depression. You’re just sad. The motivation to be excited, to smile, even to feel, just aren’t there and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t shake the blues.
Conventional medicine has little to offer beyond masking the symptoms with antidepressants. However, the root of depression does not lie in antidepressants. Depression does not exist because you have a low level of Zoloft in your bloodstream. Treating depression lies in treating the underlying cause of depression.
Hypothyroidism can have a huge impact on the central nervous system. Thyroid hormone governs our body’s cellular metabolism and energy production. Without adequate levels of thyroid hormone and its proper utilization, symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, brain fog and poor concentration become increasingly prevalent. With the addition of desiccated thyroid medication that contains both the inactive thyroid hormone, T4, and the active thyroid hormone, T3, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be eliminated.
During the winter months, not only do we get less vitamin D, but the symptoms of hypothyroidism may be exacerbated as we require additional energy to heat our bodies. This is often termed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by mainstream medicine. Hypothyroid individuals often complain of cold extremities and cold sensitivity for the same reason. They literally don’t have enough energy to heat their body. Stress also affects individuals with hypothyroidism and limits their ability to bounce back from additional stress or illness. With the demands of the holiday season and the change in temperature, this is especially taxing for those with low thyroid. Oftentimes, individuals with hypothyroidism persevere through the holidays just for the sake of their loved ones.
What if this time next year, you could actually look forward to Christmas with anticipation and excitement? There is hope. If you struggle with depression, it may be hard to imagine having a truly joyful holiday season. Before you resign yourself to living life numb, consider addressing the root of your depression and find out if you suffer from hypothyroidism. Make next year’s holiday season a joyous one!