Welcome to My Thyroid.co.za
Thyroid Health = Mental Health
For my children ... 

   Thyroid Statistics:

  • 30,000,000 people in the US and 200 million people worldwide have a Thyroid Disorder.
  • Of the 30 million people above about half are undiagnosed.
  • 37,000 new cases of Graves' Diseased are diagnosed each year in the US.
  • 80% of all cases of Graves' Disease are diagnosed in females.
  • 20% of Thyroid Storm cases end in death.
  • 80% of all Thyroid Disease cases are diagnosed as Hypothyroidism and 20% Hyperthyroidism.
  • Females are fives times more likely to develop a hypothyroid disease condition over males.
  • 20% of people with Diabetes will experience an onset of a thyroid disorder.
  • 50% of children with parents having a thyroid disorder may develop a thyroid disorder themselves by age 40.

My Journey with all things Thyroid:

My own journey to thyroid problems was less than lacklustre, a bout of feeling tired twenty years ago that lead to hyperthyroidism diagnosis within two few weeks. Faced with medication to control it, my thyroid gland self-destructed and left me hypothyroid with a single daily dose of thyroxin for the rest of my life. Simple, cheap and with some effort, also manageable providing I checked my levels regularly.

A devout non-exerciser, I made the mind-shift and try to run several times a week, trail-run regularly, even mountain-bike. There are bad days too when I cannot do any of these things, am tired, and need lots of rest. In a way I guess the illness and I have learnt to accept and even tolerate each other.

With choice come self-empowerment, now much older (Yet probably not much wiser), I watch my diet, have conquered more of my fears and, in relative old age, picked up a musical instrument for the first time. My own health may not be perfect; it is a work in progress for which I take responsibility. Letting my guard down, I thought the thyroid was under control. 

Sadly the mighty thyroid had saved the best for last. A close family member went un-diagnosed with Graves’ Disease (Hyperthyroidism) for a few years and by the time diagnosis was made, the psychological damage to the patient had been done. I soon discovered that the medical doctors and surgeons treating the patient focused only on getting the thyroid levels to stabilise. 

There was never any attention paid to the damaging psychological impact of the illness; counselling was never recommended. It was only when I approached psychologists, psychiatrists and Professors of Psychology at several universities that the neuropsychological effects of the thyroid gland came to the fore.

Efforts to stabilise the patient’s thyroid failed repeatedly over a prolonged period with eventual repeat bouts of radioactive treatment forcing the patient to go without medication for extended periods. Doctor-patient confidentiality meant that family members could not intervene. 

By the time the thyroid was stabilised, Graves’ disease had carved a path of destruction with huge personal, emotional and unforgivable moral costs. Clearly doctors were failing to counsel thyroid disease patients and family on all aspects of the illness apart from the obvious thyroid levels.

Acknowledging that "into every life a little rain must fall," I paused to count the footprints in the sand then forged my own journey in dealing with the trauma. Counselling, expert help and countless helping hands made this possible for me. While getting up every day is difficult, it is a choice I make, knowing that there are many hands waiting to help me.

Part of my journey has been collecting information dealing specifically for the psychological impact of the Thyroid Gland. I share this with you here, hoping that it may help you too, and “Stop the Thyroid Madness.”

Names have been withheld as the intention is to help a community of sufferers. I too may be flawed as a person and deal with a thyroid problem daily but perhaps that is what makes me human. If anything on this site helps just one person, then this journey is not made in vain. Drop me a mail, let me know.

              Psychological Illness

  • The psychiatric disturbances which accompany hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, the two commonest thyroid disorders, mimic mental illness
  • People with an overactive thyroid may exhibit marked anxiety and tension, emotional lability, impatience and irritability, distractible overactivity, exaggerated sensitivity to noise, and fluctuating depression with sadness and problems with sleep and the appetite. 
  • In extreme cases, they may appear schizophrenic, losing touch with reality and becoming delirious or hallucinating. 
  • An underactive thyroid can lead to progressive loss of interest and initiative, slowing of mental processes, poor memory for recent events, fading of the personality's colour and vivacity, general intellectual deterioration, depression with a paranoid flavour, and eventually, if not checked, to dementia and permanent harmful effects on the brain
  • In instances of each condition, some persons have been wrongly diagnosed, hospitalized for months, and treated unsuccessfully for psychosis.