Thyroid Autoimmune Diseases and Anxiety

Thyroid Autoimmune Diseases and Anxiety

 

I noticed that anxiety seemed to be a recurring topic, being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. As well as, teaching others how to heal their body. Anxiety was for sure a struggle for me like my students.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that anxiety is a common symptom for those with a thyroid condition. A study in 2004 found that there is a connection between anxiety disorders and antibodies levels. Antibodies meaning you test positive for autoimmune disease.

Many people visit their doctor in hopes to receive help for their anxiety. They are dismissed as just having stress. As a result, most people are told to go to therapy or given anti-anxiety medication. The problem with this method is that there is not an examination of other reasons for anxiety.

My Journey 

Before my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s Disease, anxiety was my hardest struggle to overcome. I would have at least eight panic attacks a day. When these panic attacks would occur I would get so dizzy that the room would be spinning. I would be near passing out, heart-rate was out of control and I would shake like I was seizing. It would happen without any warning and in a split second, I can be laying on the floor praying for relief.

There were so many embarrassing moments where I was in public and just had to stop what I was doing to lay on the ground waiting for it to pass. It didn’t matter where I was, grocery store, work, parking lot, it didn’t matter.

This happened so often I became scared to drive, be alone, even leave my house, as I didn’t know when the next attack would come. I started to feel like I couldn’t deal with life. Everything was extremely overwhelming. I had so many symptoms and I didn’t know where any of it was coming from.

As my anxiety and many other symptoms worsened. My job had to let me go, as I was unable to perform my work duties. This is when my doctor thought therapy would help me with this issue. I agreed and went to therapy for a whole year. As I watched myself get worse and worse. Until one day my therapist said I don’t believe there is anything I can do for you.

Consequently, this took me back to square one with no hope of knowing the cause of all this. I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication (Xanax and Ativan). After taking it, I started to have suicidal thoughts.  I flushed them down the toilet!  As I sat in the house scared to do anything, I was 23 years old and it was a struggle to see all my friends out having fun, living their lives.

Since the doctors were not able to help me, I found a way to address my anxiety by finding the root cause of my disease.

The True Root Causes of Anxiety

Anxiety, like many other symptoms, is a sign that something is out of balance within our bodies or our lifestyle. Anxiety can be from blood sugar imbalances, autoimmune attacks, thyroid hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, toxin overload, food sensitivities, chronic infections, viruses, and other root causes.

Additionally, another cause of anxiety is our stress levels and the impact on our adrenal glands. If you had any traumatic experiences, it can cause long-term anxiety.

Reducing Anxiety 

Each root cause is based off a person’s individual body. Here are ways you can address some of the reasons why you may have anxiety. I highly suggest making each tip apart of your daily routine.

1. Balance Your Blood Sugar 

The first thing you should start with is your blood sugar. After balancing my blood sugar, I saw a big improvement in my anxiety.

Your blood sugar can increase very quickly, after consuming foods that have carbohydrates, if it is not balanced with a protein. This leads to a release of insulin and can cause low blood sugar, which can cause anxiety, lightheadedness, fatigue, irritability, and more.

You can balance your blood sugar by always having a protein and healthy fat with your meal.

People often ask about fasting and skipping meals. This is not something I recommend for someone that has blood sugar imbalances.

2. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

If you are currently drinking any soda, coffee, green tea, or black tea, I highly suggest removing or reducing your intake. Caffeine is a stimulant and can wreak havoc on your adrenal glands (stress glands). Caffeine can cause you to have heart palpitations, increased feelings of anxiety, and mood fluctuation.

Drinking hot lemon water or herbal tea, instead of caffeine, can help with reducing caffeine. As you may have caffeine withdrawal, I do recommend reducing it gradually.

2. Food Sensitivities 

Common food reactions can cause anxiety. Food sensitivities due to gluten, dairy, soy, processed corn, sugar, and caffeine can affect anxiety levels. There are still many foods that can cause your anxiety based on your specific body and sensitivities.

Taking a food sensitivity test or doing the elimination diet can tell you what foods may be causing your symptoms.

3. Take Probiotics 

Studies have proven that the gut is in charge of producing serotonin. Lacking serotonin can cause anxiety and many other mood disorders. Taking probiotics or eating fermented foods can be helpful in balancing your gut bacteria. Although taking probiotics is helpful. What is more important, is knowing the type of probiotic that is best for your body.

For example, streptococcus probiotic strains can increase obsessive-compulsive symptoms.  If your gut has an overgrowth of yeast or candida, lactobacillus is also another probiotic strain that can create more yeast causing harm to the body. Being aware of the best probiotic for you is so important. Otherwise, you may cause more harm to yourself.

4. Check Your Magnesium 

Magnesium is shown to help relieve anxiety. Some signs of magnesium deficiency include headaches, insomnia, constipation, anxiety, and menstrual cramps.

If you have a normal bowel movement, I always recommend the magnesium citrate. I also suggest getting your magnesium tested to know which dosage is good for you.

5. Manage Your Stress Response

An overburden of stress can cause a problem with your adrenal glands.

Some ways to manage your stress are:

  • Practice Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Doing things you love
  • Get a massage or go for a spa day
  • Avoid multitasking

Other Things to Consider

If you have trouble balancing your thyroid or autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease, you can check out my Thyroid Balancing Classes. These classes are designed to find the root cause of your disease and implement methods for your specific body to heal.

References 

1. Carta M, Loviselli A, Hardoy M et al. The link between thyroid  autoimmunity (antithyroid peroxidase autoantibodies) with anxiety and mood disorders in the community: A field of interest for public health in the future. BMC Psychiatry. 2004;4(1). doi:10.1186/1471-244x-4-25.

Kara Stavish

Kara is a teacher, coach, online course instructor and the founder of Concepts Of Life & Wellness. She received a bachelors degree in psychology from Penn State University and not long after was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Autoimmune Disease in 2015. As she struggled to feel better, she began an intense search to find healing. After immersing herself into the learning process, she removed her medication and healed her body. From this experience, she now dedicates her life to helping others learn how to feel better and live a healthier life. Her enthusiasm for healing has helped so many people and continues to do so.

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