Nav: Home

New hope for patients with depression and anxiety

May 15, 2018

There is a strong link between depression and anxiety disorders and autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT), a chronic thyroid condition affecting approximately 10 percent of the population. Scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now proven that special treatment could help many sufferers, especially women.

Depression and anxiety are among the most common psychiatric disorders across the globe. In 2016 more than 260,000 patients were admitted to hospital for treatment in Germany alone, according to statistics from the Federal Statistics Office.

Together with Prof. Dr. Johannes Kornhuber, Chair of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at FAU, and scientists from the Psychiatric Clinic at the University of Bonn, Dr. Teja Wolfgang Grömer, medical practitioner in Bamberg and lecturer at the Chair of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, has now proven a strong link between depression and anxiety disorders and autoimmune thyroiditis. 'Over the years, I must have been consulted by several hundred people suffering from depression and anxiety,' reports the psychiatrist and former Max-Planck researcher. 'At the end of 2015 I noticed a marked connection between AIT and the other two conditions, especially in patients suffering from both. After realising that more than one in two people diagnosed with anxiety and depression - and only in these cases, not other conditions - also tested positive for antibodies I decided to investigate the issue in more detail.' With the help of the co-authors and a student of psychology at the University of Bamberg, Eva-Maria Siegmann, Dr. Grömer drew up a systematic overview of the current state of research and calculated the strength of the connection on the basis of statistics. For his metastudy, Dr. Grömer combined 21 independent studies based on a total of 36,174 participants. 35,168 of the participants suffered from depression and 34,094 from anxiety.

Initial diagnosis of autoimmune thyroiditis

Dr Grömer stresses that 'most patients felt a sense of relief after receiving the diagnosis, as very often they had been left with no explanation for their symptoms.' Autoimmune thyroiditis leads to a lasting inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hormones from the thyroid influence the metabolism and cellular energy balance as well as perceived energy levels and the psyche. AIT leads to specific mental symptoms, including inner unrest, tension and exhaustion. People tend to fall ill between the ages of 30 and 50, with women being affected considerably more often than men. As the disease often first becomes apparent around the same time as the menopause and tends not to cause any pain, it is easy to miss the inflammation of the thyroid gland, or misdiagnose it as 'menopausal symptoms' or depression or anxiety alone.

Widespread

The fact is that calculations have shown that patients with AIT are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from depression, or 2.3 times more likely to suffer from anxiety. This doesn't sound like much at first, but as all three disorders are very common it means that patients with AIT account for more than 40 percent of all cases of depression and 30 percent of all cases of anxiety. Dr. Grömer gives a detailed description of the disease in his article.

The article gives a description based on thorough research of the relevant literature showing how if doctors recognise the links between the disorders they can prescribe a special treatment and use antidepressants that do not affect patients' weight and the trace element selenium from an early stage. Ensuring that patients are well informed is crucial. Dr. Grömer therefore recommends screening all patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety for AIT, determining which antibodies they have. In addition, in future psychiatric research on depression or anxiety, AIT sufferers should be recognised as a separate group in order to cast more light on the connections.
-end-


University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Related Depression Articles:

Tackling depression by changing the way you think
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
How depression can muddle thinking
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Neuroimaging categorizes 4 depression subtypes
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies suggest inflammatory cytokines are associated with depression and psychosis, and that anti-cytokine treatment can reduce depression symptoms
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren's depression?
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E dissipates
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
Diagnosing depression before it starts
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Men actually recommend getting help for depression
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.

Related Depression Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...