Depression is a serious mental health issue affecting over 17.3 million U.S. adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. While depression has many causes, one under-discussed one is the thyroid. Why does the thyroid have an impact on mental health? The answer is hormones.

Hormones are substances secreted by the endocrine glands, the thyroid being one of them. These hormones can have a major impact on overall bodily processes. For example, levels of certain hormones produced by the thyroid gland can factor into depression.

While depression is its own separate issue, depression can sometimes be a symptom of hypothyroidism. This is where the thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones. Fatigue, sluggishness, slow heart rate, cold sensitivity, and joint pain are also signs to watch out for.

If you or someone you know is battling depressive symptoms, be sure to ask about the potential for hypothyroidism.

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