View Full Version : Thyroid disease and ADD misdiagnosis


marc54
06-26-15, 01:21 AM
Hi guys,

As a 34-year-old diagnosed with ADD PI recently I have been taking Dexamphetamine for a few months, and whilst it helped with my low energy have not felt any real mental clarity return. I am exhausted when it wears off and still am so muddled cognitively that it causes me anxiety in public due to me having to focus so much on what's being said to me so that I may relatedly respond. So I've started doubting my diagnosis or at least investigating other avenues.

The main cause for my doubt is the inattentiveness was definitely not always present, and I can almost pick the day(19y/o) that I started to feel this fog and confusion. At the time, I thought it was just a passing cold or flu. I was never overly hyperactive as a child.

Now of course in 15 years suffice it to say I've run the gamut of possible investigations and am still searching.

I recently stumbled upon a thread about thyroid disease and how commonly thyroid disorders are misdiagnosed. Fatigue, brain fog, confusion, memory loss, hair loss, weight gain, lump in the throat, increased appetite are just some of the symptoms I can identify with and I'm sure many of you can also.

Now whether or not you are sensitive to heat or cold, lose weight or can`t seem to stop gaining it depends on your thyroids ability to regulate hormones.
I won't go into too much detail but to sum it up having an overactive thyroid increases your heart rate, metabolism, sensitivity to heat etc. It basically is your body overclocked verses hypothyroidism which is the opposite, causing sensitivity to cold temps, slow metabolism.. you get the picture. Both of these conditions can lead to mental fatigue and confusion for different reasons; 'hyper' because your mind burns out as its racing and can`t slow down, and hypo because your brain is running on too low a dose of hormone to function properly.

Now to my layman scattered mind these symptoms sound mighty familiar, and when you combine that with most GP`s inability to read or request a proper blood panel its no surprise that: "More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition."

Its extremely common and whats more is that its even more commonly misdiagnosed. A number of times I've had to argue with a doctor telling me 'you have depression'. Yes, I have depression, I have depression because I've felt like **** for x amount of years and you have not been able to provide me with anything other than happy pills. Depression is a symptom, not a cause.

One interesting test you can do to help determine your thyroid function is take your temperature. Your bodies basal temperature is a great indicator of your metabolism and consequently your thyroid function. A lower than average temperature charted across the day -take your temp 4-5 times a day and work out an average- will indicate a slower metabolism and is a great indication that your thyroid is underperforming. The inverse of course means that your thyroid is over-functioning and causing an increased body temperature and metabolism, hence the sensitivity to cold and hot. Thermometers are mostly digital now and certain types -ear insert for example- have terrible accuracy so make sure you use an accurate device. The basic digital oral and rectal thermometers are generally more accurate.

Ok so before this post resembles a famous Ming dynasty landmark I will also add that you can have symptoms from both sides of the 'hyper' and 'hypo' dysfunction which is usually a result of your bodies immune system interfering with the thyroid causing it to fluctuate between the two states.

There is obviously a lot more to this and I am far from an expert, but I thought I'd cover the basics to give people that are frustrated with their lack of success on ADD meds a possible direction and maybe glimmer of hope. I know what it's like to have none of those left.

refs
Top 5 Reasons Docs fail to Diagnose Hypothyroidism (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhypothyroidmom.com%2Ftop-5-reasons-doctors-fail-to-diagnose-hypothyroidism%2F)
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=47280&page=1)
300+ Hypothyroid Symptoms: Yes, really! (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhypothyroidmom.com%2F300-hypothyroidism-symptoms-yes-really%2F)
Take Your Temperature! (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.stopthethyroidmadness.com%2Ft emperature%2F)

sarahsweets
06-26-15, 05:03 AM
Its extremely common and whats more is that its even more commonly misdiagnosed. A number of times I've had to argue with a doctor telling me 'you have depression'. Yes, I have depression, I have depression because I've felt like **** for x amount of years and you have not been able to provide me with anything other than happy pills. Depression is a symptom, not a cause.


I disagree. Depression can most certainly be a cause.

acdc01
06-26-15, 09:15 AM
Thanks. It's really amazing how GPs can miss something as easily detected as thyroid imbalances. Mine was imbalanced once too and boy it wiped me out - much worse than my ADHD ever does actually.

Fuzzy12
06-26-15, 09:57 AM
I think, here, when you present with symptoms of depression, the first thing your GP does is to test your thyroid function. At least mine did.

I remember I was almost hoping that I had a thyroid problem though I knew that they aren't that easy to treat always but I thought at least they are treatable and at least then I'd know what is causing my symptoms (this was well before I was diagnosed with ADHD). Anyway, turns out that my thyroid is one of the few things that actually does work properly.

Unmanagable
06-26-15, 12:02 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience and the wisdom you gained from it. I also suffered years of aggressively being diagnosed as severely depressed, only, without consideration of all the other things I shared that had been happening in my life.

It's frustrating and even more disabling, in my opinion, when we have to continue to wade through the incompetence of the professionals, and then to top it off, be made to feel like we're full of s*** when we share our story.

mbrandon
06-26-15, 04:34 PM
Oh great now I think I've had hypothyroidism my whole life... Why can't a normal adder crave salt, have poor quality sleep, poor concentration, and tinnitus among other things without needing to consider ANOTHER medical condition as the source. Now I gotta request a blood panel when I see my doc again.

Fuzzy12
06-26-15, 04:42 PM
Oh great now I think I've had hypothyroidism my whole life... Why can't a normal adder crave salt, have poor quality sleep, poor concentration, and tinnitus among other things without needing to consider ANOTHER medical condition as the source. Now I gotta request a blood panel when I see my doc again.

If it's any consolation ... you might have both :);)

marc54
06-26-15, 05:15 PM
I think, here, when you present with symptoms of depression, the first thing your GP does is to test your thyroid function. At least mine did.

I remember I was almost hoping that I had a thyroid problem though I knew that they aren't that easy to treat always but I thought at least they are treatable and at least then I'd know what is causing my symptoms (this was well before I was diagnosed with ADHD). Anyway, turns out that my thyroid is one of the few things that actually does work properly.

Yea, they test for that early here as well. Ive probably had 8 GP`s in the 15 years ive been unwell, some of them would talk on their mobile phones to real estate agents during consultations, some would sit and want to socialize with me while id try and bring up what im sure they thought were psychosomatic symptoms.

Oh great now I think I've had hypothyroidism my whole life... Why can't a normal adder crave salt, have poor quality sleep, poor concentration, and tinnitus among other things without needing to consider ANOTHER medical condition as the source. Now I gotta request a blood panel when I see my doc again.

Hey if youre not feeling well still, its definitely worth investigation.

Thanks for sharing your experience and the wisdom you gained from it. I also suffered years of aggressively being diagnosed as severely depressed, only, without consideration of all the other things I shared that had been happening in my life.

It's frustrating and even more disabling, in my opinion, when we have to continue to wade through the incompetence of the professionals, and then to top it off, be made to feel like we're full of s*** when we share our story.

One thing ive learned in life is that as you grow older the infallible life guides you thought were beyond reproach; teachers, doctors, parents, are just as human as we are and just as capable of mistakes. But yes, sometimes I really do feel like a hypochondriac nuisance in their dens of apathy. For about 5 years I just withdrew, I ditched my friends and did become quite depressed. I knew that nobody wants to hear how tired I was all the time, but I felt I had to provide reasons to why I was so unenthused toward life in general.

Thanks. It's really amazing how GPs can miss something as easily detected as thyroid imbalances. Mine was imbalanced once too and boy it wiped me out - much worse than my ADHD ever does actually.

Well its not been determined yet, I have just been researching this for a few days when it occurred to me that many inattentives and hyperactives would suit this diagnostic profile. It became a topic of interest because a friend alerted me to how often its missed in blood tests. But yes, the fatigue and confusions/memory loss/delayed thought process combined with tens of other symptoms I have had for over a decade are extremely debilitating. So hopefully its a likely candidate for me and others in the same drifting boat.

I disagree. Depression can most certainly be a cause.

Then what causes depression? Chicken or egg really, but you cant be depressed without any cause. Even if its subconscious there is always a cause or wed see depressed 2 year olds as we see depressed 20 year olds. To me its a mental manifestation of your bodies negative encounters.

marc54
06-26-15, 05:27 PM
If it's any consolation ... you might have both :);)

Hypothyroidism would be much easier to cope with as an ADDPIer, as atleast the meds combat to some degree the fatigue and can get your functioning physically. Hyper would mean medication would exacerbate your already 'manic' body... or would it calm it considering how a ADDHer responds to stimulants? Interesting, would be great to see how far that paradox runs.

Im really surprised I havent seen more discussion about thyroid and ADD considering how they identically present. I suppose most people think the blood test methods are absolute even if leaders in the field stress otherwise. Once again I suppose this falls on whoever is reading your results and their vigilance staying informed. Its scary how much of an impact GP`s can make on ones life. Tough gig.

marc54
06-26-15, 06:04 PM
I disagree. Depression can most certainly be a cause.

Depression is a symptom of struggle. It has its own symptoms that in turn can have their own symptoms. But its never going to subside unless you ease the struggle.

Depression is a knot in a piece of string; you can pull it tight and it becomes less apparent but still exists. It will only ever be undone when you give up trying to force it and let go, step back through its development until you find its beginnings. Its a reaction to twisted circumstances that are out of its control, a knot cant tie itself.

Little Missy
06-26-15, 06:30 PM
But...according to that cartoon commercial it is a chemical imbalance and there are all these little coloured dots that go back and forth...

marc54
06-26-15, 06:41 PM
But...according to that cartoon commercial it is a chemical imbalance and there are all these little coloured dots that go back and forth...

Lol, I really wish I knew this commercial. I dont think we get such treats on Australian TV. Tom cruise must hate that commercial.

Fortune
06-26-15, 06:48 PM
I have hypothyroid issues, although they only started up in the last couple of years. I definitely did not have hypothyroid in 2012, but I did in 2014.

marc54
06-26-15, 06:51 PM
I have hypothyroid issues, although they only started up in the last couple of years. I definitely did not have hypothyroid in 2012, but I did in 2014.


Yea it becomes more common with age apparently. Its also triggered by certain things, the cyanide in cigarettes, too much iodine, too little iodine etc.

Was it a sudden onset of symptoms for you that didnt let up? Or more gradual? I can remember the day I woke up feeling like this.

Fortune
06-26-15, 07:19 PM
I don't remember a specific day but I remember the timeframe in which stuff started.

sarahsweets
06-27-15, 09:24 AM
Depression is a symptom of struggle. It has its own symptoms that in turn can have their own symptoms. But its never going to subside unless you ease the struggle.

Depression is a knot in a piece of string; you can pull it tight and it becomes less apparent but still exists. It will only ever be undone when you give up trying to force it and let go, step back through its development until you find its beginnings. Its a reaction to twisted circumstances that are out of its control, a knot cant tie itself.
I guess I meant that clinical depression can be the cause. You can be clinically depressed and not necessarily have a cause other than a diagnosis of clinical depression. I guess the cause would be chemical imbalance?

marc54
06-27-15, 06:28 PM
I guess I meant that clinical depression can be the cause. You can be clinically depressed and not necessarily have a cause other than a diagnosis of clinical depression. I guess the cause would be chemical imbalance?

Yea, which would stem from poor diet/lack of vitamins, abnormal brain or gland growth/inflammation etc. It severely compounds the initial cause and I'd call it a progression in severity of symptoms e.g vitamin deficiency can leave you feeling tired which leads to depression that can keep you in bed for days. This is obviously just all my opinion, hope I`m not coming across soap boxy I just unfortunately feel I've waged so many internal wars against this ******* that I know my enemy quite well, and the worst thing I ever told myself was 'I have a chemical imbalance end of story'.

Bottom line is if its not caused by external factors that are out of your control (cancer, break-ups etc), people should never stop looking for the reason they are depressed. I've wasted 10 years of my life numbed and sedated, the benefit of which was apparently that it robbed me of any desire to investigate and realise my real issues. In turn I felt neither sadness or love, I lacked the real world experience and honesty to grow my life's passions as well as becoming detached in relationships. If I could speak to my depressed self 10 years ago, and perhaps I am. I would plead "If you're just functioning and not flourishing, keep looking." A wasted life is more painful than anything anyone could ever possibly have to face.

Take care <3.

Donny997
06-27-15, 10:16 PM
and the worst thing I ever told myself was 'I have a chemical imbalance end of story'.


It's not just that "depression = chemical imbalance end of story," but more "****ty life experiences lead to psychological changes/ suppression/ maldevelopment which eventually end up in neurochemical deficiencies."

Drugs fix the latter, therapy fixes the former. So getting to the very bottom or origin of anyone's depression is usually a psychological thing, IMO. Unless of course you actually have a physical health problem, but a blood test could quickly rule that out.

sarahsweets
06-28-15, 04:09 AM
Yea, which would stem from poor diet/lack of vitamins, abnormal brain or gland growth/inflammation etc. It severely compounds the initial cause and I'd call it a progression in severity of symptoms e.g vitamin deficiency can leave you feeling tired which leads to depression that can keep you in bed for days. This is obviously just all my opinion, hope I`m not coming across soap boxy I just unfortunately feel I've waged so many internal wars against this ******* that I know my enemy quite well, and the worst thing I ever told myself was 'I have a chemical imbalance end of story'.

Bottom line is if its not caused by external factors that are out of your control (cancer, break-ups etc), people should never stop looking for the reason they are depressed. I've wasted 10 years of my life numbed and sedated, the benefit of which was apparently that it robbed me of any desire to investigate and realise my real issues. In turn I felt neither sadness or love, I lacked the real world experience and honesty to grow my life's passions as well as becoming detached in relationships. If I could speak to my depressed self 10 years ago, and perhaps I am. I would plead "If you're just functioning and not flourishing, keep looking." A wasted life is more painful than anything anyone could ever possibly have to face.

Take care <3.
Are you saying that depression always has a physical origin? Or are you saying that depression is always situational based on circumstance?

marc54
06-28-15, 08:55 PM
Are you saying that depression always has a physical origin? Or are you saying that depression is always situational based on circumstance?

Im saying it always has an origin, its exclusively synonymous. But yea that origin varies from the mental to the physical circumstantially. So many GP`s -as I did- treat depression as a lone culprit, so in effect they just cure symptoms not the cause of the symptoms. Its so common in western medicine, weve all heard 'the side effects are worse than the disease' because treating symptoms is effectively whack-a-mole. You treat anxiety with sedatives, that leads to inability to think, you treat fatigue with a stimulant that leads to insomnia or adrenal fatigue etc. Meanwhile the real source of abusive parent, internet addiction, big nose, lost love, whatever it is persists and is compounded with new symptoms. I know its obvious and just common sense but in 15 years not one of my doctors has ever asked, "do you know whats causing it?, lets try and figure it out".

Not saying people dont need these treatments either or that they cant help. Im just trying to express the urgency of further investigation and the dangers of apathy. Becoming complacent on these drugs has led to a tragic waste of my life. Sorry if its convoluted it makes sense in my head.

Fortune
06-28-15, 11:59 PM
My current therapist tries to figure out the causes of my depression and such but her approach is hamhanded and downright wrong. She concludes causes based on limited information and once she decides something is a cause she stops listening to me.

marc54
06-29-15, 12:34 AM
My current therapist tries to figure out the causes of my depression and such but her approach is hamhanded and downright wrong. She concludes causes based on limited information and once she decides something is a cause she stops listening to me.


Yea, isnt that so typical. I think we forget that they also might do this based on the fact that they really dont have a clue sometimes but feel they need to give you some kind of answer. Im sure there are the staple diagnosis` to keep in case of need. I personally havent found therapists of any use at all, but I am convinced my issues are physiological. My last physch pretty much asked me to diagnose myself. My sister is a psychologist and I regularly debate the futility of that profession. Each to their own.

Fortune
06-29-15, 12:43 AM
The thing is I told her that my depression in this case did not have an emotional cause, that there was something else, and she insisted it was what she thought it was (being on the internet too much in her opinion). It turns out that my hypothyroid became even more hypo and I need my meds adjusted.

marc54
06-29-15, 04:15 AM
The thing is I told her that my depression in this case did not have an emotional cause, that there was something else, and she insisted it was what she thought it was (being on the internet too much in her opinion). It turns out that my hypothyroid became even more hypo and I need my meds adjusted.


Im requesting my thyroid panel tomorrow. In those cases you almost want to take your thyroid test results to your therapist.

LethalFocus
07-02-15, 02:37 PM
I guess doctors are not careful enough if anyone has to read on the internet about thyroid disease can't they just take T3 T4 and all the other variables, test the hormone levels without myself bringing it up. the blood level is just not enough..
you also don't know if the internet sites are trustable anyone can write there..

Attention Deficit can be related to the nervous system too but you can't buy thousands of supplements and exotic vegetables there must be a definitve action strategy without emptying the bank account it just sucks

acdc01
07-06-15, 04:15 AM
If blood tests are so often inaccurate, how can doctors detect the thyroid problem when the blood tests suggest something different? Just curious.

Lunacie
07-06-15, 10:41 AM
There are several things that can look like ADHD.

You can't rule out ADHD just because one medication doesn't work.

There are variations on that med, and there are other meds.

Many of us have had to try several different meds and different doses
before finding what works best.

Finding some of my old school report cards helped me confirm the dx of ADHD.
I wasn't particularly hyperactive either, unless you were looking for things like
bouncing my foot, fidgeting, rocking, and especially being unable to wait.

marc54
07-09-15, 03:09 AM
If blood tests are so often inaccurate, how can doctors detect the thyroid problem when the blood tests suggest something different? Just curious.

Well to update my current situation, Ive just returned from my Pdoc and after telling him I had thyroid tests done since our last appointment he tells me that my thyroid was low on the blood tests I had prior to starting dex. My TSH lvls were the bare minimum of 2.......... He didnt tell me this, this means If it were .01 lower (tested 2-3hrs later in the day) he would have diagnosed a thyroid problem. In fact he said that he has no problem prescribing thyroxin now after I bought it up, this really unsettles me as I have lost alot of confidence in him.

Now to my scattered mind I would have thought overactive thyorid (tsh <2) would be the most common cause of ADD symptoms. The irritating thing is because my head takes so long to sort information I didnt even ask him why im not on thyroid meds first before trying dex. He also said that taking dex pretty much does the same thing as taking thyroxin. Im pretty certain if my TSH is 2.0 the last thing I need is more thyroid hormone as a low TSH indicates an abundance of thyroid hormone.

I really wish we had an endocronologist handy on these forums. I dont know who to put my faith in lately, doctors seem so lackadaisical. If only they had to live like us for even a week.

acdc01
07-09-15, 03:33 AM
In fact he said that he has no problem prescribing thyroxin now after I bought it up, this really unsettles me as I have lost alot of confidence in him.

Can you speak directly with a specialist instead of going through your GP?

GPs get a lot of things wrong and you're better off with a second opinion anyway.

What did he say about that lump in your throat? If you have one, that is abnormal and should not be ignored. I had a goiter myself and like you, my thyroid hormone was borderline. They tested the goiter for cancer cause any lump can be cancerous. It wasn't. They then gave me thyroid medication to get rid of the lump and it did go away.