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Can thyroid function be associated with depression?

Yes, approximately 5-10 percent of people evaluated for depression have previously undetected thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid dysfunction is reflected by an elevated basal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level found in laboratory tests. Such abnormalities are often associated with elevated anti-thyroid antibody levels. Unless corrected with hormone replacement therapy, this problem can compromise a person’s response to antidepressant medication treatment.

In addition, approximately 20-30 percent of depressed patients show a blunted TSH response, indicating an increased risk for relapsing into depression despite preventative antidepressant therapy. This problem is more difficult to treat.

Can depression cause sleep disturbances?

Yes, clinically depressed individuals often have shortened cycles of deep sleep and are more easily awakened. Some younger depressed patients may have the opposite experience and sleep longer than normal. Patients with an abnormal sleep profile have been found to be less responsive to psychotherapy and may benefit more from antidepressant medication.

Can depression affect a person’s immune response?

Yes, depressive disorders are associated with several elements of immune dysfunction. This includes lower levels of lymphocytes, which are types of white blood cells responsible for the body’s ability to fight off infections. That’s why it’s so important to take care of one’s mental health, as well as one’s physical health.

Does substance abuse increase a person’s risk for depression?

Yes, people who excessively use drugs to alter their mental state (such as alcohol, narcotics, or cocaine) are more likely to experience depression.

Is social anxiety disorder associated with depression?

Yes, individuals who experience social anxiety disorder and/or panic attacks have an increased risk of depression.

Do men and women differ in their risks for depression?

Yes, women are two times more likely than men to experience depression overall. In addition, there are other different risk factors between men and women when it comes to depression. Men with substance abuse problems more frequently experience depression than women who abuse drugs. Meanwhile, women with anxiety or eating disorders more frequently become clinically depressed than men with these same issues.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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Welcome to the latest edition of “Discover Harmony,” the newsletter from Harmony United Psychiatric Care! In this edition, we bring you insights, updates, and valuable information to support your mental well-being journey.

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