Common Thyroid Disorder Linked to Depression, Anxiety Risk

Individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) have an increased risk for depression and anxiety, according to new findings.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion following a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 studies comprising 21 independent samples (N = 36,174).

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Two univariate random-effects meta-analyses were conducted, and Bonferroni-corrected meta-regression analysis was used to test moderators.

The I2 statistic was used to assess heterogeneity, and sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the robustness of the results. Funnel plots and the Egger test were used to evaluate small study effects.

Results of the analysis revealed that patients with AIT, Hashimoto thyroiditis, or subclinical or overt hypothyroidism had significantly higher scores on standardized depression instruments (odds ratio [OR] 3.56).

Furthermore, patients with AIT, Hashimoto thyroiditis, or subclinical or overt hypothyroidism had an OR of 2.32 for anxiety disorders.

The researchers noted that funnel plot asymmetry was detected for depression studies. Study quality assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for case-control studies (mean score: 5.77 for anxiety and 5.65 for depression) and proportion of females were not found to modulate the meta-analytic estimate. However, mean age was found to modulate this estimate.

“Patients with AIT exhibit an increased chance of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety or of receiving a diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorders,” the researchers concluded. “This finding has important implications for patients and could lead to the choice of early treatment—and not only psychotherapeutic treatment—of the organic disorder.”

—Christina Vogt


Seigmann EM, Müller HHO, Luecke C, et al. Association of depression and anxiety disorders with autoimmune thyroiditis: a systematic review and meta-analysis [Published online May 2, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0190


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