Self-medication is one of the leading causes of developed addictions. Self-medication is the use of drugs or alcohol to soothe medical symptoms of mental or physical illness. While addiction and thyroid issues do not arise from one another in every situation, those with thyroid issues are more prone to developing an addiction because of self-medicating symptoms of their disorder.
What’s a Thyroid?
Everyone has a thyroid. It’s a gland located in your neck, under the Adam’s Apple. It’s a part of your body, when healthy, you don’t even know is there. But when it’s not healthy, it may swell to the point where you can feel it protruding from the neck. The thyroid, being a gland, is responsible for creating and distributing various hormones throughout the body. One such hormone, thyroxine (or T4), is responsible for functions of the body including managing weight, appetite, metabolism, body temperature, and growth. Usually, when individuals are affected by thyroid issues, the problem is levels of thyroxine.
Exploring Various Thyroid Issues
Hyperthyroidism: Individuals diagnosed with this thyroid issue experience an overproduction of hormones of the thyroid. Mostly, these individuals are affected by this disease because they are already being affected by another disease, Grave’s disease. This condition sends antibodies to wrongfully attack the thyroid gland, which in turn, results in the overproduction of hormones.
Hypothyroidism: This condition is one in which the thyroid does not or cannot produce enough of the hormones the body needs to regulate functions. Causes for this disorder include autoimmune diseases, iron deficiency, and damage to the thyroid gland.
Thyroiditis: Caused by either infection or autoimmune disease, this condition is otherwise characterized as swelling of the thyroid gland.
Goiters: Another form of swelling of the thyroid gland, these are either a sign of a bigger problem like iron deficiency or completely benign.
Who Can be Affected by Thyroid Issues
It’s a commonly mistaken belief that thyroid issues only affect women. Although more women are affected by thyroid issues than men, it’s still possible for men to be diagnosed with any thyroid condition. But, it’s no secret that more women are affected than men. According to the American Thyroid Association, one in every 8 American women is affected by thyroid issues. Also, while 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid issues, only 40% are aware. This means that detecting the disease and getting an accurate diagnosis is quite challenging. There really is no known singular cause for the development of thyroid issues, so the only way to know if you are truly at risk is to ask your doctor.
Addiction and Thyroid Issues
Because the symptoms of thyroid issues may mirror other medical issues, it can be challenging to diagnose, especially by the self. And, that’s what most people do. So, for example, if an individual is experiencing weight gain as a result of a thyroid issue they are unaware of, they may think it’s their own fault. This brings about feelings of shame and guilt, which may be self-medicated with drug use. Although drug use may calm or eliminate these emotional symptoms at first, over time, addiction takes place. Then, the individual is not only struggling with thyroid issues but addiction as well. Additionally, using addictive medications may interfere even greater with your thyroid issues, making matters a whole lot worse than they were in the beginning. Instead of self-medicating, if you think that you may be struggling with a thyroid disorder, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Although there is no cure for thyroid disorders, there are prescription medications which are effective in controlling symptoms of each disorder.
Need Treatment after Self-Medicating Thyroid Issues?
If you or a loved one has developed an addiction self-medicating with drugs or alcohol as a result of a developed thyroid issue, treatment is available to help. You may have to live with your thyroid condition, but you don’t have to live with addiction! Get your life back on track and learn what it feels like to live a life free from the harmful grasp of addiction! Call us today to learn more about how we can help at 888-616-7177.
Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification. Dr. Ranieri has lectured extensively to physicians, nurses, counselors and laypeople about the Disease of Addiction throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2012.