Depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, and disability in patients with overt and subclinical thyroid dysfunction

Arch Med Res. 2006 Jan;37(1):133-9. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2005.05.008.


Background: Thyroid dysfunction may impair the quality of life (QoL) and may cause psychological symptoms. The aim of this study is to investigate prospectively the effects of thyroid dysfunction on quality of life, levels of depression/anxiety and the changes in these variables after treatment.

Methods: A total of 160 subjects, consisting of an overt hypothyroidism group (n = 33), a subclinical hypothyroidism group (n = 43), an overt hyperthyroidism group (n = 51), a subclinical hyperthyroidism group (n = 13), and a healthy control group (n = 20) were included in the study. All groups were evaluated with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), Short Form-36 (SF-36), and Brief Disability Questionnaire (BDQ). Health-related quality of life (HRQL) was measured by SF-36.

Results: Anxiety and depressive symptoms were more severe in patients with overt hypo- and hyperthyroidism (p <0.001). The QoL was worse in overt or subclinical hyper- and hypothyroidism groups than in the control group [p = 0.013 for physical composite score (PCS); p = 0.002 for mental composite score (MCS)]. Psychological symptoms and QoL were improved in overt and subclinical hypothyroidism and overt hyperthyroidism groups as a result of the treatment. The overt hyper- and hypothyroidism groups showed more improvement than the subclinical groups.

Conclusions: This study suggests that restoration of euthyroidism is accompanied by improvement on QoL and psychological symptoms in all groups except the subclinical hyperthyroidism group. Controlled, randomized studies in larger groups are, however, necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / complications
  • Hyperthyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hyperthyroidism / psychology*
  • Hypothyroidism / complications
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hypothyroidism / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*