Mental Health Conditions and Hyperthyroidism

Pediatrics. 2019 Nov;144(5):e20182874. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2874. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


Objectives: To evaluate the proportion of pediatric patients with concurrent diagnoses of hyperthyroidism and mental health conditions (MHCs) by using the Military Health System database. We hypothesized that the prevalence of mental health disorders would be higher in patients with hyperthyroidism compared with in the nonhyperthyroid population.

Methods: The prevalence of hyperthyroidism and MHCs was calculated by using data extracted from the Military Health System Data Repository on military beneficiaries between 10 and 18 years old who were eligible to receive care for at least 1 month during fiscal years 2008 through 2016. Prevalence ratios were used to compare MHC diagnoses in those with versus without a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

Results: There were 1894 female patients and 585 male patients diagnosed with hyperthyroidism during the study period. Prevalence ratios for MHCs in those with versus without hyperthyroidism ranged from 1.7 (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]) to 4.9 (bipolar disorder). Strikingly, suicidality was nearly 5 times more likely in patients diagnosed with hyperthyroidism than in patients who were never diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. For each of the MHCs examined, with the exception of suicidality, the MHC diagnosis was more commonly made before the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, with the highest proportion of patients being diagnosed with ADHD before receiving a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism (68.3%).

Conclusions: There is a clear association between hyperthyroidism and each of the following MHCs: ADHD, adjustment disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidality. This study highlights the need to consider this association when evaluating patients with overlapping symptoms and for effective mental health screening tools and resources for clinicians.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications
  • Child
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / diagnosis
  • Hyperthyroidism / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Prevalence
  • Suicidal Ideation