My wife and I once attended the symphony with a colleague, Jim, and his wife, Lorraine, who I had not seen in several years. Upon being re-introduced to Lorraine, I was surprised to see that she now had a slightly enlarged thyroid gland, or goiter. Even though she used to be an avid devotee of the symphony, she was clearly not enjoying herself that evening. She had a hard time smiling and appeared isolated, disconnected from her husband, hardly paying attention to our conversations or the music. During the intermission, when my wife and Lorraine went off by themselves, I mentioned to Jim that I was surprised to see how much Lorraine had changed. I also suggested that she appeared to have thyroid disease.
Jim seemed relieved at the opportunity to talk to someone and confessed that his wife had completely changed three or four years earlier. She gained weight, was often very tired and sleepy, and became overly sensitive to criticism. Lorraine didn’t seem to enjoy many things that used to bring her great pleasure, such as cooking and the symphony. Her relationship with Jim and their children were really suffering. She had undergone counseling for six or eight months, thinking her problems were psychological, but no real changes resulted. Several physicians said she was simply “stressed” and told her to learn to relax. A holistic doctor administered herbs, which like everything else, did not seem to help. Obviously, these physicians had failed to pay attention to Lorraine’s enlarged thyroid gland. Lorraine became pretty discouraged about going to doctors for help and seemed resigned to this as her new way of life.
A week later, Jim convinced to Lorraine to try one more time. She came in to see me and tested positive for hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. After three months of treatment, Lorraine dramatically improved. She started to enjoy life again and regained control over her weight. In retrospect, Lorraine was suffering from a case of hyperthyroidism with symptoms of atypical depression that resolved with thyroid hormone treatment.
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