Background

Thyroid conditions can worsen weight and mental health.

Methods

Participants (n= 6117) accepted to join and concluded an 8-week depression and anxiety educational program, no doctor physician relationship was formed. From the n=6117, n=577 reported having an inadequately treated thyroid condition. Baseline anxiety measurements were obtained before and after the intervention using the Depression and Anxiety Assessment Test. Anxiety was classifies according to the DSM-5 [The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Volume 5] as none (0-4), mild (5-8), moderate (9-12) or severe (13 or more).The program was conducted by trained facilitators, each program consisted of 8 weekly meetings, with each meeting lasting 2 hours. The first hour was devoted to a health lecture video by a health professional and the second hour to group discussions. The health lectures gradually shared educational information to improve their lifestyles. The 8 topics discussed were: depression and its causes, lifestyle treatment of depression, nutrition and depression, principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, addictions, overcoming losses, stress-management, and ways to optimize the frontal lobe. The discussions were guided by previously trained and certified facilitators to promote self-awareness, implement motivational interventions, and assist in incorporating lifestyle changes. The ratio of participants to facilitators was 10:1.

Results

Those that had a thyroid condition, n=577, their mean baseline anxiety score was 13 SD 8.6. At the end of the 8 weeks the end anxiety score was 4.6 SD 4, the change was significant with a t(576)=21.1 p<.001.Those without an thyroid condition, n=5540 had a mean baseline anxiety of 7.1 SD 5.1. At the end of the 8 weeks the end anxiety mean level was 3.6 SD 3.6, the change was significant with a t(5539)=57.4 p<.001.

Conclusions

People with thyroid diseases seem to have a higher anxiety score pre and post intervention. The educational program was effective for both groups.