Disorders of the Endocrine System

Disorders of the endocrine system and psychological symptoms

The endocrine system is a network of glands that secrete substances called hormones into the bloodstream. The hormones regulate the body’s metabolism. If the body has too much or too little of a certain hormone, the feedback system signals the proper gland or glands to correct the problem. A hormone imbalance may occur if this feedback system can’t maintain the right level of hormones in the bloodstream, and may lead to endocrine disorders. There are many different types of endocrine disorders.

  • Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder diagnosed in the United States.
  • Adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal gland releases too little of the hormone cortisol and sometimes, aldosterone. Addison’s disease is a type of adrenal insufficiency.
  • Cushing’s disease. Overproduction of a pituitary gland hormone leads to an overactive adrenal gland.
  • Gigantism and other growth hormone problems. If the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone, a child’s bones and body parts may grow abnormally fast. If growth hormone levels are too low, a child can stop growing in height.
  • Hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The most common cause for an overactive thyroid is an autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease.
  • Hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.
  • Hypopituitarism. The pituitary gland releases little or no hormones.
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia I and II (MEN I and MEN II). These rare, genetic conditions are passed down through families. They cause tumors of the parathyroid, adrenal, and thyroid glands, leading to overproduction of hormones.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Overproduction of androgens interfere with the development of eggs and their release from the female ovaries.
  • Precocious puberty. Abnormally early puberty that occurs when glands tell the body to release sex hormones too soon in life.

Testing for endocrine disorders is performed by an endocrinologist. The symptoms of an endocrine disorder vary widely and depend on the specific gland involved. However, most people with endocrine disease complain of psychological symptoms like depression, fatigue and weakness. There are many other areas of interaction between physical disorders and psychotic disorders. Below are some examples:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) symptoms can include delirium or coma, palpitations, anxiety, tremor.
  • Hypotyroidism is accompanied by psychiatric symptoms of depression, anxiety and cognitive impairment.
  • Hyperthyroidism produces symptoms as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, decresed concentration, decreased memory, major depression.
  • Adrenal disorders Cushing syndrom mimic depression.
  • Diabetis is accompanied by fatigue, memory impairment, depression.
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) causes a general slowing of all body functions. Patient complains of depresion and fatigue.
  • Hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis: usually associated with anxiety but may present as depression, especially in the elderly who may have few classical signs of thyroid disease.
  • Adrenal hypofunction (Addison’s Disease): often presents with weakness and fatigue.
  • Adrenal hyperfunction (Cushing’s Disease): either depression or mania.
  • Hyperparathyroidism: lassitude, anorexia, weakness, and depressed mood.

The close relationship between psychiatry and endocrinology was recognized many years ago by many great psychiatrists including Sigmund Freud. In general, endocrine disorders may lead to depressive syndromes. Depression in the context of endocrine disease may be more difficult to treat or may respond only when the endocrine disorder is addressed. Also, the course of endocrine disease may be adversely affected by depression. Doctors often do not take enough time with patients to get to the root cause of their issues. There is a very real possibility that what seems to be a psychiatric problem is caused by some physical illness. In order to decide if a
physical disorder exists, the psychiatrist and doctor must have comprehensive information. For example, a patient complaining of depression with decreased energy level, is also complaining of increased weight, cold intolerance, and extremely dry skin. Therefore, the patient must have physical exams before making psychological diagnosis, as thyroid problems or any other medical problems might be potentiating his depression. Thus the importance of physical exams before making any diagnosis is crucial.



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symptomatology in medical patients with antithyroid antibodies. Biol Psychiatry.

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About Endocrine System

The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce and release hormones that help control
many important body functions. A malfunctioning of one or more of these glands can unbalance
the hormones in the body and lead to an endocrine disorder, or endocrine disease.

Some endocrine disorders are: diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, Cushing’s disease, gigantism,
hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, multiple endocrine neoplasia I and II, polycystic ovary
syndrome, precocious puberty. The disorders of the endocrine system can have symptoms that
look like psychological symptoms. Some of these symptoms are: depression, anxiety, fatigue,
mood swings, decreased concentration, and decreased memory. Therefore, it is very important
that patients must have physical exams before making psychological diagnosis.

Children’s Health

Children in the States – NEW JERSEY

“Although the majority of New Jersey’s children have access to health coverage, that does
not guarantee enrollment in coverage, which can jeopardize their education and their future.
In 2013, 89.2 percent of eligible children participated in NJ FamilyCare or FamilyCare, New
Jersey’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In FY2013, a total of 662,198 New Jersey
children ages 0 -18 were enrolled in NJ FamilyCare, and 206,761 in FamilyCare.
More than 112,000 New Jersey children ages 0 -17 (5.6 percent) were uninsured in 2013. The
state had the 21 st lowest rate of uninsured children among states.”

Bronfenbrenner believed that a person’s development is affected by everything in their
surrounding environment. He divided the person’s environment into five different levels: the
microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem, and the chronosystem. Per this
theoretical construction, each system contains rules which may shape psychological

Our data shows that there are many children without health insurance in New Jersey.
Health is a very important factor in a child development. Both Microsystem and Macrosystem
are influenced by the level of health care we provide for our children and affect children’s
psychological development.

The microsystem is the system closest to the child, like home, school, and daycare. A
microsystem typically includes family and caregivers. This is the most influential level of the
ecological systems theory. For a child this includes his interactions with his parents, siblings,
school interactions like the teacher and the other children in his class. Children’s health is
determined by these interactions and vice versa, children’s emotions, behaviors, and cognitive
abilities affect their health. Loving interactions with family and caregivers affect children’s
health. For example, we all know that stress affects the immune system. External events
perceived as stressful by a child may function as triggers for an asthma or inflammatory bowel
disease flare. (Rietveld and Prins, 1998; Santos et al., 2001). Another example is of a child’s
emotional arousal states, which in turn result in physiological changes, such as increased pulse
and elevated blood pressure, glycemic, and immune responses. (McEwen, 1998; Seeman et
al.,1997). Not infrequently, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or other adjustment difficulties
may occur as a result of the underlying illness.

The macrosystem is the actual culture of an individual. The cultural contexts involve the
socioeconomic status of the person and his family. Health influences can act in very different
ways because of the differing cultural interpretations that families attach to them. Parenting style
and family traditions affect children behaviors, such as participation in health prevention
programs or compliance with certain treatments by both parents and children. For example, in
many cultures, flu is considered to be a normal part of growth and development and thus parents
will not show health-seeking behavior or adherence to treatment regimens for the flu.
In conclusion, health insurance is a very important factor in a person’s psychological
development, as health issues must be addressed as soon as possible.


Children’s Defense Fund. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/state-data-repository/cits/

Nutritious Diet When Traveling

A Nutritional Diet while Traveling

Sticking to a nutritious diet while traveling can be one of the more difficult things to do. However, if you learn how to make smart choices, a healthy diet is really not that difficult. It’s probably not the best time in which to start a healthy diet, but if you are currently making healthy choices in your foods already, modifying your diet slightly to accommodate travel, is not as difficult as it first may seem.

If you are traveling by airplane, your diet may have to include airplane food, which can often be of poor nutritional value, depending on the selection. When you book your flight, ask about your food options, ask if a vegetarian dish is available? Vegetarian dishes are sometimes more nutritional in this case, but it really depends on what they may be serving. If you can, eat a larger meal before your flight, so that you don’t have to eat the entire meal that is served, to feel full.

When driving or taking a bus, you may be tempted to stop at fast food restaurants and eat the meals found there. Avoid this whenever possible! If you’re on vacation, you may wish to splurge a tiny bit, but having fast food more than once during a week can really be bad for your health. If you must, choose the healthiest options available, like chicken breasts and diet soda.

Also, remember that you can take your own meals when traveling. Carrying a loaf of whole-wheat bread or pita wraps, some lean lunch-meat, and low-fat cheese in a cooler is a great way to avoid high-fat and high-cholesterol junk food meals. These are much better choices and you’ll save a lot of money as well. Call ahead to ask if there will be a refrigerator in your hotel room.

Lastly, make smart choices when you eat out. If you choose salads or pasta get the dressing on the side and ask about low-carb options. In fact, many places print these dieting options directly in the menu for the health-conscious people. Control your portions by ordering lunch menu sizes or splitting the meal in have and getting a doggie bag, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy eating, even away from home.

Yes, eating healthy food when you travel can be a challenge. However, your health is worth it. Eating meals high in nutrition will also assist in fighting illnesses that you are likely to encounter when traveling and you will find yourself more alert so that you can enjoy your trip.

Once you have made the firm decision to change your eating habits, you will find many little tests along the way.

Healthy Food

Good Healthy Food

When people envision healthy food, they most likely picture whole grain pasta or a serving of broccoli. However, many would be surprised at the nutritional content and health benefits of some of their favorite foods. In a world where the definition of ‘healthy diet’ changes on a daily basis, and where there is an endless list of rules to follow regarding food, it helps to remember a few simple ideas. A healthy food is any food that contains sufficient calories and nutrients to stay alive and healthy. The following is a breakdown of four, surprisingly super foods that can be used and enjoyed by almost anyone.

The potato is one of the most controversial foods in the public eye today, partly because of its reputation as a fast food item. Potatoes count both as a starch and as a vegetable. According to the editors of HowStuffWorks.com, a fresh, baked potato with skin contains less than one gram of fat, including saturated fat, and no cholesterol. It contains six grams of protein, six grams of fiber, and 63 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, potatoes contain high levels of vitamin C and magnesium, 224 mg. of phosphorus and 1,627 mg. of potassium.

Another health food wonder is Wonder Bread. As noted by Nicole Wolverton at Livestrong.com, a typical, two-slice serving of Wonder Bread contains 4-5% of the recommended daily caloric intake. Most of those calories are carbohydrates. One serving also contains 4-5 grams of protein and one gram of fat or less. To enhance its nutritional value, one serving is enriched with folic acid, riboflavin, and 30% of the daily recommended amount of calcium. In addition, it contains 8% of the RDA of thiamin, niacin, and iron. For parents of picky eaters, Wonder Bread is one good, healthy food. It provides children with necessary nutrients but can still be used in child-friendly recipes.

Peanut butter is a long-time favorite in children’s lunches and many desserts and candies, but it offers more health benefits than one might think. Lydia Stephens on Livestrong.com informs her readers that a 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains seven grams of protein. While it does contain saturated fat, peanut butter also has unsaturated fat in abundance, which can lower one’s risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Peanut butter is high in potassium, which can undo the negative effects of sodium in one’s diet.

Last but not least is chocolate, which is a popular treat. The Huffington Post reveals that chocolate has properties that counteract inflammation, which lowers cardiovascular risk and blood pressure. The antioxidant flavonoids found in dark chocolate offers the skin some protection from UV damage. Flavanoids cause people to be more alert which boosts brain function. Because chocolate has anti-clotting properties similar to aspirin, it can improve blood flow as well as one’s vision. Those who eat chocolate regularly report improved moods and chocolate can even help suppress coughs. An ingredient called theobromine that is present in chocolate quiets the vagus nerve, which is responsible for coughing.

People tend to view healthy eating as an arduous task, one that involves eating foods they hate and following an impossibly long list of rules. In reality, many of the foods people eat on a regular basis are rich in necessary nutrients and are easy to use in tasty recipes. In addition, most of these foods are affordable to the average person. For those concerned about the healthfulness of their diets, it is recommended that they make small changes incorporating these common foods into recipes they enjoy. The myriad health benefits will be seen in due time.