When we think of fibromyalgia syndrome, we think "pain and fatigue," which are two of the most recognized symptoms. However, people suffering with it will tell you that the disease doesn't just stop there. There are dozens and dozens of seemingly unrelated symptoms including sleep disorders; irritable bowel syndrome; sensitivity to bright lights, changes in temperature, medication intolerance, food allergies, cognitive difficulties, anxiety, and perhaps most dangerous of all the symptoms... depression. Fibromyalgia depression left untreated has been known to lead a sufferer down a path of self-destruction, resulting in suicide in severe cases. A Depression Self-test can be used to determine the severity of symptoms.
Some researchers theorize that depression in fibromyalgia sufferers is the result of abnormalities in the sufferer's brain chemistry... others are studying the sympathetic nervous system. But whatever the cause, depression affects every aspect of a fibromyalgia sufferer's life seems to intensify the body's response to pain, as seen on MRI's and in clinical tests.
The Depression Self-test below, when shared with your physician, can also help to determine the level and type of treatment needed to provide relief of your depression symptoms. Medication with anti-depressants is the usual treatment prescribed by doctors treating depression... which may be helpful to patients who can tolerate the Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors(SSRI's) and tricyclic drugs that are commonly prescribed. But drugs are not enough for many people, especially those with major or clinical depression which occurs in about 3 out of every 10 fibromyalgia patients. Understanding and supportive family and friends, as well as support groups, can be crucial for an individual dealing with depression, especially when the symptoms are severe.
Are You Suffering With Fibromyalgia? Take This Depression Self-Test!
Not every fibromyalgia sufferer will experience the same symptoms of depression, but you may recognize some of the symptoms on the Depression Self-test. Be honest... Have you been experiencing any of these?
- A sense of worthlessness or despair
- Decreased energy level
- Change in weight, loss or gain
- Loss of interest / enjoyment of favorite activities
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt or agitation
- Persistent sadness or anxious mood
- Uncontrollable tearfulness
- Suicidal thoughts, or attempted suicide
If you answered "Yes" to the question about your experiences on the Depression Self-test, and you are not currently under treatment by your physician... you need to meet with him or her and discuss how you've been feeling. Treatment options with SSRI's and tricyclic medications can have some undesirable side-effects and aren't for everyone. There is a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals which may work for you... ask you doctor about it... it's called 5-HTP(5-Hydroxytryptophan). (The FDA has an advisory out regarding anti-depressants and their side-effects. Therefore, be sure to have your physician monitor you when beginning treatment or changing dosages.)
Now, you probably noticed that the list of symptoms on the Depression Self-test are broad in scope. You may not have all of them, but having fibromyalgia, you probably have at least one or two. Severe or clinical depression symptoms would also include symptoms that last for weeks at a time. Chronic depression (dysthymia) is an ongoing condition although the symptoms and feelings of the sufferer, may fluctuate. If you're unsure about your fibromyalgia depression symptoms, keep a written diary of symptoms from the Depression Self-test, and add anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or negative. Remember... there is also a link between your depression and the intensity of your pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms.
It is important that you openly discuss your condition and your notes from the Depression Self-test, with your doctor. However, as a fibromyalgia survivor myself, I can tell you that medications alone won't do the trick. Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease which means that your own immune system is attacking and damaging your body at the cellular level. You can fight back by rebuilding your body faster than your disease can tear it down. I have discovered a safe, natural nutrition program that can help you overcome fibromyalgia symptoms and the depression that comes with it. For more information on the natural treatment of fibromyalgia, contact me now by clicking on one of the links below.