Fibromyalgia is a very difficult disease to deal with. There are so many different symptoms that you can end up having over time, and they may change in terms of severity. Sometimes, new symptoms can come up and make your disorder worse, as well.
Mental health problems are common amongst fibromyalgia sufferers, and because of that, antidepressants have become a very common part of fibromyalgia treatment plans. How do these work, and what do they do for fibromyalgia sufferers?
Those are the sorts of questions that we’re going to explore here in this article.
How Do Antidepressants Work?
If you have ever had issues with depression or other disorders, then you likely know (at least a little bit) about how antidepressants affect the mind. There are a number of chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, which are constantly firing off in our brains.
They do a number of different things to us. Some of them help us to remember to do certain tasks. Others, especially if they are over stimulated, can make it so that we end up struggling with feelings that we don’t necessarily know how to deal with.
Some others, if we don’t get enough of them, can give us feelings of pain or they can make us depressed or anxious.
The neurotransmitters and chemicals in our brains that control mood are especially volatile. If we aren’t getting enough of them, or we’re getting too much, then our moods are going to fluctuate immensely.
Depression is one of the disorders that can happen because of these imbalances. Our moods may go down, down, down and we may be unable to fix them without the help of medication (and, in some cases, natural remedies can work for them as well).
Antidepressants, essentially, go into the brain and help those neurotransmitters and/or chemicals to get to the right amounts that you need in order to function properly.
They, essentially, tell your mind to “calm down” or “pick up” the chemicals that they are producing.
In the case of antidepressants, you usually need a little bit more of certain chemicals (serotonin is the most common, but there are others as well), in order to help bolster your mood.
In some cases, you only need that little boost during the cooler months of the year (seasonal affective disorder, or SAD). Other times, you need to have it throughout the year.
Different antidepressants will focus on different neurotransmitters, depending on what they are meant to do.
This will give you different results. For example, if you take Benzodiazepines, you are likely taking them in order to help you deal with anxiety symptoms.
They can help you to sleep better, they can prevent panic attacks, and they can help lift your mood, depending on which one you take.
SSRI’s focus on helping to increase your serotonin, which in turns helps you to feel better, you have more energy, and you’re better able to deal with what’s happening in the world around you.
How Can Antidepressants Help with Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
So, of course, this question comes back to “how does this actually help with fibromyalgia symptoms?”
The question actually depends on what you’re taking, because every type of antidepressant is going to be able to help with different symptoms that you may be coping with.
Obviously, this is why your doctor and all other specialists that are involved in your care need to be informed about what is going on and need to work together in order to develop a plan that allows you to get the most out of what is going on.
Antidepressants are really good for helping with depression and other mental health concerns, obviously, and you will find that those are a very big problem for those who are trying to cope with fibromyalgia.
Whether there’s something chemical in the body that makes it happen, or there are emotional factors that make it so that you fall into fits of depression and other problems, it’s still there, and it has to be dealt with properly.
Even though psychotherapy is usually the first option that is brought up, it may have to be done alongside of antidepressants to give you the full benefits.
Of course, antidepressants don’t only help with depression, even though that’s their main purpose.
They can help to reduce the amount of anxiety that you’re feeling and can fend off panic attacks, if you’re prone to them (this is specifically what Benzodiazepines are for, but other antidepressants can help as well).
Sleeping patterns are a huge issue for people who are struggling with their mental health, so antidepressants can help you to get back into a healthy pattern, thus making it so you don’t feel so fatigued throughout the day. It can also prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night.
They can also help with reducing your pain, reducing fibro fog, helping with eating habits, and a variety of other needs. Your doctor can fill you in on how the antidepressant(s) that they are trying with you can help you out.
All in all, antidepressants are an incredibly common part of fibromyalgia treatment. More often than not, you’re going to have at least one as part of your plan, so that you can better deal with the ups and downs that often come as a result of your fibromyalgia symptoms and other related health issues.
Treatment plans and medication have always been a huge part of dealing with your fibromyalgia pain.
There are so many techniques out there that can help you, and in some cases, you may need to try a number of them in order to find the best combination for your particular symptoms and diagnosis.
Antidepressants are just one of the many types of treatment that your doctor, psychiatrist, or other specialist may recommend as part of your overall treatment plan. They will work with you to find the right one and to help minimize any side effects as well.