Coping With Depression When You Have Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, associated or not with other central sensitization syndromes, is one of the most prevalent and also the most unknown pathologies. Fibromyalgia is a complex disease characterized by the existence of many symptoms together at the same time. The cardinal symptom is generalized pain in the locomotor system, that is, muscles, ligaments, and joints, but it is also accompanied by significant fatigue, sleep disturbances, loss of concentration and memory, anxiety, and sadness, among others. It is difficult to diagnose, there is no single treatment or specific medication. The symptoms are similar between people who suffer from it, but each patient feels them in a particular way. In many cases, neither the analyzes nor the X-rays show results that show that something is wrong in the body, which generates frustration. In addition, the quality of life is diminished since the treatments are not always effective and a solution for the disease is not found.

But it is a very common disorder, which affects more than a million Spaniards, over 18 years of age (between 2% and 4% of the population),  and the majority are women (90%).

FIBROMYALGIA SYMPTOMS

In general, it has these symptoms:

  • Intense, chronic, and generalized pain.
  • Presence of pain on pressure and palpation in certain parts of the body.
  • Fatigue, which does not improve with rest.
  • Insomnia
  • Tingling in extremities.
  • Anxiety and depression.

PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH FIBROMYALGIA

Fibromyalgia treatments aim to relieve pain, restore emotional balance, improve sleep quality, physical ability, asthenia, and its associated problems.

But there is one aspect that is not always taken into account and is essential: the psychological well-being of the patient.  Symptoms that extend over time have other consequences that affect people’s spirits. In fact, this disease is closely related to psychological and psychiatric disorders, with anxiety and depression being more frequent (at least two-thirds of fibromyalgia patients suffer from it, or have suffered it in the past).

Anxiety is a response to certain situations of everyday life in the form of stress, which manifests itself with a sense of unease and disquiet. While depression is a disorder in which a negative mood predominates, which causes the patient to lose the ability and desire to face any daily situation. Both disorders make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.  That is why specialists recommend treating them.

HOW TO TREAT DEPRESSION

Before, fibromyalgia treatment focused only on alleviating joint and muscle pain symptoms, but in recent years it is a complex process that requires a multidisciplinary approach.

It is estimated that 64% of patients have suffered or suffer from depression and 80% suffer or have suffered from an anxiety disorder. Treating depression is a key aspect of pain management because it decreases the effectiveness of pain relievers.

The association between depression and fibromyalgia can be causal, comorbidity, or secondary to this process. Likewise, it has a negative influence on the process, delaying the improvement of the patient.

It is important to treat depression and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients to improve their quality of life. The doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment for each patient.

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPIES (CBT)

One option for the treatment of depression associated with fibromyalgia is CBT, which is a psychological treatment applied to a wide range of health problems. These therapies are effective in enhancing the ability of patients to generate their own abilities and to develop ways of managing health problems.

The main objectives of CBT are the change in negative thoughts and feelings that patients may have regarding their physical and mental problems and, consequently, the change in their behavior.

Patients learn skills (eg relaxation, gradual scheduling of activities) to help them better control pain or develop different attitudes towards pain (eg more acceptance), or both.

How to cope with cancer?

Receiving the news that you have cancer is probably one of the hardest times to deal with in your life. Although we are all different and react differently to the same situations, we all need support, we have questions and we seek answers.

It is totally normal to experience nerves, pain, sadness, fear, or anger, while dozens of unanswered questions crowd into your head (will I be cured? Why me?). Although it is logical to think that at that moment you are alone, you are not the only one. According to the Association Against Cancer (AECC), each year more than 200,000 Spaniards are diagnosed with cancer.

In general, there is an initial phase of denial, of believing that “this cannot be happening to me”, then uncertainty, confusion, and sadness appear. And finally, comes acceptance. Situations can fluctuate depending on how cancer and the patient develop.

BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO IN THE FACE OF THIS NEW CHALLENGE? SOME RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Look for reliable information. Talk to your doctor and ask him what you want to know about your disease (type of cancer, treatment, consequences, possible sequelae, etc.). You can be accompanied by a trusted person to give you emotional support and help you absorb the information.
  • Share your emotions. Your family and friends will become your best allies to overcome this challenge. Lean on them, open up and share your feelings and thoughts. In addition, there are support groups led by people who have gone through the same experience. Sharing information will make you feel better.
  • Anticipate. Uncertainty is a feeling that can cause discomfort. Anticipate and ask your doctor what changes your body will experience throughout the treatment and how it will affect your daily activities. Being prepared will strengthen you.
  • Beware. Try to eat in a healthy and varied way, do not smoke, or overindulge in alcohol consumption. Physical exercise can help you feel better, you should ask your doctor for the most appropriate and safe type of exercise in your particular case.
  • Stay active. Have fun listening to music, taking a yoga class, swimming, or immersing yourself in a novel. Do things that you like and make you happy. Doing recreational activities positively benefits your mood.

 

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