The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Depression

Studies show that if you have fibromyalgia, you’re three times more likely to develop depression than someone without fibromyalgia. 

But why?

Here, Dr. Raul Lopez and our team at the West Texas Pain Institute take a closer look at fibromyalgia and depression and answer your questions about how the two are linked. 

A closer look at fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and hypersensitivity in your muscles and other soft tissues. It can also cause tenderness, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. 

Though researchers are still unsure about exactly what causes fibromyalgia, it’s widely believed that this condition stems from a disorder in your central processing system that affects your neuroendocrine system and neurotransmitters. 

In short, your body experiences a dysfunction in its central nervous system that amplifies pain signals. 

Some also believe that there’s a genetic component involved in fibromyalgia. 

Beyond pain and other symptoms, fibromyalgia has also been linked to secondary illnesses, including depression. 

A closer look at depression

There’s a huge difference between sadness and depression. It’s normal to feel sadness in response to loss, struggle, or other circumstances. 

When feelings of sadness become pervasive and are accompanied by other symptoms, such as loss of interest, low energy, and a sense of worthlessness, that’s when you know depression has taken root. Depression affects your daily life and can last for weeks and even months. 

Depression can be triggered by a variety of factors ranging from past abuse and tragedy to age and medications. 

Chronic pain, such as the pain caused by fibromyalgia, is also a major contributing factor to depression.

Pain and your brain

There are a few different ways fibromyalgia can impact your mental and emotional health. Here’s what you should know. 

Stress

Carrying chronic pain around day after day is no small feat. And it can trigger a stress reaction that turns into feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and isolation. 

Reduced activity

With your whole body in pain, chances are you’re not going out and about the way you used to. This can cause you to withdraw from your daily routine and social activities, which can exacerbate depression. 

The flip side

The pain from fibromyalgia can contribute to your developing depression, but depression and its effect on your brain and nervous system can also exacerbate your pain if you have fibromyalgia. 

Without proper treatments, you can find yourself stuck in a cycle of mental and physical health problems.

How we can help

Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but many treatments can help you manage your symptoms and restore balance to your mental health. 

Depending on your needs, we may recommend the following:

With our help and some simple lifestyle adjustments, you can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. 

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to get started with treatment, request an appointment online or over the phone at one of our El Paso, Texas, offices today. 

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