While fibromyalgia and depression are strongly linked, there is no evidence that one causes the other. Any chronic disease can lead to depression, making it essential for those who suffer from chronic disease to seek counseling.
Those who suffer from the syndrome often ask “Does fibromyalgia cause depression?” The answer is not directly, but it can be a source of sadness, frustration, anxiety, and fatigue. All of these can contribute to or exacerbate depression.
Frustration and Anxiety
Fibromyalgia and Depression are linked through the effects that symptoms have on an individual person’s interactions with others. Anxiety and frustration are two of the most common emotions brought up by people who suffer from fibromyalgia. Anxiety stems from the unpredictable nature of the disease and its waxing and waning quality. Frustration can usually be traced to slow diagnosis, set-backs in treatment, or difficulty managing symptoms.
Both frustration and anxiety tend to lead people to isolate themselves from others in an attempt to reduce sources of external chaos. Withdrawal from social settings can lead to or worsen depression that already exists. It is important to maintain relationships for support and for distraction from the doldrums of fibromyalgia. Social isolation is seldom a good idea for anyone suffering from a chronic disease, even though it often seems like the easiest choice many times.
Sleep is an issue that comes up time and time again in fibromyalgia. Disordered sleep is thought to be one of the underlying causes of fibromyalgia and people who get adequate rest often report a decrease in symptoms. However, getting adequate rest and sleeping too much lie on a fine line.
The pain of fibromyalgia often leads to difficulty falling asleep and difficulty remaining asleep. As such, many fibromyalgia sufferers find themselves wanting to remain in bed in the morning. This is a temptation that should be avoided as it tends to disrupt sleep cycles further and has been linked to increased severity of depression.
It is critical that people with fibromyalgia and depression practice good sleep hygiene. This means going to bed at the same time each day, waking up at the same time each day, avoiding being in bed if you cannot fall asleep, and maintaining the bedroom as a place for sleep only. Good sleep hygiene can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and fibromyalgia both and is considered an essential part of treatment by many physicians.
Symptoms of Depression
When people ask “does fibromyalgia cause depression,” they forget to ask if depression can worsen fibromyalgia. The answer to that question is clearly yes. Depression is well known to increase fatigue, exacerbate pain, and increase anxiety. So treating depression is essential to treating fibromyalgia. If you recognize any of the following signs of depression, consult your physician for treatment.
- Decreased Energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
- Loss of interest in nearly all activities
- Persistent sad mood
- Uncontrollable crying
Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia also suffer from depression and vice versa. In fact, distinguishing between the two conditions can be exceptionally difficult. While the link between fibromyalgia and depression may not be clear, the association between the two conditions is. Treating one can help to alleviate the other.