Fibromyalgia is linked to several mental issues such as anxiety and depression. When fibromyalgia triggers mental disorders, other symptoms such as lack of concentration and irritability will set in, thus forcing the patient to lose focus completely.
In most cases, temporary memory loss may also be triggered with fibromyalgia – these conditions are sometimes referred to as “Fibro fog”.
Fibromyalgia is a neurological problem that is believed to affect more than 12 million in the United States of America alone.
Several brain changes are associated with fibromyalgia can cause serious fatigue and immobility and most symptoms can be long term.
Most people suffering from fibromyalgia will suffer from anxiety, and they may constantly feel broken because they live day after day with fatigue, pain and immobility.
After several years of continuous pains, the individual sufferer may find the condition taking over his life, damaging his reputation, job, and personal relationship with friends and family.
Once the individual victim of fibromyalgia receives the ideal diagnosis and treatment, the emotional and mental burden becomes more manageable. Medications and healthy lifestyle changes can also help in dealing with the conditions effectively.
The triggers of fibromyalgia in the brain
Clinical studies show that the effect of fibromyalgia in the brain is triggered by a shortage of blood supply to the brain organ.
Similarly, researches have shown that individuals suffering from fibromyalgia do possess twice the amount of a brain chemicals known as “substance P Neuro-peptides”, a substance involved in pain signals.
This is the chemical that helps the cells of the nervous system to connect to each other and send signals about painful stimuli.
When substance P levels are higher in the brain, they produce aggravated levels of pains in emanating from the brain and this may influence mental health negatively.
Symptoms of the effect of fibromyalgia on mental health
An individual experiencing fibromyalgia may suddenly develop social isolation because they experience too much pain that prevent them from keeping up with their social engagements.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by sudden painful feelings in the muscles, joints, tissues and tendons, in any part of the body.
People who suffer from this condition have varying sensitivity to its symptoms. The excruciating tenderness experienced all over the body can trigger several mental issues. The commonest symptoms of fibromyalgia that can affect mental health are;
- Tenderness and pains all around the body.
- Cognitive dysfunction.
- Hypersensitivity( especially to hot and cold temperatures or weather).
- Digestive problems.
- Under-active adrenal functioning.
- Lack of good quality sleep.
- Shortness of breathe.
These symptoms are not only chronic, their severities can increase or decrease from one day to the other, and even from one hour to the other.
Dealing with the chronic symptoms of fibromyalgia can be extremely stressful, though the stress hormone- cortisol can ease off the stress of managing the condition, thus reducing the chances of dealing with stress from day to day.
One of the biochemical symptoms of fibromyalgia is the onset of underactive adrenal function which is associated with low cortisol hormone levels.
The lack of good quality sleep is another symptom that can increase the negative impact of fibromyalgia on mental health.
Problems such as anxiety and depression can trigger secondary problems such as shortness of breath, and fluttering sensations in the chest region.
Researches have also shown that individuals suffering from fibromyalgia are three times likely to be diagnosed with depression, and dealing with these symptoms can be very difficult because the mental illness associated with fibromyalgia can be invisible in many patients.
Dealing with mental issues caused by fibromyalgia
Just like other conditions caused by fibromyalgia, mental issues caused by the condition can also be handled in three different ways, these are;
- Handling sleep issues,
- Eating properly, and
- Low impact physical activities.
Fatigue has been known to make mental health issues linked with fibromyalgia, more challenging to handle. As a fibromyalgia, you need to consider your sleep hygiene, and that include your body’s position when sleeping, and even small issues such as the bedroom environment.
Your bedroom must be conditioned for more intimacy and deep sleep. You need to avoid creating another work environment; likewise electronics such as TV must be switched off.
Any item that creates digital lights, including PCs, and mobile device, must be switched off , to create a dark and cool environment. You can also consider using heavy blankets to increase sleep time.
It is also important that you maintain a regular sleep routine, such as going to bed at the same time every night. You can consume a soothing tea, such as chamomile or spray some sleep-inducing essential oils such as lavender on your pillow.
Exercises can be difficult when dealing with fibromyalgia because of the extreme pains triggered by the condition.
Researches have shown that moderate and low impact exercises can keep the muscle and joint fluids moving, and this can help in a long term strengthening of the joints and muscles and can also reduce the risks of soreness.
Some of the best low impact exercises you can consider if suffering from fibromyalgia are; swimming, yoga, biking, and walking.
You must be committed to these low-impact exercises on daily basis to achieve the best possible results. Low impact exercises may not exceed 30 minutes a day, for 5-7 days a week.
When handled properly, good quality exercises can induce sleep and ease off the symptoms of mental problems associated with fibromyalgia.
Eating balance diets, especially those containing whole grains, green veggies and colourful fruits can help reduce inflammatory disorders that aggravate fibromyalgia.
Try as much as possible to avoid all processed foods, including hydrogenated oils, sugary beverages, and white flour , which are foods known to cause frequent high and low mood swings.
Try as much as possible to consume sufficient amount of water in-between your meals . Try and consume seeds, nuts and legumes because they are nutrient-dense and they are capable of reducing inflammatory disorders. Replace your snacks with fresh fruits such as water melon, and tart cherries.