The Psychological Impact of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects up to 5% of the global population, and while it can occur at any age, it typically onsets later in life and more frequently in women than in men.

The condition is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in specific areas of the body. But while pain is undoubtedly a defining feature of fibromyalgia, it can lead to further complications. Chronic pain often leads to chronic stress which can result in  sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues.

What Is Fibromyalgia and What Are Its Psychological Impacts? 

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. The pain is often described as a deep, throbbing ache that can be exacerbated by weather changes, stress, and physical activity. 

The fatigue is often debilitating, causing sufferers to feel drained of energy and unable to concentrate. It’s not surprising that this condition can have significant psychological impacts on those who suffer from it. 

In addition to pain and fatigue, other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include: 

Sleep problems

People with fibromyalgia often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. This can lead to fatigue and further pain, exacerbating any present mental health issues.

Depression

It’s not unusual for people with fibromyalgia to suffer from depression. The condition can be very isolating, and the pain can be challenging to cope with. Some research estimates that 13% to 63.8% of people with fibromyalgia develop depression.

Anxiety

People with fibromyalgia may also suffer from anxiety. The condition can be unpredictable, and the pain can be difficult to manage, leading the sufferer into perpetual hopelessness and uncertainty. It’s estimated that 20% to 80% of people develop anxiety alongside fibromyalgia.

Memory problems

Fibromyalgia can cause problems with short-term memory and concentration. It’s not entirely clear why, but it’s thought that the pain and fatigue associated with the condition may play a significant role.

Headaches

Many people with fibromyalgia experience headaches or migraines. These can be very painful and make it difficult to focus on anything else.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea. This is thought to be caused by changes in how the brain and nervous system interact with the digestive system.

Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell

People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to light, sound, and smell. This can be extremely overwhelming and can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life.

As you can see, the symptoms of fibromyalgia can be very debilitating. While the physical symptoms are certainly significant, it’s important to remember that the condition also has significant impacts on mental health. 

What Causes Fibromyalgia? 

Fibromyalgia is thought to result from an abnormal response in the nervous system. This theory is supported by the fact that people with fibromyalgia have “tender points” — areas of the body that are especially sensitive to touch. 

These tender points are located in the muscles and soft tissues around the joints and can be painful even when lightly pressed.

Since a definite cause of fibromyalgia has not yet been determined, there are many theories about what might trigger the condition. These include: 

Genetic factors: Fibromyalgia may run in families, which suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition to the condition.

Infections: Some research suggests that viral or bacterial infections may trigger fibromyalgia.

Physical or emotional trauma: Exposure to physical or emotional trauma — such as a car accident or the death of a loved one — has been linked to the development of fibromyalgia.

Psychological factors: Stress, anxiety, and depression are all thought to play a role in the development of fibromyalgia.

How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed? 

There is no single test for fibromyalgia, so diagnosis is typically based on a combination of symptoms and exclusion of other conditions. 

To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you must have experienced widespread pain for at least three months, and you must have 11 of 18 “tender points” on your body. 

Your doctor will also likely rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and thyroid problems. Once other conditions have been ruled out, your doctor may refer you to a pain specialist or rheumatologist for further evaluation.

How Is Fibromyalgia Treated? 

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments that have been traditionally used to help manage the symptoms. These include: 

Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help alleviate the pain of fibromyalgia. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger pain medication if needed.

Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles and help relieve pain.

Counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. CBT enables you to identify and change negative thought patterns that may be contributing to your condition.

Receive Ketamine Therapy for Fibromyalgia at Tri-Cities Infusions & Wellness Clinic 

If you’re struggling with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and traditional treatments aren’t working, ketamine therapy may be able to help. Ketamine is a powerful medication that has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. 

At Tri-Cities Infusions & Wellness Clinic, we offer IV ketamine therapy, which delivers the medication directly to the bloodstream for maximum efficacy. Our treatments are administered by experienced medical professionals in a safe and comfortable setting.

Final Thoughts

The pain from fibromyalgia is tough enough on its own. You deserve to live a life without chronic pain. If the pain has caused you psychological distress, it’s time for more urgent action. If you’re interested in learning more about ketamine therapy for fibromyalgia, contact us today.

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