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Fibromyalgia and Mental Health: Here’s What You Should Know

Fibromyalgia and Mental Health: Here’s What You Should Know

Fibromyalgia is a complex pain condition that affects every aspect of your life during pain flare-ups and periods of remission. The toll fibromyalgia takes on your physical and emotional well-being affects your mental health.

About 20% of people with fibromyalgia also struggle with depression or anxiety. These mental health conditions may affect pain level and control.

At Interventional Pain Associates in Austin, Texas, our pain management specialist, Dr. Sarosh Saleemi, takes a holistic approach to fibromyalgia management. Dr. Saleemi understands how the chronic pain condition affects mental health, and when it’s not addressed, it exacerbates pain. 

Here, we want to talk to you about fibromyalgia and mental health and why it’s important to take care of both.

The reality of fibromyalgia

Like so many chronic health conditions, the underlying cause of fibromyalgia is still under investigation. For many years, health professionals believed fibromyalgia was a depressive disorder that manifested pain or a somatic symptom disorder that caused physical symptoms like pain because of emotional turmoil. 

However, it’s now theorized that fibromyalgia pain results from changes in how the brain and body communicate — more specifically, how the brain interprets the pain signals from the body. These communication problems are triggered by a physical or emotional stressor, creating chemical changes that turn the pain sensor volume up to high.

Fibromyalgia is a real pain condition that affects mental health.

Fibromyalgia and mental health

Many people with fibromyalgia struggle with co-occurring conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Though people with fibromyalgia often report a history of emotional trauma or stress during childhood, research indicates a history of mental health conditions doesn’t directly correspond with severity of fibromyalgia.

So, what’s the connection? Fibromyalgia symptoms affect emotional well-being, causing issues such as:

People with fibromyalgia may also suffer from mental health conditions because their pain keeps them away from friends and family. Or, because of the many misconceptions surrounding the pain disorder, they may feel rejected and misunderstood. 

Improving pain and mental well-being

Because fibromyalgia affects your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, treatment needs to address your overall health. Taking a holistic approach to pain management, we provide many treatments to ease your pain and improve your mental health.

To improve your pain, we provide interventional procedures, physical therapy, IV Therapy, and medication management. To improve mental well-being, we recommend counseling, psychiatric medications, and biofeedback. 

You are also an important part of your fibromyalgia treatment plan. Making lifestyle changes — like getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and developing coping strategies — helps you feel more in control of your pain and your life, benefiting your mental well-being.

Fibromyalgia affects mental health leading to conditions like depression and anxiety. But getting help for your physical and emotional well-being benefits all co-occurring health issues. 

Let us help you get the comprehensive care you need for your fibromyalgia. Call our office or click the “book online” button to make an appointment today. 

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