Can fibromyalgia have emotional effects?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Many people with fibromyalgia have anxiety that makes them feel broken, especially when they live day after day with pain, fatigue, and immobility. Fibromyalgia symptoms are long-term. After years of constant pain, many people with fibromyalgia find that the condition takes over their lives, damaging jobs, families, and personal relationships. Once people with fibromyalgia receive the proper diagnosis and effective treatment, the anxiety and emotional stress becomes manageable. The medications and lifestyle changes help to ease pain, increase mobility, and improve sleep.
The emotional effects may be due to frustration during the diagnosis phase as you may have to see many doctors before a correct diagnosis is made or may occur due to frustrations with the widespread pain and fatigue associated with the syndrome.
Patients also  have difficulty thinking clearly sometimes which is called fibro fog.

Support groups and therapy may be an important component of treating the illness.
Michael Lau, PhD
Yes. One co-existing condition or common emotional effect that can exist is depression. You may experience feelings such as sadness; an inability to experience pleasure; you may have difficulty sleeping (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep); you may have no appetite or an increase in your appetite; your sexual interests may disappear; your thoughts and movements may slow down; social withdrawal is common; you may neglect your appearance and you may have thoughts of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness or even suicide.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Any chronic or long-term illness can have emotional effects. Fibromyalgia can make you feel anxious, sad, even depressed. You may feel all alone and isolated when friends and family members are riding their bikes and going to the movies while you can hardly get out of bed each morning. Poor sleep with fibromyalgia may cause you to feel moody or even irritable.

Is there a clear-cut reason? Some experts believe that people with fibromyalgia have low levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect. Serotonin helps boost mood and promotes deep sleep. Researchers also think that people with fibromyalgia may have lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine. Lower levels of these hormones may cause you to have impaired responses to emotional or psychological stressors.

Jacob Teitelbaum
Integrative Medicine
Of course. In any severe illness which can be disabling, it would be unusual to not have emotional reactions. One out of eight people with fibromyalgia have depression and another one out of eight have anxiety as well, if so, these can be treated along with the fibromyalgia. The same answer occurs for cancer and other disabling diseases.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.