One of the most commonly reported symptoms of neuropathy is pain. Pain associated with neuropathy is often constant; while it may fluctuate in severity over the course of the day, it’s generally always there at some level.
Pain almost always provokes an emotional response, which may include anxiety, irritability and agitation. Ever bump into something hard and yell at the person who asks if you are okay? This is one small illustration of the effect of pain on your emotions. With short term pain, generally as the pain subsides, so do the resulting changes in mood. But when pain is chronic, so too may be the feelings of tension and stress. Additionally, pain can interrupt sleep and the resulting sleep deprivation makes it even more difficult to manage your mood. Over time, the constant stress can lead to depression.
Depression is one of the most common psychological issues facing people who suffer from chronic pain. As many as 25-50% of people with pain are also depressed. People whose pain limits their independence are more likely to get depressed. Treatment of your condition can cause additional life stress, such as financial concerns, isolation and fear. These stresses are considered some of the major factors in the development of depression.
A vicious cycle is created. Chronic pain can make depression worse and people with more severe depression usually feel more intense pain.
If your symptoms have led to depression, it is important that you get treatment for your depression as well as your neuropathy. The most common treatments for depression include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy that helps people change negative thinking and behaviors, such as bad self-talk, that contribute to their depression.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRI (antidepressant medication such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft))
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors – SNRI (antidepressant medication similar to SSRI that includes venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta))
Lifestyle changes can also have an impact on both the symptoms of neuropathy and depression. Exercise, diet changes and meditation are among the things a patient can incorporate as part of an overall lifestyle change.
At US Neuropathy Centers, our medical experts make sure that all factors that may be contributing to your symptoms are taken into account. No matter the stage or progression of your symptoms, our specialists will work with you to design the most effective treatment for your needs. Find one of our locations at www.usneuropathycenters.com.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
@US Neuropathy Centers, 2018