Fibromyalgia and Depression

Fibromyalgia and Depression
Many studies link fibromyalgia and depression. Apparently 30 percent of people have depression at the time of their diagnosis with fibromyalgia. (I don't know how these statistics are arrived at), about 20 to 70 percent of people with fibromyalgia also have depression according to which report you read!

Recently the doctor told me I was depressed, after asking me a series of questions, and then asked if I wanted extra help. I said no as it is just part of the down ride of living in chronic pain. Eventually, or even daily, I do go up again!
I always wonder if depression is part of fibromyalgia, just like the pain, or if depression comes because of the pain.

Signs of depression with chronic pain may include:
  • low energy
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty making decisions
  • feeling of hopeless or irritable
  • loss of interest in things normally enjoyed
  • feeling sad
  • worrying or anxious feelings
So what is the link between fibromyalgia and depression?
I am sure there are many theories and here is one of them:
"Ninety-five percent of people with fibro have low thyroid function and 100 percent of them have low adrenal function — and both conditions can cause depression and anxiety." this is according to Pamela W. Smith, MD, MPH 

Vitamin D deficiency, low cortisol levels and sleep problems are also considered contributing factors according to Dr. Smith. She recommends testing to see if a deficiency or another health condition could be bringing depression to the surface in fibromyalgia.

So what are your experiences? Do you think depression is a symptom of fibromyalgia or is it just something we experience because we live with chronic pain and all the other daily symptoms such as grieving for our former active life, inability to do what we use to do, fatigue, brain fog and sleep problems?

A.Aguglia, V. Salvi, G. Maina, I. Rossetto, and E. Aguglia, Fibromyalgia syndrome and depressive symptoms: comorbidity and clinical correlates, Journal of Affective Disorders, 2010
V. Maletic and C. L. Raison, Neurobiology of depression, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, Frontiers in Bioscience, 2009


  1. I just had to give you my experience with depression.
    First of all, I had depression prior to developing severe pain in 2000. But, when I was injured in a work accident in 2003 it got worst.
    In 2010, I attempted suicide and found myself in a mental institution for a week. It was there that I was advised I have Major Depression Disorder~a chemical imbalance of serotonin.
    So to wrap this up. I think it's not uncommon that long term chronic pain sufferers develop depression. And the reason for the varied percentages are that many sufferers don't advise their doctors of their symptoms. (like me)

  2. Berry, thank you so much for sharing and your honesty just makes me feel good.

  3. Anonymous5:43 PM

    So depressed rite now, my arms feel like lead, I cannot get up off sofa, all I do is surfthe net but will remain anon. as next week Iwill be cool again

    1. sorry to hear you are having a bad week. Glad you know you will get better soon.

  4. It's such a vicious cycle! The fibro pain and my depression/anxiety go hand in hand.
    I don't have a good handle on any of it at the moment. It leaves me feeling quite hopeless!

  5. I also tried to commit suicide in 2010. I spent about three hours in the hospital before being sent home, and went on a three month medical leave for as my doctor said an 'extreme reaction to pain'. It is very weird. I can say that I wasn't depressed prior to my suicide attempt but with the fibro and chronic migraines I was frantic with pain and unable to cope with a hostile work enviroment. The pain made me desperate and when confronted with a week long status migraine and sleep deprivation I just didn't want to continue the struggle. So I would say it was the extreme pain that caused extreme mood fluctuations. However, that being said when it was treated so indifferently, this extreme suffering, and my treatment was not changed, nor my work conditions and I was promptly returned to full time work in the same hostile enviroment... I think some part of me just broke. I realized it didn't matter how much pain I was in, how much emotional and mental suffering it caused, my doctor would never have my back. It was just not good. I became just numb and then depressed. Ironically my suicide attempt led to depression and then depression and anxiety. I think after a while you just get tired ot the battle and constantly having to show a strong facade when clearly no one appriates the struggle it takes to just get through a normal day. What I consider to be a victory is never good enough for other people. I'm on another short term leave, emphasis on short, and I survive a great deal better when I'm not working. Depression and anxiety for me are directly correlated to the stress of coping with the pain of enduring chronic migraines and FM with full time work. I honestly do not know how I survived as I did without feeling this sort of emotional backlash but I think it is because to some extent I refused to think about the future and I had a glimmer of hope. In the end a suicide attempt makes you realize how fragile your coping strategies are and how severe pain can break you very quickly if you are not aware of your emotional and mental wellbeing. It forces you to pay attention to those aspects, instead of just using that stoic facade we use to get through the day and pretend we are okay.

  6. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Nikki and everyone thanks so much 4 shareing. I have been feeling so low and need you all so that i understand others go thru same. Just getting up out of the chair and looking normal is hard. Sorry to be anon. but am not telling anyone what is wrong yet. Thnak you so much for your honesty


Thanks for your input