An introduction to mood swings and fibromyalgia
Emotional and mood problems are common among fibromyalgia sufferers, and mood swings are a prevalent and troublesome symptom. A mood swing is when we feel relaxed and cheerful one minute, then down, angry, frustrated or upset the next. Often the changes in mood are unexplainable, which is why it makes it a difficult symptom for you and those around you to cope with.
Why does fibromyalgia cause mood swings?
It is thought that chemical imbalances in the brain which are often responsible for mood swings are also responsible for fibromyalgia, explaining why the two may be linked.
However, it is also thought that the pain which fibromyalgia patients experience contributes to their mood swings. Being in constant pain can drain energy as well as leave you feeling stressed and anxious. Add to this an extra deadline or even something as simple as misplacing the car keys, it can tip you over the edge.
Additionally, not getting enough good quality sleep at night can make you more susceptible to mood swings. Sleep problems are common for fibromyalgia sufferers, perhaps contributing to mood problems.
What home remedies are there for mood swings?
Diet plays an important role in managing your mood. As your blood sugar level affects your mood, it is important to try to keep this on an even keel by watching your diet. Eating refined sugar and caffeine may elevate your mood temporarily, but will cause a big drop in your blood sugar level and mood soon after. Similarly, though alcohol may make you feel better short-term, it acts as a depressant in the long run, and may result in further mood problems.
There is also a correlation between mood and magnesium, as well as magnesium and fatigue and muscle cramps. Therefore, ensuring you are including enough magnesium in your diet, or taking a magnesium supplement may be worthwhile.
Managing stress is also important. We all face a certain amount of stress in our lives, but some people are able to cope with it more effectively than others. Finding your own effective stress managing techniques, such as exercise or talking therapies, may have a positive influence over your mood.
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Are there herbal remedies to help me?
Herbal remedies are often most effective when taken alongside home remedies, as this helps to influence your body naturally. Hypericum, also known as St. John’s Wort, is one of the most widely used and researched herbs for low mood and mood swings. It is thought to work by influencing the neurotransmitters in the brain.
If you are already taking prescription medicines from your doctor, it is worth discussing with your doctor or pharmacist if it is advisable to take St. John’s Wort as it may influence the way they work.
What about conventional medicines?
A doctor is likely to suggest some form of talking therapy, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which influences the way that you perceive and react to a situation. Many people find these types of therapies extremely effective. However, if you are still experiencing mood swings, your doctor will check that you are not suffering from a more severe mood disorder, such as depression.
The last resort is usually prescribed drugs such as anti-depressants. There are several types of these drugs, and your doctor will discuss with you which type is likely to be most effective with the least side-effects.