Covid-19 has given us lots of worries and grief with some people suffering from depression. Also due to Covid-19 we do not have the connection with therapists and mental health professionals which has made it even harder on people who are struggling.
However, help is at hand via a test you can take online. Brain Center TMS have created a resource page where people can take a PHQ-9 depression test for self-evaluation. Their resource also provides insight on different types of depression and ways to treat it, which you can see here.
The obvious use for antidepressants is for depression but now tricyclic antidepressants are used widely for back pain and fibromyalgia. They have been proven to treat some cases of chronic pain. Amitriptyline is one of the widely used tricyclic antidepressants used for the treatment of chronic back pain and fibromyalgia. The British Pain Society say Amitriptyline works by increasing the number of specific nerve transmitters in the nervous system, reducing pain messages arriving in the brain.
The NHS state that ‘Antidepressant medication can also help to relieve pain for some people with fibromyalgia. They boost the levels of certain chemicals that carry messages to and from the brain, known as neurotransmitters.
Low levels of neurotransmitters may be a factor in fibromyalgia, and it’s believed that increasing their levels may ease the widespread pain associated with the condition. There are different types of antidepressants. The choice of medicine largely depends on the severity of your symptoms and any side effects the medicine may cause.
Antidepressants used to treat fibromyalgia include:
- tricyclic antidepressants – such as amitriptyline
- serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) – such as duloxetine and venlafaxine
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – such as fluoxetine and paroxetine
A medication called pramipexole, which isn’t an antidepressant, but also affects the levels of neurotransmitters, is sometimes used as well. There are a number of side effects from taking antidepressants which can include any of the following:
- feeling sick
- dry mouth
- feeling agitated, shaky or anxious
- weight gain
According to Brain Centre TMS there are many types of depression, there are certain symptoms that are common across depressive disorders. These symptoms provide the foundation for depression self-evaluations and diagnostic processes used by mental health professionals.
For example, the PHQ-9 often asks questions such as “How often have you been bothered by feeling tired or having little energy?” and “How often have you caught yourself speaking or moving slower than usual?” to assess fatigue, which is a hallmark symptom of depression. The more severe the depression, the more frequently these symptoms tend to occur.
You may have depression if you have experienced at least some of the following symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks:
- Feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Fluctuations in weight
- Irritability and agitation
- Decreased energy levels
- Restlessness and fidgeting
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Just reading this list immediately relates to many chronic pain and fibromyalgia sufferers but the online self-evaluation test might help you to decide if you need more advice on depression rather than for the pain.