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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Health and Spirituality Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I am depressed and have been diagnosed as bipolar. I also have migraine headaches. Am I completely off base in suspecting a connection between these conditions and fibromyalgia?

Answer

Most people with FM have low serum levels of serotonin, which can cause depression. (Chronic pain and poor sleep are in themselves sufficient reason for depression, one might think.) Some people have low levels of dopamine, another brain chemical, which can cause fatigue. In my research I have not come across anything linking FM to the manic phase of bipolar disorder, but I have personally known people whose (mild) bipolar symptoms disappeared when they got their FM under control. I have heard the same about migraines and FM, so I do not think you are off base at all.

03/14/98

Richard B. Patterson is a clinical psychologist in private practice in El Paso, TX. He is the author of three books on psychology and spirituality.

 

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