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Re: Tinnitus and Depression

Posted by Sean on April 27, 1999, at 17:12:02

In reply to Tinnitus and Depression, posted by Betsy on April 27, 1999, at 8:53:47

> Some background:
> I know it sounds cliche, but its true....
> I have a friend (actually, its a friend's girlfriend)
> who has had clinical depression for a very long time.
> I'm sure a lot of it is stuff that can be worked out
> in therapy, though meds seem to be indicated at least
> for the short-term. However, she had never been
> interested in seeking help.
> About 7 months ago, she developed tinnitus (a consistent
> ringing in her ears) and it has gotten so bad that it
> has exacerbated the depression and at times made her
> suicidal. She gets into circular thinking patterns
> because of this tinnitus and its digging her deeper
> into her depths of depression.
> In some ways the tinnitus is a blessing, though, as she
> is *finally* starting to get some help - she's started
> on Edronax (she doesn't live in the US) and that is
> helping her mood somewhat, but she feels she needs to
> get help for the tinnitus before anything else, since
> that is what seems to be making her usual depression
> more acute and causing the suicidal thoughts.
> The Question:
> The tinnitus developed with no apparent "reason".
> She did not suffer a blow to the head or ear, was not
> exposed to a loud noise or sustaned periods of noise.
> It just appeared one day.
> Could this be a symptom of the depression? A sign of
> something else? Has anyone heard of this happening
> spontaneously in connection to some other condition?
> I've urged him to take her for blood-work, to get
> her thyroid checked as well as other hormonal and
> chemical levels, but I don't think they've done that
> yet. I was wondering if anyone knew of a link between
> tinnitus and depression (other than tinnitus causing
> depression - the depression came first...) Is it possible
> they're both symptoms of some other disorder?
> Any help is greatly appreciated!
> Betsy
> (PS - it was her side-effect reactions to Edronax that
> led me to this website, and led me to learn more about
> my own treatment for depression. What a wonderful
> resource on the web! Thank you all!)

I think it may be connected although I searched
for answer to this (and related questions) for
a long time.

Here's my opinion (even though I'm not a doc!)

In migraine headaches, there is this things called
the "aura" which can involve all sorts of odd
somatic symptoms. Because the migraine is usually
a temporary event, it is fairly easy to connect
the somatic symptoms with the headache and then
postulate some sort of neuro-physiological
relationship (even if you don't know exactly what
it might be).

Is it that far-fetched to imagine aura's associated
with depression? I don't think so, and yet all
you read about is mood, food, and sleep patterns.

I have had both tinnitus and smell hallucinations
associated with depression, and yet the closest
I've been able to get to an affective disorder
is Complex Partial Siezure which is sometimes
comorbid (occuring together) with bipolar

Because my moods are fairly episodic, and I've been
watched myself closely for many years, I think
there is a connection in my case, although both
my pdoc and neurologist kind of ignore the whole
thing because (a) I'm not having a major siezure
in the eyes of the neurologist and (b) these are
not classic "affective" symptoms in the eyes of
the pdoc. Trapped between pardigms as it were...

I hear (no pun intended) that some new treatments
for tinnitus are emerging, so maybe these are
worth looking into. I do find that I can ignore
the tinnitus to some degree, but then maybe my
tinnitus is not that bad. A full oto-neuro workup
seems like a good place to start. Good luck,





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