I’ve recently realised that one of the symptoms of Depression can be pain – usually in the form of headaches, but also in the form of generalised aching or tiredness.
You might think I’d have realised this before, like sometime over the last twenty years. But we aren’t always that observant, especially for things that we take for granted or which are so normal and everyday that we don’t really pay attention to them.
Anyway, it seems like pain accompanies Depression, and significantly, if we reduce or remove the pain, it can help with the Depression. I don’t think painkillers makes the Depression go away, but they help us feel better. And feeling better is a good thing.
In addition, if we reduce the pain of the headaches or general tiredness, we can focus better, which helps us organise to get more things done than we would otherwise do. And that’s also a good thing.
Well, actually, I have somewhat known about the pain – Depression connection. For many years I knew that if I started back to exercise after a period of doing nothing, or if I have a hard workout, then the tiredness or the aching could trigger a depression episode. And that if I took painkillers for the next day or so, I could avoid the depression episode.
While I have anecdotal evidence, I don’t have much hard evidence about whether the painkillers do anything, and I would suspect that even if they do, the amount of help would vary from person to person. But over the counter painkillers like Panadol are relatively safe and can be taken for a few days – that’s what we do when we have the flu.
If you are Depressed and still functional, but you are nevertheless finding it hard to get through the day because of tiredness or headaches, it may be worth trying a painkiller to see if it helps out.
The usual cautions apply. Take any drug only as directed, and check first to make sure it doesn’t interact with any other meds you might be taking, and that it doesn’t interact with any medical issues you have.
Note that I’m not using any complicated painkillers – I’m using Panadol (acetaminophen) and I won’t recommend any stronger painkillers, and I won’t recommend doses higher than that recommended on the box.