By now, I hope you have a good understanding of what tinnitus is and how many people are affected by this disorder. If you have not read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, take a second to go and check them out.
Tinnitus is a disorder that you may never have heard of, however, the statistics are staggering as to how many people suffer from this condition. Today, I hope to give you an idea of just how much tinnitus can affect a person’s life. We’ll also discuss the other disorders, known as co-occurring disorders, that often accompany it.
Research shows that the consequences of chronic pain and tinnitus are similar.
People who suffer from tinnitus can have serious emotional effects, reduced involvement in work-related activities, interpersonal (relational) problems, and decreased opportunities to participate in previously enjoyable activities. Even tinnitus patients with no hearing loss can experience any or all of these consequences.
Disorders that most commonly occur with tinnitus include:
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Tinnitus creates a significantly lower quality of life.
It affects everyday activities, interactions, and even sleep. Because of this, a high percentage of tinnitus sufferers report feeling anxious or depressed. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder also often accompanies tinnitus.
When occurring with tinnitus, psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression, often have the potential to worsen or intensify one another. In other words, studies show that anxiety can make tinnitus symptoms worse and vice versa.
Because of the debilitating affects tinnitus can have on a person’s life, suicidal thoughts and completed suicide have been seen to occur with this disorder. Suicidal thoughts and warning signs should be taken very seriously.
Examples of suicide warning signs include:
Talking about suicide
Getting the means to complete suicide (a gun, pills, etc.)
Withdrawing from social contact
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Doing risky or self destructive things
Saying goodbye to loved ones
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get help right now. Call 911 immediately or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.
In the next part of our series, we’ll discuss the treatment options for those who suffer with tinnitus.
Amanda Dempsey, MA MFT