Can Antidepressants and Other Medications Help Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Michael Leigh, Nov 10, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Can antidepressants and other medications help tinnitus?

      Tinnitus is a complex condition that comes in many forms and intensities and no two people experience it the same. It can be: mild, moderate, severe or extremely severe. Because its intensity can vary considerably, it can be difficult to know what another person is going through. When it is mild or moderate, many people are able to habituate to it and carry on with their life doing everything that they want to and may not always need a referral to ENT or a hearing therapist for treatment.

      Tinnitus starts to become a problem when it loud and intrusive. If this level of intensity is sustained for a period of time, life can become a very traumatic experience, especially for someone that is new to the condition. A person’s once peaceful world has suddenly been invaded by an unwanted interloper, and it can seem there is no end to the nightmare that has befallen upon them. Insomnia, stress and anxiety are common conditions affecting such a person, which can often make the tinnitus, seem louder and more intrusive. Stress makes tinnitus worse and tinnitus makes stress worse. So, the more relaxed someone is the less intrusive the tinnitus will appear to be and often making life more tolerable.

      If your GP suggests taking an antidepressant or a sleeping draft then I advise you to consider it. However, for various reasons some people are averse to taking medications, and when it comes to antidepressants or sleeping tablets they vehemently oppose the idea and prefer to deal with the problem without assistance from prescription drugs. Admirable as this might seem, coping with intrusive tinnitus isn’t easy. The usual methods of keeping busy to distract one’s attention from the noise or masking it with another sound so that it can’t be heard often prove unsuccessful and at times exhausting, because tinnitus is quite resilient and will put up a fight.

      Contrary to what some people believe, antidepressants or other medications to help cope with tinnitus, don’t have to be taken long term and can act as a safety net, helping to prevent a person becoming too down. Remember, the less stressed and relaxed we are, the less intrusive the tinnitus will appear to be. This can go a long way in helping a person to habituate to the condition with time.

      Some medications can make tinnitus more intrusive and this has been said about antidepressants. However, in many cases the effects are usually temporary. As we are all different it wouldn’t be right to say everyone that takes AD will be adversely affected. My blood pressure medicine is listed as “can cause ringing in the ears”. I haven’t noticed any increase in my tinnitus and I have been taking it for quite some time.

      Life can be problematic even at the best of times. With the added pressure of coping with intrusive tinnitus, may advice is to try and make things a easier on yourself. Talk to your doctor and if an antidepressant or other medications is advised then try it and give it time to work, at least six weeks.

      Michael
       
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    2. Penate

      Penate Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/04/2015
      Michael well said my tinnitus and hyperacusiss is ridiculous big jets engines in my ears power transformer in my head multiple sounds high and low pitch , reactive and hyperacusiss, so laugh some make me stone and some time can even open my eyes, 2 years now still the same, I have 2 kids I love them too much, never stop working in noisy shop , I refuse to take AD bot is NOTHING for this evil horrendous condition I been trying many things but nothing I lose 65 pounds in less than a year I don't know what else to do.
       
    3. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      Agree and anxiety component of tinnitus can't or shouldn't be denied and why antidepressants can be so helpful to some. Anxiety seems to be even a precursor to tinnitus with release of stress hormone cortisone often mentioned as a culprit to contracting T. Anxiety can further spike when T doesn't go away. Therefore a little help in normalizing brain chemistry via antidepressants even temporarily makes good sense.
       
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    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Thank you Penate. I am sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time with tinnitus and hyperacusis. Have you been referred to hearing therapist for treatment? I suspect that your tinnitus might have been caused by exposure to loud noise since you have hyperacsusis? It would be helpful if you could say what kind of treatment (if any) that you have had so far.
      Michael
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I agree with you stophiss. According to Professor Pawel Jasterboff, developer of TRT, tinnitus is generated in the part of the brain known as the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotions: love, hate fear etc It is no wonder this condition can be so difficult for some people to manage when it is severe.
       
      Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
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    6. Penate

      Penate Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/04/2015
      Yes my tinnitus is long history, in 1983 my father shots accidentally close to me and my tinnitus started but very mild one ear only heard at night, no problem for 30 years I'm a professional musician, my nightmares start last year something exploded close to me and boom now my life is over, and yes I being trying every thing including hearing aids and nothing.
       
    7. AuntSally

      AuntSally Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      I'm in such a dilemma with this. I'm suffering a lot of fear anxiety and insomnia since t started five months ago. I'm not averse to meds if they help but in this case (tinnitus) everything I've done with meds seems to have made the t a bit worse. I recently tried mirtazapine, for three weeks, but it gave me heart palpitations and and I think added a new kind of head static noise that I didn't have before. I just dont know. I want to believe that time will heal. And I think I could handle the t if only I could sleep. Things just getting worse at the moment. Really horrible. Today I'm back to a full feeling and a sort of loud wind rushing in my right ear, with pulsing.
       
      Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @AuntSally Sleep depravation is something that needs to be addressed and I suggest you have another word with your GP. My post was mainly written for people such as yourself, that are new to tinnitus and having a difficult time coping with it. Try and stay with the medication it takes time to build up in the body. I know some people don't like taking meds but one has to consider, tinnitus isn't easy to deal with when it's loud and intrusive.
      Michael
       
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    9. AuntSally

      AuntSally Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      Yes thanks for all this michael. I know. But I am equally afraid of meds now due to some bad experiences, and afraid of withdrawals. Also I'm thinking that t will still be there after taking antidepressants. Then what? And what if I'm stuck on them for life? I'm 58.
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @AuntSally
      As I have said in my post, an antidepressant doesn’t have to be taken long term contrary to what some people believe and the benefits will be realized once you give it a chance to work. Ask your GP if it’s possible to be referred to a hearing therapist for tinnitus counselling. It is still early days for you but I feel it will help.

      Counselling along with medication will help take away and demystify the negative thinking that is often associated with tinnitus.
      Michael
       
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    11. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      You aren't stuck. You don't understand cause and effect.
      A life altering event like T causes great anxiety. Many that contract T had anxiety going in and in part why they got it...as Michael explained...interaction with limbic system.
      You don't take antidepressants to eliminate T. You take them to re-balance your brain chemistry so you can think more objectively and make better decisions instead of being in a state of anxiety where you make T in your life a bigger deal than it is.
      Here is another way to look at T. You are 1,00000000000000000. T is 1.
      Many who take antidepressants find their T eventually goes down because they are less focused on it and they can habituate easier. The integer comparison above becomes more real. This takes time. Once you retrain yourself to put T in proper perspective and it becomes more a part of you...like a change in your hair color and you accept it instead of fighting it, many can go back off antidepressants because they now have revised memories aka new neuropathways that allow them to live just fine with T...like the family that moves next to a train track unknowingly who freaks out at first about the noise. After a few months, they no longer hear the trains and actually enjoy hearing the train whistle from afar.

      If there is lesson in life and what T teaches is, being afraid of things is not a good way to live life. People need to address their fears to live a fuller life. None of get out of life alive and life is precious and fleeting. So don't squander each day fretting about being no longer perfect. When given a challenge it takes time to adjust to it. Most with T however do adjust after going through a rough spell.
       
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    12. AuntSally

      AuntSally Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      On the big issue of how to move forward if T sticks around a while......Everyone wants to habituate as quickly as possible. Or at least get to acceptance, and learn to adapt. Do antidepressants impede or help this process though? There is a school of thought that says they prevent or at least delay this natural process.
      "Some research suggests that antidepressants and antianxiety medications may reduce neural plasticity, making it harder for patients to naturally habituate to tinnitus over time."
      https://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus/treatment-options/drug-therapies

      @stophiss thank you. I love this.
       
    13. Andrea White
      Artistic

      Andrea White Member

      Location:
      Reading
      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not known, probably regular ear cleansing/syringing
      Michael, what a thoughtful person you must be. I have intrusive T (for about a year now) I did manage to put it aside for the first three months using Mindfulness Mediation, but it gradually wore off and because I didn't keep up with the Meditation, I began to sink into a slough of despond!! Eventually I realised that I was depressed, I lost interest in life and felt sad - I wanted to burst out crying all the time. As I had never suffered from depression before, I didn't realise I had it - can you believe this. Eventually, I went to see my GP - we reviewed the options, I opted for Amriptyline - there's a PUBMED clinical trial which was very positive for this AD. No side effects except for a dry mouth at the beginning. No drowsiness either.

      Now I feel completely normal, I've got my life back - I know that some people experience an increase in their T - but that has not happened to me. I really thank god we have these choices now. I can't see the point in suffering.

      Hope this helps some who may be havering on ADs.
       
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    14. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      Great post AuntSally. My response is...would depend on the level of anxiety. Some are paralyzed by anxiety and it is a much greater contributor to thwarting habituation than any detriment to habituation resulting from taking antidepressant meds. Arguable the equation gets skewed a bit more if having very mild or more normal anxiety resulting from T and taking AD meds.

      The other thing about AD meds is...people tend to look at them in binary terms. They are anything but. There are many different varieties of AD meds and dosage is king. Honestly, it is almost overwhelming to choose a suitable AD med. Even professionals flounder...constantly. No universal truth because our level of anxiety varies in magnitude and with respect to time and circumstance, dosage is affected by body weight and balance of brain chemistry. A mind boggling equation of variables and why it takes copious trial and error and is in fact a moving target and can take years to find the proper balance if there even is such a thing. But there is one immutable truth. People know when they are feeling better or worse and they find themselves laughing at themselves and life a bit more and not crying all the time as often reported here.

      I have written before that people have no free will. We really don't. We are victims of our environment and brain anatomy and we didn't pick our parents either. Anxiety for example runs on my mother's side of the family. I also believe genetics plays a substantial role in the presence of tinnitus...interacting with a given environment over time...a predisposition. Sometimes we need to go to the medicine cabinet for a little help...sparingly hopefully.
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @AuntSally
      Thanks for posting the article in the link, which I found interesting. The habituation process will be different for everyone and it is something that cannot be rushed. I have had tinnitus for 20 years and habituated to it twice. The second time it took 4 years to habituate and believe me it wasn’t easy, and I don’t think I would have been able to do it without taking clonazepam, which was prescribed after I had two years of TRT.

      As I have previously said: when tinnitus is mild or moderate many people are able to habituate to it and may not always need to be referred to clinic for treatment. The type of tinnitus that is severe and intrusive is an entirely different thing, because it affects our emotional well-being and cannot be easily dismissed. If one isn’t careful they can find themselves slipping into depression and this will make the tinnitus more intrusive. I don’t want to elaborate further on this, as I don’t want to frighten anyone. All I will say, lack of sleep isn’t good and needs to be addressed so I advise talking to your doctor.

      Michael
       
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    16. Scared111

      Scared111 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      michael.it took 4 years to habituat?. how did you live during the 4 years? with anxiety and panic? i am 4 months in.I tried to ward off meds but now on clonzapm . i only try to give in once a day for night time to sleep. however, during the day time, i still have anxiety, fear in back of my mind. like I am not in a normal state . I try to go do what i need to do with my three kids but i break down bc partly my mind always thinks I cant live like this. I want to end it but i look at my kids and think how would they survive.. how would they feel if their mother is gone. not that suicide is easy either. so, i continue but i dont know how to get thru this awful mess. i feel no sense of happiness like i used to with my kids. the clonzapam i take sometimes during the day helps to dull the anxiety a bit. at this point, I think i need an antidepressant as well. I tthink i am falling into a a bottom of despair. therpaist is probably something else i need. does anyone feel a masker help at all? or does it in long term make it worse? i dont have hearing loss so I am not sure how does it mask the sound while allowing you to hear as well?
      i thank all the people who are supporting everyone through this time.
      sam
       
    17. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Scared111
      Hi Sam,
      In tinnitus terms some people would regard me as a veteran having had it for 20 years. I feel it was my years of experience that helped get me through the 4 years habituation process. This enabled me to guard against slipping into depression. My stress and anxiety was managed by my positivity, which was stretched to the limited at times, but somehow I kept my focus, and believed things would eventually get better. I was an avid reader and hadn’t read a book in two years and missed that terribly.

      If you would like to read “My experience with tinnitus” please click on the link below. As you are new to tinnitus you might find my article: An Introduction to tinnitus, helpful. Please click on the link is below.
      Hope you start to feel better soon

      Michael
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/my-experience-with-tinnitus.12076/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/an-introduction-to-tinnitus.12100/
       
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    18. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Andrea White
      HI Andrea,
      Thank you for your very kind comments. I am pleased that you are feeling better and hope that you continue to make improvement.
      Wishing you all the best
      Michael
       
    19. Gr8fulDude
      Balanced

      Gr8fulDude Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Some good comments here.

      The anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and sleep meds can really help through the early, dark and sleepless days when the limbic system has the brain on high alert, fixated on the new disturbing noise. But it is often just a step on the path to wellness. Without sleep it is hard to feel better about anything. CBT counseling is an important complement to the medication. On the herbal front, magnesium, melatonin and valarian are recommended for sleep. Soft white noise at night and some mediation and deep breathing exercises before sleep can do magic.

      Hopefully, over time, the habituation process will start where you forget about the T more and more to the point you don't really care about it or react when you do notice it. This is how it happened to me. For those new to T, please know that it will happen to you too.
       
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    20. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I agree with you @Gr8fulDude Some people believe taking an anti-depressant or sleeping tablets to help with tinnitus is an indication they are unable to cope naturally with the condition, and this will delay the habituation process. There is nothing natural about tinnitus for it is an anomaly, indicating something has gone wrong within the auditory system.

      When this condition is severe it can be very debilitating and therefore, I believe these medications can help a person’s state of mind immensely and in some cases, prevent someone spiralling down into such a deep depression, they have to be hospitalised which I’m sad to say, has happened to a few people that have contacted me for help, when they have been in a lot of distress with their tinnitus.

      Michael
       

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