Whistling In Ear
Tinnitus, "the noise," is running through your brain on hundreds of highways called neural pathways. These neural pathways may be visualized as roads between brain cells. The "intersections" in the brain's highways are called synapses.
These intersections do not actually touch each other. The open space between the cell arms is called the synapse. The highways are made up of axons and dendrites. (It's not necessary that you know this, but it's interesting.). Information is sent from one cell to another via a neurotransmitter, much like a cellular phone call; and wires do not connect the "phones". We'll talk a little more about these neurons and neurotransmitters in a moment.
First, it will be useful for you to understand some ways people get depressed, feel stressed, become panicked, or experience anxiety, and, how all of this relates to tinnitus. In 1995, I coined an acronym, S.P.A.D.E (or SPADE), to represent the following:
S – Stress
P- Panic Disorder
A – Anxiety
D – Depression
E – Emotional Challenges
Research into tinnitus suffering shows that the "ingredients" of SPADE tend to predispose people to tinnitus (and other somatics as well). SPADE is a significant set of variables in determining who will experience suffering from tinnitus and who will not. SPADE is most likely a significant variable in who experiences tinnitus after exposure to loud noise or other physical stimuli. The emotional part of our brain, it appears, is critical in the experience, suffering, and relief from tinnitus.
There may be a stigma that goes with this line of thinking. If we acknowledge an emotional component to the onset, and later to suffering of tinnitus, we acknowledge that it is at least tangentially something that could be "mistaken" as a "mental illness." However, since such terms are useless in the healing process, we will not concern ourselves with such labels. You can call anxiety a "brain cold" and "depression" a case of the "mind flu" The name doesn't matter, getting better does. Our objective will always be the reduction and/or elimination of tinnitus. Period.
Tinnitus suffering is positively correlated to all the elements of SPADE. The literature is crystal clear on this. It doesn't mean that YOUR experience of tinnitus is caused by part of SPADE, but it means that something there probably played a role and it needs to be treated.
The emotional part of our brain, it appears, is critical in the experience, suffering, and relief from tinnitus, For now, consider the insidious relationship between brain chemistry and stress, stress and depression, and all of these emotional states and tinnitus. In SPADE, "the first factor" seems to be stress.
In 1993, Dr. G. W. Brown wrote that he discovered 84 percent of a large sample of depressed patients had experienced severe stress in the preceding year, compared to 32 percent of control subjects. Drs. Anisman and Zacharko have suggested that the depletion of certain neurotransmitters (e.g., of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) that are associated with stress may leave an individual sensitized to subsequent stress and thus less capable of coping with it. They view the inability to cope effectively with stress as a major predisposing factor in depression.
Important studies involving patients with tinnitus reveal that depression precedes a significantly large numbers of tinnitus cases. People not suffering from depression develop tinnitus less regularly.
Therefore, for at least a significantly large percentage of the patients suffering from tinnitus, we know that many were predisposed to tinnitus by depression and, before that, severe stress.
STOP. If you go into the doctors office and ask for an antidepressant or anti-anxiety for tinnitus because you read in this blog they will help you get well, your doctor will NOT prescribe it for you. She can't. You didn't use the magic words. There are NO medications approved for tinnitus treatment. None. Zip. Nada.
Therefore, if you say, "I read …" the doctor is almost obligated to tell you, "no." What are the magic words? You have to be clear with your doctor.
Doctor, I'm suffering from severe depression. I've been having thoughts of suicide (if this is true). My anxiety level is off the charts and I don't know if I can make it. I'm experiencing really loud tinnitus that makes it hard to think and almost impossible to work. I'm going crazy.
Now, the doctor can legally help you. In fact, your doctor is obligated to help you at this point Depression has an approved treatment. Anxiety has an approved treatment.
Tinnitus has NO approved pharmacological treatment. ls this some kind of a game your doctor is playing? No. Your doctor has to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for malpractice insurance. If your doctor treats you in an unorthodox manner and you come back to sue your doctor, he will lose, and his insurance rates go up. It makes no logical sense for a doctor to work with someone who has tinnitus. The risk certainly doesn't outweigh the reward.
Additionally, the anti-anxiety medications required to relieve severe anxiety and panic are those that will help you on your road to silence. Unfortunately they are monitored by pharmacy audits. The medical doctor under scrutiny will be required to justify prescriptions of certain kinds of medication.
If YOU were your doctor, you wouldn't even let … you … into the waiting room. Fortunately there are a lot of doctors who care out there. So make it easy for your doctor to work with you. I mentioned the antidepressants that will be of help.
We also know from various drug studies that anti-anxiety medications (Xanax) and anti-depressants (Pamelor) have been shown to reduce tinnitus volume in a significant number of patients. (76 percent and 43 percent respectively, compared to 4 percent for a placebo.)
Please also remember that I do not encourage Pamelor. I strongly suggest the newer more effective medications like Effexor and Lexapro. Zoloft is an excellent choice. Mixed results have happened with Prozac, but I've seen some pretty amazing things happen in those mixed results!
Anti-convulsants like KIonopin have also been shown to be successful in reducing tinnitus in large numbers of patients. Klonopin is regularly prescribed for individuals who suffer from epilepsy and/or related seizures. The beneficial effects for tinnitus reduction and distress reduction by these medications offer us our first clues as to the causes and potential elimination of tinnitus. To learn how to cure your Tinnitus fast, you have to check out Whistling In Ear.