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Are the symptoms of shingles known to affect a person's mental state?

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Posted on Mon, 25 May 2015
Question: I had an outbreak of shingles on my face about a year ago. I still have a loss of feeling in the area, but what concerns me now is a feeling of depression and tiredness that is debilitating at times. Are the symptoms of shingles known to affect a person's mental state?
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Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman (21 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
only secondarily

Detailed Answer:
Shingles hits nerves outside of the head. Depression might be complex, but it isn't located outside of the head.
If someone has continual severe electrical shocks in the area of the shingles, sure, that would affect someone's outlook on life.......but
The key point about neuropathic pain with shingles is that the worse it is, the more likely it is to get a fabulous result from treatment.
The older anti-depressants are very very good on shingles pain, but are somewhat effective on depression. The newer anti-depressant pain medicine like cymbalta are a bit better on depression and a bit worse for pain.
With funny feelings from previous shingles:
1) this is common. it is NOT made up. We know the nerves get damaged and this makes the nerves feel funny. It is not a psychological condition.
2) the medications will change the feeling... it won't do that much to it. It will NOT re-establish normal sensation.
3) people with this disorder still get broken bones, stomach flu, and......
depression.
these are all equally treatable if someone has previously had shingles.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Matt Wachsman

Addiction Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1985

Answered : 4201 Questions

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Are the symptoms of shingles known to affect a person's mental state?

Brief Answer: only secondarily Detailed Answer: Shingles hits nerves outside of the head. Depression might be complex, but it isn't located outside of the head. If someone has continual severe electrical shocks in the area of the shingles, sure, that would affect someone's outlook on life.......but The key point about neuropathic pain with shingles is that the worse it is, the more likely it is to get a fabulous result from treatment. The older anti-depressants are very very good on shingles pain, but are somewhat effective on depression. The newer anti-depressant pain medicine like cymbalta are a bit better on depression and a bit worse for pain. With funny feelings from previous shingles: 1) this is common. it is NOT made up. We know the nerves get damaged and this makes the nerves feel funny. It is not a psychological condition. 2) the medications will change the feeling... it won't do that much to it. It will NOT re-establish normal sensation. 3) people with this disorder still get broken bones, stomach flu, and...... depression. these are all equally treatable if someone has previously had shingles.