A year ago I started to discover some additional or surprising – to me at least – symptoms of depression. When thinking about depression, what does come to mind? Maybe a sad mood, gloomy thoughts or a more introvert life style. So I thought but there was a whole lot more to discover and subsequently to deal with. It’s all interesting to read about when you see the list of symptoms of depression wrote out in de DSM V but to live with them on a permanent basis, that is something else!
As I started to understand more about depression I’ve managed to recognize some of the symptoms that come along. For me, that works reassuring because I am able to relate some things that are happening with me to the illness and I’m not making character flaws out of them. When depression messes up with my mind, now at least I know that it dares to lie to me. I can put it into perspective. I try to manage it.
Some of the symptoms I wrote about you can read in my series ‘Surprising Symptoms of Depression’ Another symptom that is a surprise to me was when I was met with excessive teeth grinding, clenching or better known as ‘bruxism’.
Why is teeth clenching something to address?
I’ve never ever had it, that I know of. Not as a child, not as a teenager, not in periods of stress or anything. But it did came around and sometimes I grind so hard that Pierre was woken up by the noise and called me lovingly his ‘land mower’. A part from the noise and that it’s really bad for your teeth, bruxism comes with other symptoms during the day. I had facial pain, so much pain that I couldn’t bite or chew my food anymore. While having less appetite due to depression, I still ate something. I like to nibble on nuts when I don’t feel like eating anything else but that wasn’t possible anymore. The tension in my cheek was so bad that I cried myself to sleep. Every time I lay down my head on the pillow the pain became worse. It disrupts sleep and eats away at sleep quality (pun intended).
Where does it come from?
Bruxing can be influenced by many factors. One of them is stress. When people tend to be more tense during the day, the theory goes that the body wants to get rid of that additional stress by moving and you start to grind. This can also happen during the day but it’s more easy to control as you notice it more quickly.
One thing that stress will do is increase adrenaline, which mobilizes energy in the body and can manifest in teeth grinding when you’re not moving your body.
Other factors that can play a role are depression, antidepressants (I can’t win here!) , alcohol, nicotine, caffeine. The remedy could be to relax more before bedtime. Even some exercise could help to ‘loosen up’.
What can you do about it?
Doctors also recommends physical exercise. Not only does moving the body off-load adrenaline that may be associated with nighttime grinding, but they say that exercise can also change neurotransmitters in the brain that help us cope with stress.
Secondly you can obtain a night guard, which I’ve done. I had it custom made by my dentist. It was quite pricey but I would give a lot to have a pain free night and dinner. Sleep and food is somewhere at the basis for a human being no? I know you can also buy them on the internet but I can’t tell you if that’s good or bad as I don’t have any experience with that. You can read about the different types of night guards here.
Relaxation before bedtime is also a strategy that is recommended. It is just better for yourself, sleep quality and your mind. You can take a bath, read a little, listen to soft music. My doctor prescribed other sleeping medications for me, not especially for bruxism but to be able to reach deep sleep. It ‘s all related.
Have you ever heard of bruxism or do you suffer(ed) from it? What are your experiences or do you have tips or recommendations? Let me know it the comments!
Notes and further reads.
Online article. American Sleep Association. Bruxism, teeth grinding symptoms, treatment and causes.
Online article. American Sleep Association. Night Guard for Bruxism: Teeth Grinding and Clenching.
Online article. Texas A&M Health, Vital Record. (2017). A breakdown of teeth grinding.
Surprising for me at least. Hello and welcome to my blog. I would like to share some surprising side-effects I experienced during my burnout and depression. I must admit that my thoughts of what a burnout and depression felt like were adjusted quite a bit. Initially, I thought that burnout made you feel tired and … Continue reading Depression/burnout and surprising symptoms. Part 1.
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