Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Lourdes Salvador is the founder of MCS America, a science writer, and a social advocate for the greater awareness of environmental contamination, human toxicology, and propagation of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults.
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Fibromyalgia Not Caused By Depression Says StudyFibromyalgia Not Caused By Depression Says Study
by Lourdes Salvador
New research from the Center for Neurosensory Disorders suggests that fibromyalgia is a functional pain disorder more appropriately grouped with other functional pain disorders, rather than as a group of genetic conditions treated with antidepressants and known as affective spectrum disorders.
Previously, researchers believed that that fibromyalgia may be caused by depression. However, current research has uncovered many physiological variations in fibromyalgia patients that cannot be explained by depression.
Gracely and colleagues comment on several aspects of fibromyalgia which support the development of reactive depression in a small subgroup of fibromyalgia patients. Similar to cases of new diabetes and cancer diagnoses, a subgroup of patients with fibromyalgia develop depression; however, the depression occurs after the fibromyalgia rather than before.
Reactive or situational depression is defined as a depressed mood often present when adjusting to a stressful life event such as a fibromyalgia, cancer, or diabetes diagnosis, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or divorce. This type of depression stems from feeling blue about a situation. In the case of fibromyalgia, it may stem from being in pain and unable to fully engage in life or earn a living. The depression lifts when the situation is resolved or improved.
The situational depression that occurs in some cases of fibromyalgia stems from being forced to adapt to the onset of illness. Often it is difficult and takes time to obtain a proper diagnosis. In the interim, friends and family may not take the patient complaints seriously leading to undue suffering, stress, and hardship.
Many fibromyalgia patients do not develop depression at all, particularly those who are diagnosed early and have good medical care, strong support systems, and effective coping strategies that make adapting to illness less stressful.
One of the challenges in fibromyalgia is the invisible nature of the condition. The patient may be suffering greatly; however, appears perfectly normal on the outside.
Pain is always real, regardless of the cause. Stressing and angering a patient by telling them they are overreacting, they should just be happy, or nothing is really wrong may lead to reactionary depression and prevent proper diagnosis and care that can greatly improve life. Likewise, being supportive and validating can help to prevent unnecessary cases of situational depression and encourage finding the source of the pain and adapting well to the challenges it presents.
Gracely RH, Ceko M, Bushnell MC. Fibromyalgia and depression. Pain Res Treat. 2012;2012:486590. Epub 2011 Nov 19.
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