How Psychological Health Ties Into Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes a number of problems that are usually interlinked. The most common signs that signal the presence of fibromyalgia are the presence of consistent and chronic pain along with slight to severe depression.

Other symptoms include the disturbance of sleep patterns and moods. Another symptom that is commonly seen is the loss or deterioration of cognitive function.  Patients who suffer from fibromyalgia tend to have problems in short term and long-term memory.  They also have problems concentrating on tasks and performing complex duties.  When of the most common problems that is seen in patients suffering from this disease is that they’re unable to multitask and prioritize their work correctly.

The most problematic issue for all patients who suffer from this disease is that of the chronic pain.  This chronic pain can cause a number of secondary problems.  The first of these is depression.  Pain related depression affects people even when they’re not an active pain.  This is caught because the patients tend to anticipate the pain that they know will be coming shortly.  This can cause a lot of problems in daily life and can seriously affect the way a person functions at both work and in social relationships.  This disease is a very complicated mix of psychological and physiological phenomenon and even with the best minds in medical science working on it continuously, there’s still no clear-cut cause that has been identified as the primary one.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can be seen in a number of patients with very different characteristics.  What this means is that and that it is difficult to point out the exact cause for this disease in every single patient.  There are a number of similarities that can be seen between various patients who suffer from the disease all over the world. Few things are definitively known about the causes of fibromyalgia. Among the things that are clearly understood about this disease is the fact that it is hereditary and genetically linked. This places people who have relatives with the disease at a greater risk than those who do not.

How Psychological Health Ties Into Fibromyalgia

While the cause is unknown the effects of this disease have been studied in great detail.  The most common theory is that the main cause of the pain that is associated with his disease is caused due to abnormal functioning of the central nervous system in response to pain.  One way to study this affect is to use functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the different responses of different patients and healthy people when they’re exposed to pain in controlled conditions.  The most significant difference between healthy people and patients afflicted with fibromyalgia can be seen in the neurons their close to the spinal cord and a responsible for handling pain sensations.  In healthy people the number of neurons that fire in response to pain is significantly less when compared to people suffering from fibromyalgia.  In patients the response to pain is greatly amplified and the impulses that serve to control the pain and reduce it are not very strong.

Where does psychology come in?

It is been consistently seen that people with psychological disorders form a greater fraction of fibromyalgia than it does in normal people.  This is because fibromyalgia is also thought to be triggered by psychological disorders such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.  In addition to this, people consistently suffer from chronic pain and thus are also chronically depressed have a higher risk of developing this disease.  This is the reason maintaining proper psychological health is of crucial importance in order to prevent diseases like fibromyalgia.  It is in fact hypothesize that depression might actually act as a trigger for this disease.

One sign that psychological problems can cause fibromyalgia can be seen from the fact that the issues of this disease respond well to psychological treatment.  Cognitive behavioral therapy and other psychological therapies have been demonstrated to cause a slight decrease in the pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.  Having a positive and healthy outlook on life is one of the most important things that anyone can do to maintain good psychological health.  Such an outlook and positive attitude help people by protecting them from depression and other psychological problems.  The elimination or proper management of the psychological issues can be shown to go a great way in not only managing the symptoms and the pain associated with fibromyalgia but also in controlling the triggers of this disease.  People were psychologically sound have a much lower probability of developing fibromyalgia than people who have been exposed to conditions in situations that can potentially cause psychological problems like stress and depression.  This is the reason why this disease also affects a large number of the armed forces.