Possible Link Between Fibromyalgia and PTSD
Though pain has always been part of the human experience, fibromyalgia has only recently been recognized as a medical condition. In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA) introduced this condition as a disease 30 years ago. Since then, fibromyalgia was classified under code M-79-7 within The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).
Due to constant pain and mood changes, people suffering from fibromyalgia often need to take more sick days and visit their doctor more frequently, which poses an economic burden for both the health system and society as a whole. On the other hand, this condition has been poorly understood and has fallen under skepticism since its existence, meaning that those suffering from fibromyalgia might be struggling with stigmatization.
Recently, fibromyalgia has begun to be seen in a different light since Lady Gaga postponed her European concert tour. She revealed that due to chronic disabling pain, she would be unable to perform during the long-awaited tour.
Those who suffer from fibromyalgia have always complained about mood swings, constant pain hence they need to visit the doctor quiet frequently and take sick leaves. But at the same time, not everyone has good knowledge about this disease hence one can say that those who suffer from fibromyalgia are also struggling to live with stigmatization. Fibromyalgia is basically a constant chronic pain occurring all over the body wherein even a simple form of touch can lead to excruciating pain in that part of the body. Such individuals also suffer from other symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, sleep related issues and a weak memory occurring due to lack of sleep. This medical condition is commonly seen in women than in men.
Now let us talk about what is PTSD and what is the relation between fibromyalgia and PTSD. PTSD is basically a medical disorder that is said to develop after the individual has been exposed as a victim or a witness to any kind of trauma causing event such as refugee crisis, war, motor vehicle accident or an assault. During the period of acute stress, the body is said to mobilize the defending mechanisms with the fight to fight response. In such times the individual may experience a rush of adrenaline. Even if a month has passed after that traumatic event and the individual is still experiencing such symptoms or on a constant basis thinking of the incident, feeling anxious, having nightmares or an emotional numbness then there is a possibility that the PTSD has developed. Managing PTSD can be done through medications as well as counselling therapies.
Even though the symptoms of both FM and PTSD seem to be familiar but only an experienced doctor would be able to differentiate between both but now there are new evidences which show a link between FM and PTSD. In FM patients the sympathetic nervous system is affected and in case of PTSD it is obvious on the overproduction of cortisol and adrenaline. Hence there is a possible linkage that those with FM are at an increased risk of PTSD or it can be vice versa since both of these diseases are known to have the involvement of SNS. Also in addition, in both of these conditions there is serotonin imbalance found out which can be fixed with the use of antidepressant or changes in lifestyle as well as inclusion of exercise. Both these conditions are known to overlap in most of the segments but there is still research required for determining in case if one of it may actually cause the other condition.
Those individuals who suffer from either one or both of these conditions can still look to live their life long and fulfilling. There can be alteration in the quality of life. This can also be taken care of with regular appointments with the doctor, counseling sessions, regular use of medications and making the right lifestyle choices. Those individuals who are affected can still live a relatively normal lifestyle.