Promising Treatment for Fibromyalgia Symptoms


It is common knowledge now to see some somatic symptoms appear after great trauma, PTSD, high anxiety, deep depression, etc. There was an interesting study posted in Clinical Psychiatry News about the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. The news reported how in a symposium, Mark A. Lumley, Ph.D., provided some early observations from a multicenter randomized study comparing this approach with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and an education control group on 1-year outcomes.

PTSD, stress, or conflict “tend to be maintained by the avoidance of emotions related to the stress,” effective treatment should involve “some sort of exposure and processing of avoided emotionally laden experiences” dealing with memories, thoughts, or relationships, he explained.  Emotional exposure therapy (EET) techniques, based on the “experience-brain-emotion-symptom” model, entail reviewing physical symptoms and events over an individual’s lifetime and identifying key unresolved stressors or conflicts, “making the unspoken spoken,” Dr. Lumley said. After treatment that included techniques to help the patients “confront and process avoided emotions, memories, and relationships,” two patients showed substantial improvement with symptoms that were almost entirely resolved, and four experienced clinically meaningful improvements, Dr. Lumley said.

From another reported research, patient reports reflected varied experiences. Three patients said that the treatment “cured” their fibromyalgia symptoms and they that no longer needed to take medication and were sleeping well. But there were also some patients who said their pain increased after the sessions or that encouraging the expression of anger was dangerous, “so it can be a variable experience,” more variable than CBT, he noted. Others might benefit from learning “emotional downregulation strategies” with CBT first, he said, pointing out, “We need to figure out who is who.”

The goal of CBT for fibromyalgia is to shift patients from a “medical treatment cure model” to a “chronic illness self-management” model. They reported some other important points but this was the main one we thought to share. How do we live with a chronic illness?  How do you learn to “self-manage”? This is not only applied to fibromyalgia as a chronic illness but most mental health conditions can be see the same way. Stress can affect all conditions.

There is a great tem of experts than can help. Consult with your physician and call us.



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