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Psychological impact of fibromyalgia: current perspectives

Authors Galvez-Sánchez CM, Duschek S, Reyes del Paso GA

Received 19 November 2018

Accepted for publication 7 January 2019

Published 13 February 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 117—127


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Video abstract presented by Carmen M Galvez-Sánchez

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Carmen M Galvez-Sánchez,1 Stefan Duschek,2 Gustavo A Reyes del Paso1

1Department of Psychology, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain; 2Department of Psychology, University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall in Tirol, Austria

Abstract: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread and persistent musculoskeletal pain and other frequent symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, morning stiffness, cognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety. FMS is also accompanied by different comorbidities like irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome. Although some factors like negative events, stressful environments, or physical/emotional traumas may act as predisposing conditions, the etiology of FMS remains unknown. There is evidence of a high prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities in FMS (especially depression, anxiety, borderline personality, obsessive-compulsive personality, and post-traumatic stress disorder), which are associated with a worse clinical profile. There is also evidence of high levels of negative affect, neuroticism, perfectionism, stress, anger, and alexithymia in FMS patients. High harm avoidance together with high self-transcendence, low cooperativeness, and low self-directedness have been reported as temperament and character features in FMS patients, respectively. Additionally, FMS patients tend to have a negative self-image and body image perception, as well as low self-esteem and perceived self-efficacy. FMS reduces functioning in physical, psychological, and social spheres, and also has a negative impact on cognitive performance, personal relationships (including sexuality and parenting), work, and activities of daily life. In some cases, FMS patients show suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and consummated suicide. FMS patients perceive the illness as a stigmatized and invisible disorder, and this negative perception hinders their ability to adapt to the disease. Psychological interventions may constitute a beneficial complement to pharmacological treatments in order to improve clinical symptoms and reduce the impact of FMS on health-related quality of life.

Keywords: fibromyalgia, background, psychological impact, patients’ experiences, personality, mood

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