Thursday, November 03, 2005

Vicious Cycle of Fibromyalgia and Emotional Impact: What to Do

Vicious Cycle of Fibromyalgia and Emotional Impact: What to Do: "Vicious Cycle of Fibromyalgia and Emotional Impact: What to Do

If you had been a healthy, active person and develop fibromyalgia, the symptoms can create havoc in your life. Your inability to engage in activities you once enjoyed can cause you to become frustrated, angry, worried, or depressed. Your inability to meet the needs of your children, spouse, job, or community may contribute to a sense of inadequacy and worthlessness. Your friends may start to distance themselves. You may lose your job or marriage, causing serious financial distress and emotional pain. These are all normal reactions to the losses you suffer when fibromyalgia strikes. You are not alone, however.

Many people with other illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes or other chronic illnesses have the same reactions. Unfortunately, because fibro patients have no obvious physical or lab abnormalities, many have been told by their friends, family, or even their doctors that there is nothing wrong with them and their symptoms are all in their heads. “Just get the stress out of your life,” they say, “and you will be fine.” These people are wrong. Fibromyalgia is a real illness and its psychological impact should not be dismissed...

Studies have shown that when people were deprived of just a few nights’ sleep, they developed many of the same symptoms fibromyalgia patients have, including emotional distress and problems with thinking, memory, and judgment...

Research shows that a combined multidisciplinary treatment approach is the most effective way to achieve symptom relief. Although it may not be a cure, many patients find that making appropriate changes in their lives can reduce their symptoms, in some cases by as much as 90%!

What helps:

--Cognitive behavioral therapy- time limited, not in depth- 70%improvement when used in conjunction with other treatments and better than just medication alone

--Changes negative thought patterns and behaviors to positive ones

--Stress management- meditation, relaxation techniques, appropriate breathing



--Balance, pace activities

--Avoid “toxic” relationships and activities

--Don’t overdo

--Positive attitude/ accept your limitations/be joyful for what you have

--Getting support from knowledgable healthcare professionals

--Repeat the serenity prayer often

--Journal thoughts, feelings

--Become aware of what your body is saying to you

--Do at least one thing daily you enjoy – learn to say no

--Take care of flares when they start- have a plan in place

--Avoid isolationism- join a support group

--Change perfectionism – you can’t do everything

--Get help - it is not a sign of weakness

Walking the road to wellness is better when you don’t walk alone

Rosalie Devonshire, msw, lcsw, fibromyalgia survivor

Editor's note: Taking Charge of Fibromyalgia: Everything You Need to Know to Manage Fibromyalgia (2005 Edition) By Julie W. Kelly, M.S., R.N., and Rosalie Devonshire, M.S.W., is a great and highly useful guide to self-managing your FM treatment program, and is an excellent resource for patients, their families, and health care professionals. This is the updated 2005 version with all the latest treatment and resources information including new research and physician treatment protocols. To buy the book, please click here: "

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