Fibromyalgia

In chronic syndromes such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue it is hard for patients especially women in Western society to establish the sick role. They identify the responses of their body to be abnormal but have trouble conveying their symptoms and convincing physicians that this is abnormal for them. These syndromes are difficult to recognize and treat because they are not uniform or distinctive amongst everyone. All other possibilities must be ruled out before a diagnosis of fibromyalgia will occur. Due to the fact that much of their sick role is trying to convince others that they truly are ill many patients feel shame and self-doubt. It would be near impossible for these patients to achieve health or even manage their condition when all their efforts is spent on validation and defending their position in establishing the sick role. Physicians and society constantly is questioning not only their sickness but their psyche as well. For women this dates back to the days in medicine when they were diagnosed with hysteria and that it was all in their head. Fibromyalgia has been labeled the “new psychiatric disorder” like it is a fad or trend that individuals are trying to jump on. From the film “Placebo: Cracking the Code” we learn that the power of the mind can be even more powerful than the most advance treatments if the right mindset is suggested. This does not mean that patients in this situation simply make up an illness and convince themselves they are not well. I believe that this does occur as seen in the nocebo effect but a though must be implanted into the head of the patient ahead of time. I believe these patients overtime would dwindle in health because all hope for wellness is being stripped from them with every questioning statement posed at them. That is why when asked about statistics doctors always use the positive approach because hope and belief in the face of illness is all a patient has left and I too believe it is unethical to take that away from them.

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