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Fibromyalgia and chronic pain in danger of being labeled a mental disorder

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain in danger of being labeled a mental disorder 

This is an article about the addition of Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) to the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and how the vagueness of its definition could potentially lead to misdiagnosis of individuals with fibromyalgia or any invisible disability. This risk is there... that is not to say it will happen. It is simply that when it comes to Fibromyalgia we are aware that it certainly happened in the past and having this option available opens the possibility again. There was in the past with doctors this huge stigma with FM because some simply didn't believe it existed so when you came to them with all these miscellaneous symptoms they would think you were just a chronic complainer, or stressed, or depressed or that it was 'all in your head'. In was all too common for it to take over a decade for people to be diagnosed... I'll raise my hand here. And in my case I had a good childhood doctor, but I ran into a few dumbass ones on University... one said I was chronically depressed and another at an ER visit said he simply didn't believe in FM (this was after my actual diagnosis).  Point is we know when we run into this stigma we will not get treatment at all most of the time for whatever physical symptoms we have... because the doctor has already decided we are exaggerating or put us in a 'mentally ill' box. This is a dangerous stigma to have because if a person is having problems coping with their pain and disability they are not exactly going to open up to their doctor if in the past they have been treated this way... because they will believe the doctor will go 'Ah ha... you are depressed and therefore must not have fibromyalgia at all!'. And not seeking help for comorbid mental disorders is dangerous. 

However, there is less of a stigma today than there was. Or so I have been told. I have been told I talk to my doctor about chronic migraines like I have expectations of my previous history with doctors in the past. In other words... I tend to ignore symptoms until they get bad enough to mention, and if they are not bad, I don't mention them... don't want to complain after all. And I tend to be stoic about pain for the same reason which means my doctor never gets how much pain I am in. It's a no win situation... because doctors have trained me to react to them the way I have and by reacting the way I do they never will understand exactly how I am or all the symptoms I have even. There can never be a really good relationship there. Which I am attempting to change. However, those are my issues. Fact is, the stigma is less than it was. And most doctors and psychologists acknowledge the roll of a chronic pain condition on mental health as well as the potential for comorbid mental health conditions. My psychologist definitely acknowledges the role of my physical condition on my mental and emotional wellbeing... she would not be the sort to say it was the other way around.

Anyway, the history is there so we remember the misdiagnosis and being brushed off. So the potential so there... for all invisible disabilities. It is in fact why I loathed the label 'depressed'. But this one... far worse in its potential for damage. At least with depression no matter how a doctor tried to stuff you in that box eventually your symptoms would not fit there. It does not seem that way with this... not that I know how stress can manifest physically mind you, but FM has a lot of symptoms and in the beginning a lot of them would seem like manifestations of stress wouldn't they? And imagine how long you would go without diagnosis before all those other symptoms began to crop up.
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