Fibromyalgia Comorbid with Anxiety Disorders and Depression: Combined Medical and Psychological Treatment
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- Bernik, M., Sampaio, T.P.A. & Gandarela, L. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2013) 17: 358. doi:10.1007/s11916-013-0358-3
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Fibromyalgia is associated with high level of pain and suffering. Lack of diagnosis leads to onerous indirect economic costs. Recent data indicate that fibromyalgia; anxiety disorders, and depression tend to occur as comorbid conditions. They also share some common neurochemical dysfunctions and central nervous system alterations such as hypofunctional serotonergic system and altered reactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Conversely, functional neuroimaging findings point to different patterns of altered pain processing mechanisms between fibromyalgia and depression. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, and treatment response effect size is usually small to moderate. Treatment should be based on drugs that also target the comorbid psychiatric condition. Combined pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavior therapy should ideally be offered to all patients. Lifestyle changes, such as physical exercise should be encouraged. The message to patients should be that all forms of pain are true medical conditions and deserve proper care.