For a long time now, some medical experts consider fibromyalgia as a psychosomatic condition. As such fibromyalgia is often mistaken as hypochondria. However, recent studies have proven that the symptoms of fibromyalgia are real. They are as real as the case of other medical illnesses out there.
Why Are Fibromyalgia Patients Mistaken As Hypochondriacs?
Why do many think that fibromyalgia patients are hypochondriacs? It is because most fibro symptoms are apparently unrelated to each other or to a certain common cause.
Fibromyalgia patients often show signs that are classified as symptoms of a totally different disease. Som examples of these symptoms are anxiety, depression, irritable bowel disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, insomnia, lupus and restless leg syndrome etc.
In order to further understand why hypochondria and fibromyalgia are often mistaken with each other, you must first know what the two conditions are and what make them different and similar at the same time.
Fibromyalgia vs Hypochondria
To start with, fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is often caused by a biological condition. Here is where a large majority of the medical professionals tend to agree. However, the actual cause of the chronic pain syndrome is still unknown. As of the moment, specialists and experts have trouble meeting consensus to any of the proposed theories.
Hypochondria, on the other hand, is a type of condition that is classified as psychosomatic disorder. This means that it is a kind of mental disorder that has repercussions on the physical state of a patient. Most often, this disorder is due to stress or a powerful emotional moment. Hypochondria may also be a consequence of the widespread of information related to different illnesses which is easily obtainable from the internet. In many cases, people that are very anxious of their health can become very paranoid after reading articles on certain illnesses. As a result, these people start to think that their bodies are showing symptoms of the disease. Hypochondriacs are usually not satisfied when a doctor tells them that their bodies are healthy. They usually start visiting different clinics in search of a doctor whom will agree with them.
Neurochemical Elements Linking Fibromyalgia and Hypochondria
The most frequent assumption of the link between fibromyalgia and hypochondria has to do with the neurochemical elements found in the brain, including their levels and how these can affect one’s perception of pain. Another recent theory claimed that high amounts of blood vessels in one’s hand can affect pain.
What Makes the Two Conditions Similar?
The reason why medical professionals mistake fibromyalgia for hypochondria is also partly because the two conditions are similar in many ways:
- The main similarity is that patients suffering from each of the two conditions show a large number of random symptoms.
- The fact that there has not been an actual biological case in these two conditions also makes them very similar to each other.
- Both conditions do not have a cure. Furthermore, the treatments of both conditions mainly focus on treating the symptoms.
- Both conditions are difficult to diagnose. It usually takes several consultations, and clinic hoping, before a proper diagnosis. The fact that there are no tests, scans or other medical technologies that can validate fibromyalgia makes the condition even more similar to hypochondria.
What Makes the Two Conditions Different?
So what makes the two conditions different from each other? In a nutshell, the main difference is that fibromyalgia symptoms are real whereas the symptoms of hypochondriacs are often induced mentally. Having said that, the two conditions therefore differ in diagnosis and treatment.