Why Is Fibromyalgia Mistaken As Hypochondria?

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.

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  1. says: María

    Good article, I had past experiences with that problem. I was treated like a manic crazy person,just because,suffering this horrible pain from head to toe,Sometimes,I couldn’t explain all of this with words… To see the doctors faces ,their eyes looking at you with squeptizism of what you are explaining to them…. to me it was the most horrible feeling of frustration,loneliness,fear, and more pain. For a while, I stopped visiting doctors although my condition is very real,it’s not created by my imagination. Feeling crazy like they made me feel,I went to visit a psychiatrist,where I found out the relationship between chronic pain and depression.

  2. says: Carol Adame

    As I look back on my life and how and when the Fibromyalgia began, yes I had a traumatic Childhood in some respects. I believe in 2003-2004 I went through a terrible trauma with my Son of 2 yrs. My X-Husband kicked my wonderful Mom, our beautiful Son and me by telling us to “get the fuck out of my house!” It was his Mother’s house, and she is 87 years old that was the first of 3 tragic happenings within a 9 month period starting June 2003, stupidly I was missing that jerk but we were married then separated. Never gave anything for help and support. My son was having terrible Asthma and ended up having to go to ER mostly at night. My Mama tragically passed away April 29th 2004 from a stroke and I took her in for a virus and my Mom had other issues and my Brother was terrible, absolutely no support from him I became the sole person to take care of her Funeral, pick her Casket while I had to care for my 3 year old. She was only 72. I had hurt my back in an accident at work and started having Facet Syndrome on my lower left side which was in 2007-8. had 2 car accidents with whiplash and I was then Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and it has gotten so much worse eith Osteo Arthritis Surguries..etc . Emotional trauma and physical trauma both.

    1. says: Sandra Mason-Webb

      Carol, I’m sorry you went through so much. I agree, physical and emotional trauma are what I believe triggered my fibromyalgia. I sustained an overuse injury at work (what they used to call RSI) I had damage to my neck, my shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and upper spinal pain. I also developed TMJ due to the stress and pain. Along with the pain and injury, I also had to fight to have my employers and the worker’s compensation insurers believe that I had a real injury. Fortunately some of the injuries showed on x-rays and CT scans – but they also believed that most of my pain was psychosomatic. I developed severe depression. In the midst of all the issues from the injury, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia – I believe it was the trauma that precipitated it. I wish there was more research done into the disease and that they could do studies that would query the percentage of sufferers who have had a physical or emotional trauma around the time of being diagnosed. Gentle hugs to you and I hope you’re having a good day.

  3. says: Wendy

    A manic crazy person, Maria?! You mean eg a “human-being” with “bipolar”? Why is it that so many people insist on trying to provoke someone having (an) invisible illness(es) making derogatory comments & gaslighting? esp eg given because of big pharma one has to cope with taking a combo of meds & then eg between prescribed Rx & OTC they then have to find a way to survive the “numerous” cascade of side-effects that then can lead to even more Rx of side-effect Rx! So, “duh” if pts then try alternate approaches eg naturopathic.

  4. says: Amy Grahl

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia some 40 years ago. At that time, few had ever heard of it – including me. The doctor told me to exercise and that was the only help I received for a decade. Meanwhile, the symptoms worsened. Then, suddenly, everyone was getting diagnosed with it! But, I knew my problems were worse than theirs. However, more research was done and it became more acceptable to connect more of the symptoms together. Finally, twenty years after I was diagnosed, I finally got medications that help! And, I received pain medication as well. Now, I feel as though I don’t have to be ashamed of it or commit suicide to stop the unrelenting pain.

  5. I too think my problems started through stress. I was married to job, loved it, but was made redundant after 25 years. I was at that time diagnosed with ME some 45 years ago This lessoned but then I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Now I have a job to do anything. One job takes me all day. Find shopping difficult. Do not buy new clothes as I do not have the energy to try them on. Climbing stairs is difficult, etc, etc. Oh to be rid of it.

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