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Study shows difference between Fibromyalgia and major depression

Saturday 18 September 2010

WomanAbout.com's Adrienne Dellwo reports on a new study:

Study Shows Difference Between Fibromyalgia, Major Depression

Research Brief

People with fibromyalgia have long battled assumptions that they're "just depressed," but a new study demonstrates a distinct difference between fibromyalgia and major depressive disorder (MDD).

Two key features of fibromyalgia are low pain thresholds (feeling pain from stimulus that wouldn't cause pain in other people) and a deficit in pain inhibition -- which means that instead of feeling less pain from repeated or prolonged sensation, we feel more. For example, most people "tune out" pain from a tight waistband after awhile, but to us the pain gets worse and worse.

Some doctors have speculated that, because of the link between MDD and chronic pain, MDD may also feature a deficit in pain inhibition. It's even been speculated that fibromyalgia is merely "masked MDD" (in spite of the fact that many of us are never clinically depressed.)

This study should help put those hypotheses to rest. Researchers found that:

  • Fibromyalgia & MDD are both linked to low pain thresholds;
  • However, pain thresholds were lower in fibromyalgia;
  • And the pain inhibition abnormality is not linked to MDD -- it's specific to fibromyalgia.

We've known for decades that a lot of people with fibromyalgia also have MDD, but this study adds to the evidence that while there's a distinct overlap, fibromyalgia is separate and distinguishable from depression and needs to be diagnosed and treated in its own right.

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The article originally appeared here.

 


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