Mental Health of Those with Fibromyalgia and Spouses is Affected

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Research study examines how fibromyalgia affects marriages

In April 2010, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia studied how fibromyalgia affects marriage. Chronic diseases and disorders always have some sort of effect on the marriage partners, and fibromyalgia is no different. The study found that the life of the couple was dramatically changed because of fibromyalgia. Christine Proulx, assistant professor of human development and family studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences said that "There seems to be a strong link between fibromyalgia and feelings of depression and fatigue.

Research finds that the quality of life for the couple is definitely affected by fibromyalgia.

This study found that the mental strain caused by fibromyalgia can have a negative effect on the marriage of a couple when one spouse has fibromyalgia. Researchers found that the spouse with fibromyalgia was nearly three times more depressed than their spouse. Diagnosed spouses were more likely to have anger and to experience unhappiness in their marriage. They were also more likely to consider divorce than their spouses were. Marriages change when one of the spouses is diagnosed with the disorder because it is difficult for their husband or wife to watch the other spouse in pain. Patients with fibromyalgia may become hostile or have withdrawn behavior
in the marriage.

Other findings of this study

Proulx and her colleagues in the study had test subjects keep journals of their interactions with their partners. Those with chronic widespread pain were also included in the study. The daily entries included the personal feelings of each of the partners, as well as social support and the well-being of their spouse. This study was entitled "Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, and Marriage: A Daily Diary Pilot Study." The findings of this study were presented at the National Council of Family Relations Conference.

Diagnosed spouses have more pain with fibromyalgia.

The initial findings of this study were that spouses who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia had more symptoms of depression, as well as more pain. The spouse with fibromyalgia experienced greater anger and unhappiness in the marriage than their spouse did. Both spouses tended to have increased emotional withdrawal and mental strain. Couples often searched for new ways to treat the pain involved in fibromyalgia as a solution to the pain that the one spouse experienced.

Source: Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100428101450.htm


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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