Mental and Emotional Therapy for Fibromyalgia
How Psychologists Treat Fibromyalgia
As part of an overall treatment plan to help you live a healthy, full life with fibromyalgia, your doctor may recommend you see a psychiatrist or psychologist.
What's so helpful about visiting a psychologist is that it can actually help relieve some of your symptoms. Fibromyalgia symptoms can have a significant impact on your life—your work, relationships with family members and friends, and your overall outlook. A mental health professional can help you deal with the impact fibromyalgia has on your life.
In-depth Articles on Other Fibromyalgia Treatments
- Alternative treatments
- How what you eat can help your fibromyalgia: the fibromyalgia diet
- Lifestyle changes
- Physical therapy
Pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms shouldn't rule your life, so you need to take charge of them. To do this, you may need to incorporate a combination of treatments, including exercise, medications, and psychology. This multi-disciplinary approach to treating fibromyalgia can ease your symptoms—both psychological and physical.
Addressing the Emotional Side of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is tough to deal with, and it can take an emotional toll on your health—but it isn't your fault. You're not "crazy" for feeling sad or anxious. And there is something you can do about these feelings.
Although experts aren't sure if fibromyalgia causes anxiety and depression or if they are part of what causes fibromyalgia, they do know that there is a strong connection between pain and your mental well-being.
If you've been feeling sad or anxious lately, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor or psychologist. Paying attention to your mental and emotional health is just as important as paying attention to your physical health.
Finding a Psychologist to Treat Fibromyalgia
There are numerous types of mental health professionals. Common mental health professionals include mental health counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. They're licensed and trained to diagnose and treat mental or emotional pain.
Once you're in a psychologist's office, you can talk about your experience with fibromyalgia—how it makes you feel, as well as how to cope with it. Your psychologist may also suggest a type of mental therapy he or she may think you'll benefit from.
A 2006 study looked at the effects of 2 different types of treatment therapies for fibromyalgia: operant behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Operant behavioral therapy is a type of therapy based on the idea that behavior can be affected by rewards and punishments, and cognitive behavioral therapy is a "talking" therapy that strives to solve problems related to emotions and behaviors by setting goals. The study's results showed that both types of treatments are effective in treating patients with fibromyalgia.1
Researchers continue to investigate other mental and emotional therapies that can benefit people with fibromyalgia.
Living Well with Fibromyalgia
In addition to visiting a psychiatrist or psychologist for your mental and emotional health, you can do other things to maintain your overall health.
Getting enough sleep every night, eating healthy, and exercising regularly are also essential parts of living well with fibromyalgia. The ultimate goal with a fibromyalgia treatment plan—regardless of whether it involves mental and emotional therapy—is to help you live a happy and healthy life.