[Note: According to the authors, "This paper will give the reader time for thought over the issue that: just because there is at present no specific diagnostic test or treatment for this condition, why then is the conclusion reached that this must be a psychiatric condition?]
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia represent distinct diagnostic entities within both the clinical and research literature.
A common feature of both presentations is that they are often accompanied by a significant mental health burden.
A further salient feature of both conditions is that there is no consistent consensus on aetiology [cause].
Evaluation of the features of each disorder seems to present a convincing case that both disorders may indeed have a common aetiology and further, the possibility exists that chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia represent the same underlying disorder.
Paradoxically, given this possibility it is remarkable that both patient groups are treated clinically with considerably different approaches to care and management.
• Mental health practitioners will come into contact with both groups of patients when support for the psychological consequences of diagnosis is necessary;
• However, many practitioners will be unaware of the debate regarding the aetiological ambiguities surrounding these presentations.
The purpose of this review is to highlight the above issues in order to both facilitate awareness of the current aetiological/diagnostic impasse and facilitate provision of optimum mental health support.
Source: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Dec 2009;16(10):884-94. PMID: 19930362, by McKay PG, Duffy T, Martin CR. School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of West of Scotland, Ayr, UK. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]