Abstract: Are Patients with Fibromyalgia Hypervigilant?

[Article in German]

Dohrenbusch R.

Klinische und Angewandte Psychologie, Psychologisches Institut, Universitat Bonn.

INTRODUCTION: Clinical and experimental studies suggest that a generalized style of hypervigilant information processing may influence the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia (FM). This article deals with the question whether perception and processing of sensory stimuli in patients suffering from FM can be described in terms of “generalized hypervigilance”.

METHODS: The components of hypervigilant stimulus processing were defined and discussed with reference to the current literature. RESULTS: This literature review indicates that perceptual thresholds are not reduced in the majority of FM-patients. A strategy of hypervigilant information processing has consistently been shown only for suprathreshold aversive stimuli or under pressure to perform well. This is true for psychophysical as well as for neurophysiological parameters. The results concerning information processing of external stimuli cannot be transferred easily to the processing of somatosensory stimuli.

CONCLUSION: On the whole the existing studies argue against the assumption of trait-like hypervigilant information processing in FM-patients. A more appropriate explanation of the results is in terms of the interaction of situational and personal factors.

PMID: 11810328 [PubMed – in process]

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