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“Mitochondria, Not Hypochondria” – By Prof. Rhona Johnston

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University of Hull Professor of Psychology Rhona Johnston argues against the widespread belief that ME/chronic fatigue syndrome is a psychological condition – a misconception that’s “good for creating work for psychiatrists” but not good for people with this horrible illness who are blamed for it simply because it is not understood.

In a statement published Jan 6 by the UK’s Public Service Review (www.publicservice.co.uk) – Mitochondria, Not Hypochondria – Dr. Johnston makes a strong argument that if cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) benefits some ME/CFS patients it is owing to the psychic impact of a serious chronic illness, and that ME/CFS patients are no more likely to suffer depression than those with other illnesses such as Rheumatoid Arthritis – that is, ME/CFS is not properly explained as a ‘functional somatic syndrome’.

She dismantles other rationales for suggesting ME/CFS is psychological, reviews evidence for why it is a physical disorder, and suggests a better focus for National Health Service resources allocated to ME/CFS.

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4 thoughts on ““Mitochondria, Not Hypochondria” – By Prof. Rhona Johnston”

  1. zebragirl says:

    Just another doctor that thinks “it’s all in your head”.
    No, It’s all in the severe headaches, dizziness and horrible muscular pain associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    1. IanH says:

      Actually Zebragirl this Psychologist, like myself, (and I am a psychologist too) believe the weight of evidence, that ME/CFS is an immunological dysfunction affecting cell function, particularly the function of mitochondria which is our best explanation of the energy problems experienced by ME/CFSers.

      I think the author has not presented the full range of data that explains the symptoms of ME/CFS but hey if she tried many would be confused. This article is a welcome statement.

    2. neoplus1 says:

      No this psychologist is actually saying it is NOT in our head and is criticizing fellow psychologists and psychiatrists for trying to make the illness seem like it is a psychological somatic illness.

  2. m2gym says:

    Professor Johnston says: “In order to help at least some people recover, it would seem a good use of resources for the NHS to screen ME/CFS patients for low mitochondrial function, adrenal problems (not just testing cortisol levels at midday) and mycoplasma infections.”

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