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

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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