Emotional Awareness, Expression Therapy May Be Viable Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia

Emotional Awareness, Expression Therapy May Be Viable Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
Doctors should consider treating fibromyalgia patients with therapies that target emotional awareness and expression relating to psychosocial adversity and conflict, urges a team of Michigan researchers. Their study, “Emotional awareness and expression therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and education for fibromyalgia: a cluster-randomized controlled trial,” appeared in the journal Pain. Fibromyalgia develops due to alterations in the central nervous system, which result from an interplay of biological and psychosocial factors. Existing drugs to treat fibromyalgia are ineffective for many patients. For this reason, psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) were developed to teach patients self-management skills. CBT is seen as the gold-standard, non-pharmacological treatment in this field and is recommended in treatment guidelines. However, the benefits of this therapy are modest. Fibromyalgia patients often fail to process and resolve lifetime psychosocial adversity, traumas, interpersonal difficulties and emotional conflicts, which tend to be more common among such patients. One hypothesis for this is that fibromyalgia — a condition based on the central nervous system — might be improved and reversed in patients engaged in a “corrective emotional experience.” Researchers at Detroit's Wayne State University and the University of Michigan integrated techniques from trauma and emotion-focused therapies to create an approach called Emotional Awareness Expression Therapy (EAET). Its goal: to
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