Female Vets with Fibromyalgia Younger, Have More Psychiatric Conditions Than Men, Study Shows

Female Vets with Fibromyalgia Younger, Have More Psychiatric Conditions Than Men, Study Shows
A study in U.S. veterans found that fibromyalgia was diagnosed more often in younger vets who were often women, with more headaches and a higher rate of psychiatric conditions. The study also showed that men with fibromyalgia had increased alcohol dependence and more medical disorders. The study, "Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Fibromyalgia and in Concomitant Medical and Psychiatric Disorders: A National Veterans Health Administration Study," appeared in the Journal of Women’s Health. A recent revision of diagnostic standards showed that gender differences in the prevalence of fibromyalgia are far smaller than previously believed. Still, researchers showed that these guidelines are not universally used in the clinical setting and lack a physiological basis, which means there is still no gold standard to diagnose the disorder. Psychiatric conditions — such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder — are frequently associated with fibromyalgia. These complications add to its still-unknown cause, which makes diagnosis rely solely on self-reported data. The combination of diagnostic ambiguity and psychiatric co-morbidities leads to a frequent and controversial view of fibromyalgia as a "somatoform" psychiatric disorder, which refers to mental illnesses characterized by pain and fatigue, but with no apparent physical cause. Research in patients outside the U.S. has indicated that fibromyalgia leads to greater impairment and utilization of hea
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