Study Finds Higher Rates of Decreased Emotional Awareness in FM Patients

Study Finds Higher Rates of Decreased Emotional Awareness in FM Patients
People with fibromyalgia are more likely to have difficulty describing their emotions; this is linked to increased psychological stress but not necessarily to pain, a recent study suggests. The study, "Alexithymia and Psychological Distress in Patients With Fibromyalgia and Rheumatic Disease," was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Alexithymia is a condition where a person has trouble identifying and expressing feelings — the word literally means "lack of words to describe emotions." It's pretty well-established that psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression are more common among people living with fibromyalgia and other conditions that cause chronic pain, but what about alexithymia? To find out, researchers recruited 48 fibromyalgia patients (one male, 47 female, average age 52.94 years) and 38 control subjects (14 male, 24 female, average age 47.92 years). For further comparisons, the researchers also recruited 41 people (10 male, 31 female, average age 54.74 years) who had a chronic pain-causing rheumatic disease (RD) other than fibromyalgia. All subjects were evaluated for alexithymia via the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), with a score of 61 or more indicating alexithymia. Additionally, patients' pain was assessed with the Visual Analog Scale for Pain (VAS) and the Mc
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