By Renee Fabian in The Mighty.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness and experienced trauma, you may have some uneasy feelings about the connection between the two. After all, some doctors who don’t really understand tricky conditions like fibromyalgia or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), for example, might be quick to tell you your symptoms are “all in your head” or due to a mental health condition.
While living with a chronic illness can be traumatic, research shows the reverse may be true as well. Trauma, especially if it happens when you’re younger, can trigger chronic illness. It’s not that simple of course — trauma isn’t the only factor that determines whether or not you get a chronic illness and it’s not associated with all conditions. And it’s worth mentioning, just because you have a chronic illness does not mean you experienced trauma.
It’s important to talk about how trauma may impact chronic illness because knowing the connection can improve your treatment options and encourage doctors to look at your health from a holistic, mind-body perspective. In addition, some researchers hope early intervention and prevention of trauma may reduce the number of people who develop chronic illness in the future.
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