How I know ME/CFS* Is A Physical Illness

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By Una Hearne.

 

Introduction

I am writing this to put a final nail in the coffin of the idea that ME/CFS is a psychosomatic issue; that it is ‘all in the mind’. Having both the physical illness ME/CFS (from age 16) and the mental illness Depression (since birth), I am in a position to demonstrate how easy it is to differentiate between physical and mental issues in diagnosis.

Thirty years ago (in my twenties) I went to doctors with my physical symptoms and was dismissed – like millions of people with ME/CFS – since blood tests showed nothing. Back then all doctors in Ireland believed ME/CFS to be psychosomatic so there was no help available. Although things are better now, there are still many doctors and people in general who are stuck in this belief, which creates enormous hardship for patients. Most importantly doctors need to know there is a robust international diagnostic tool available: InternationalConcensusPrimer for Medical Practitioners ME/CFS.

After I was diagnosed with clinical Depression in my thirties, inevitably some doctors have told me or implied that all of my ME/CFS symptoms can be put down to Depression. Despite the evidence that antidepressants work very well for me and when I am not depressed (most of the time) I still have all the physical symptoms of ME/CFS.

 

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