My husband and I were watching Downton Abbey when the subject of cancer came up. This inspired a lively discussion about the origins of cancer awareness in society. I said they knew what it was by the mid-1800's. He didn't think the disease was identified or term used before the 1930's. So of course my friend Google swept in to settle the debate. Needless to say I was right, or more right than he was, which is really all that matters. So as I am reading through information on the evolution of cancer knowledge throughout history something made my jaw drop. "Cancer was thought to be caused by trauma until the 1920's."
Wha-wha-wha-WHAT? After I stopped flapping my wings long enough to settle down I realized how wonderful this tidbit of information actually was. Maybe there is hope for us yet, Fibro friends! Less than a hundred years ago evil, rapidly-replicating cells gobbling up the good ones were thought to be trauma-induced. Today they don't know the causes of all cancers, per se, but society generally recognizes it's not a mentally inflicted illness. I felt wonderful justification all my ranting and raving about science not understanding Fibromyalgia YET held truth.
But a scary line is about to be crossed. The American Psychiatric Association is slated to publish a revised edition of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) this month. This impending revision has much opposition and created quite a scandal across many disciplines in medicine and the community. Why? Three words: Somatic Symptom Disorder. What gives you this diagnosis? Report one physical symptom you find distressing or disruptive to daily life for at least six months, along with one of the following:
A) Disproportionate, persistent thoughts about the seriousness of symptoms.
"Mind you, studies by the American Psychiatric Association have already shown that 15% of folks with either cancer or heart disease would be diagnosed with this disorder, and 26% of those with irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia. What’s more, 7% of people who have no active medical diagnosis also could qualify." *Dr. Keith Ablow, Fox News
"Many years ago, the late Thomas Szasz said: 'In the days of the Malleus, if the physician could find no evidence of natural illness, he was expected to find evidence of witchcraft: today, if he cannot diagnose organic illness, he is expected to diagnose mental illness.' DSM 5's loosely defined Somatic Symptom Disorder is Szasz worst fear come true." *Suzie Chapman, Health Advocate
"The publication of DSM-5 is a sad moment for psychiatry and a risky one for patients. My recommendation for clinicians is simple. Don't use DSM-5 -- there is nothing official about it, nothing especially helpful in it, and all the codes you need for reimbursement are already available for free on the Internet or in DSM-IV." *Dr. Allen Francis, Chair of the DSM-4 Task Force
And here we sit. Some days I think we are getting closer to legitimacy. Today is not one of those days. The ruling forces of our world will continue to squash the masses into easily controlled categories. It's what they do. It is up to us, more than ever, to be responsible for ourselves. Educate yourself and try new things to help make life more bearable. Exist in your truth and seek out doctors who won't shove a neurological illness into a psychiatric category. Pay attention to the research and developments pertaining to Fibromyalgia, and be aware of the challenges constantly hurled our direction. I believe, with every beat of my heart, one day my great-great grand-niece will scan the microchip of information implanted in her brain and flap her wings at the thought of Fibromyalgia being a psychiatric disorder. It's up to us to make that happen.
Thanks for joining,