Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Letter to the Editor - "Neurology out-patients with symptoms unexplained..."

Letter to the Editor
Psychological Medicine, Volume 40, Issue 01, January 2010, pp 172-173
doi:10.1017/S0033291709991413 (About doi), Published Online by Cambridge
University Press 08 Oct 2009

Reply to:
Sharpe, M, Stone, J, Hibberd, C, Warlow, C, Duncan, R, Coleman, R, Roberts,
R, Cull, R, Pelosi, A, Cavanagh, J, Matthews, K, Goldbeck, R, Smyth, R,
Walker, A, Walker, J, MacMahon, A, Murray, G, Carson, A (2009).
Neurology out-patients with symptoms unexplained by disease: illness
beliefs and financial benefits predict 1-year outcome

Can be read for free at:

html version: i.e. 

pdf version:  i.e.

If those links I used don't work, follow the link on the home page for the
issue which is a free, open access issue:  i.e.  

(The start is a little difficult to read but don't let that put you off.
Well done to Simon. Tom)
* * *
The last line says it all: "by denigrating a patient's own perceptions of their illness they deny the therapeutic partnership by which any disease may be overcome, irrespective of aetiology."
At the hands of doctors who insisted that some anti-depressants and counseling would get me back to work, I simply got sicker.  As soon as I found a doctor willing to prescribe what I really needed, I reversed the years-long decline.  I was accused of not wanting to return to work, when the real issue was that I was not getting what I needed to get back to work. 
Had the doctor listened to me at the first appointment, instead of deciding that I was faking, I would've been back to work in a couple months.  Instead, it's been a few months shy of 10 years, and I've been told I'll never recover enough to work full-time again.
A therapeutic partnership is crucial to overcoming this disease.  That means doctor and patient working together, not functioning at odds with each other, with one swearing there's a biological reason, a virus, at work and the other nodding his head compassionately while actually believing the only issue is psychiatric.  Finding the XMRV virus has certainly vindicated me, but vindication won't give me the past 10 years of my life back, nor provide a miraculous healing that gets me back to work next week. 

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