When a physician can't diagnose a patient's ailment, and instead resorts to "I don't know what's wrong with you, so it must be all in your head," they're being unintentionally abusive!
But doctors have done this for centuries. Multiple Sclerosis used to be called "Hysterical Paralysis." Lupus was considered a neurosis. And unfortunately chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are still treated this way by far too many physicians — physicians who won't take the time to learn from the research that shows these conditions to be not only very real but very devastating illnesses. I guess it's just easier to prescribe an antidepressant and call it a day.
But the impact of this kind of "treatment" is crippling, and all too often deadly.
Imagine you have an accident that leaves you paralyzed from the waist down, and in chronic pain. And you're unfortunate enough to go to a doctor who has no idea how to do a proper diagnosis of this. The doctor checks your eyes, ears, heart and lungs but has no idea how to do a neurologic exam. He checks a few blood tests but doesn't call for an MRI.
All of your test results are of course normal. So your doctor tells you and your family that your paralysis and pain are psychosomatic. Now instead of emotional, physical and financial support, your family gives you criticism and disapproval. On top of that, the physician's report allows your health and disability insurers to deny you the benefits you've paid for and deserve.
This is exactly what happened to me when I had CFS/FMS. And I became homeless and began sleeping in parks. So it's no surprise to me that so many people sick with this condition turn to suicide.
What makes this all the more tragic is that our research shows that these conditions are treatable. We don't need to have so many people unnecessarily crippled and marginalized. We just need more physicians to discover the research.
(This is a summary of an article I wrote that was recently published by NewsMax.)
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.