A new type of therapy that is effective in reducing depression attributed to Fibromyalgia

A new type of therapy that is effective in reducing depression attributed to Fibromyalgia ...

Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic illness of unknown origin, which is characterized by chronic pain and often followed by symptoms of depression. It is often associated with women, and there is no cure, but various treatments may help alleviate the symptoms.

Currently, a multicentre research by researchers at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Universidad de Las Americas (UDLA) in Ecuador has shown that personal construct therapy is equally effective in reducing depressive symptoms and improving patients'' quality of life. According to Mari Aguilera, a researcher at the UOC and the UB and the co-author of the study, these results allow to "expand the

106 women in a pioneering multicentre study

106 women with fibromyalgia and depressive symptoms were treated in ten different locations, according to the UB''s full professor of psychology and the Institute of NeurosciencesGuillem Feixas. Each one increases the risk and exacerbates the characteristics of the other.

Half of the participants received a weekly psychotherapy, which has already been shown to be moderately effective in this type of patient. The other half followed a personal construct therapy that "focuses on people''s identity, how they perceive themselves, how they perceive what happens to them, and how they perceive others."Joan Carlos Medina, a member of the UOC, said, "The UB has a very strong relationship with its members.

The findings of the study show that both therapies reduced symptoms of depression in roughly 60% of participants, but that there were no significant differences between the treatments. Moreover, they also showed improvements in their daily functioning and in terms of pain. In particular, one in four patients who received personal construct therapy improved their functioning in the medium term, and one in six experienced reduced pain.

More tools for personalization

"Fibromyalgia has no specific known cause, and there is no cure," says Aguilera. This is especially important in a disease "which is still questioned by some doctors, and which is often considered less important due to the fact that it mainly affects women."

According to Aguilera, the standard cognitive-behavioural therapy "is more interested in how to change behaviour than the reason behind it." Personal construct therapy is focused primarily "on how you build your world and what you give meaning to. However, it''s not about comparing them to one another, as it''s more about determining whether the two of them can be beneficial from a different perspective."

For example, personal construct therapy may be beneficial in treating depression, but apart from a small pilot study, Medina said, "this is the first time that this type of therapy has been assessed and demonstrated to be beneficial for fibromyalgia patients." Using more proven resources, the patient may be able to personalize treatments, and adapt them better. "It helps us to develop more empathy, learning, and proposing strategies," he said.

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