Objective: A large body of evidence suggests that the relationship between major depressive disorder (MDD) and fibromyalgia (FM) is complex. Improved understanding of this relationship promises to provide clinicians with better assessment and treatment options for both disorders.
Method: This paper reviews research on the prevalence, etiology and pathogenesis, clinical characterization, and treatment of FM and MDD, as well as studies that examined the relationship between these disorders. Studies were identified via PubMed literature search.
Results: Our findings point to substantial similarities in neuroendocrine abnormalities, psychological characteristics, physical symptoms and treatments between FM and MDD. However, currently available findings do not support the assumption that MDD and FM refer to the same underlying construct or can be seen as subsidiaries of one disease concept.
Conclusion: New methodological and theoretical approaches may lead to a better understanding of the link between FM and MDD, and to more effective psychological and psychopharmacological therapies for FM patients. In the meantime, clinicians should carefully screen for a history of MDD in patients with FM.