Fibromyalgia and dissociative symptoms

CNS Spectr. 2019 Dec;24(6):605-608. doi: 10.1017/S1092852918001608.


Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome with a controversial etiopathogenesis. Patients with FM usually complain of cognitive symptoms, which are described as "fibrofog." These cognitive complaints might be caused partially by dissociative disorders (DD). The aim of this research is to determine the association between FM and DD.

Methods: The authors conducted a case-control study for this purpose, integrated by 3 groups: control (C), patients with rheumatic disorders (R), and patients with FM (FM), who were compared through the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES).The findings are as follows: 42% were taking medications in the FM group, and their differences in scores with those who were not under medications were then considered. In terms of the results, the FM group showed higher scores than both C and R groups (p < 0.05). Patients with FM who were taking antidepressants had lower scores than those who were not (Z-score -8.03; p < 0.05); and finally, 5.71% had a score over 30 (χ2 = 3.73, p = 0.15).

Conclusion: Patients with FM had higher scores, which might be related to the association of dissociative experiences, lifetime trauma, and victimization. Antidepressants might have some role on dissociative symptoms as well.

Keywords: Dissociation; dissociative disorder; fibromyalgia; pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dissociative Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged