A study in psychological mislabelling: The rise and (protracted) fall of psychogenic fibromyalgia
Pikoff, Howard B.
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This article provides a brief history of the psychogenic model of fibromyalgia from its origins in the late 1800s to its undoing a century later. Psychogenic fibromyalgia reached a high watermark in the 1930s in the anecdotal reports of a psychoanalytically-oriented Scottish disability examiner. Subsequent research, however, failed to provide convincing support for the psychogenic model, with at least four research reviews concluding there was little empirical evidence for psychological causation in fibromyalgia. By the end of the last century, psychogenic fibromyalgia was in full retreat before an advancing biomedical literature and a cognitive-behavioural coping treatment that viewed psychological distress as more consequence than cause of the disorder. Today, psychogenic fibromyalgia draws only a passing historical reference in the leading textbooks of rheumatology and psychosomatic medicine.