Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mentally Yours

Physical or mental? A perspective on chronic fatigue syndrome

is an excellent paper.  I found it helpful because it looks at why the 'mental or physical' diagnosis matters, as things stand today in the world of medicine, benefits, insurance and public perception.  I am someone who absolutely believes the mind and body are linked and affect one another. I accept that all chronic illnesses are likely to have - or to create - psychological problems in addition to physical ones. Yet I also object to my physical illness being misdiagnosed as purely a mental one.

The following struck me particularly:

"Many patients with CFS mention that they were under considerable stress at the time that they fell ill. But so are people who have heart attacks. The presence of stress leading up to a heart attack does not result in heart attacks bring classified as mental illnesses."

I think most people will know someone close-ish to them who has suffered a heart attack, and am moved to ask one simple question: how many of those people would be happy if after a stress-induced heart attack, their loved one were offered ONLY psychiatric treatment? 

How happy would you be?