The Rise and Fall of the Psychosomatic Approach to Medically Unexplained Symptoms, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/366596682_The_Rise_and_Fall_of_the_Psychosomatic_Approach_to_Medically_Unexplained_Symptoms_Myalgic_Encephalomyelitis_and_Chronic_Fatigue_Syndrome DOI:10.33140/AEPHR.01.02.06ME/CF Download full-text PDF References (263)

Abstract

The psychosomatic approach to medically unexplained symptoms, myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome (MUS/ME/CFS) is critically reviewed using scientific criteria. Based on the ‘Biopsychosocial Model’, the psychosomatic theory proposes that patients’ dysfunctional beliefs, deconditioning and attentional biases cause or make illness worse, disrupt therapies, and lead to preventable deaths. The evidence reviewed suggests that none of these psychosomatic hypotheses is empirically supported. The lack of robust supportive evidence together with the use of fallacious causal assumptions, inappropriate and harmful therapies, broken scientific principles, repeated methodological flaws and an unwillingness to share data all give the appearance of cargo cult science. The psychosomatic approach needs to be replaced by a scientific, biologically grounded approach to MUS/ME/CFS that can be expected to provide patients with appropriate care and treatments. Patients with MUS/ME/CFS and their families have not been treated with the dignity, respect and care that is their human right. Patients with MUS/ME/CFS and their families could consider a class action legal case against the injuring parties.

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