Personality traits and patient attitudes in ME/CFS

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A number of different personality traits and attitudes have been proposed as possible risk factors, and/or perpetuating factors in people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, for example perfectionism.

Some proponents of the biopsychosocial or psychosocial model of ME/CFS have also claimed ME patients have negative attitudes toward mental illness, but this view is not supported by research.[1]

Theory[edit | edit source]

Evidence[edit | edit source]

Perfectionism[edit | edit source]

Personality traits[edit | edit source]

Van Houdenhove (1995) found that ME/CFS patients were more active than average before their illness.[2]

Personality disorders[edit | edit source]

Personality disorders were not found to be any common in patients with ME/CFS than in the general population.[3]

Attitudes towards mental illness[edit | edit source]

Wood and Wessely researched attitudes towards mental illness and personality traits in people with chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis in 1999, finding that attitudes towards mental illness are were about the same in both groups of patients.[1]

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

  • 1995, Does high 'action-proneness' make people more vulnerable to chronic fatigue syndrome?[2](Full text)
  • 2007, Personality and chronic fatigue syndrome: methodological and conceptual issues[4](Full text) - a summary of other findings
  • 2013, Prevalence of DSM-IV Personality Disorders in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Controlled Study[3](Abstract)

Letters, interviews and newspaper coverage[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - A psychiatric reference book published by the American Psychiatric Association, often referred to as "the psychiatrist's Bible". Although the most recent version (DSM-5) purports to be the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders, the editors of both previous versions of the manual have heavily criticized the current version due to the climate of secrecy that shrouded the development of the latest version. 69% of the people who worked on DSM-5 reported having ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Allen Frances, who headed the development of the previous version, warned of dangerous unintended consequences such as new false 'epidemics'. The British Psychological Society criticized DSM-5 diagnoses as "clearly based largely on social norms, with 'symptoms' that all rely on subjective judgements" and expressed a major concern that "clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their natural and normal responses to their experiences". A petition signed by over 13,000 mental health professionals stated that the lowered diagnostic thresholds in DSM-5, combined with entirely subjective criteria based on western social norms, would "lead to inappropriate medical treatment of vulnerable populations". The director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Thomas R. Insel, pointed out that the diagnoses in DSM-5 had no scientific validity whatsoever. (Learn more:

somatic symptom disorder A psychiatric term to describe an alleged condition whereby a person's thoughts somehow cause physical symptoms. The actual existence of such a condition is highly controversial, due to a lack of scientific evidence. It is related to other psychiatric terms, such as "psychosomatic", "neurasthenia", and "hysteria". Older terms include "somatization", "somatoform disorder", and "conversion disorder". Such terms refer to a scientifically-unsupported theory that claims that a wide range of physical symptoms can be created by the human mind, a theory which has been criticized as "mind over matter" parapsychology, a pseudoscience.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.