Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fibromyalgia syndrome have been often defined as linked conditions due to the similarity of symptoms exhibited by the patients. Furthermore, according to the study conducted by Hauser et al. (2013), the majority of patients eligible for analysis and the assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia were women (93.9%) (p. 1216). Therefore, the importance of assessing how posttraumatic growth can affect women, especially mothers that suffer from fibromyalgia and experience a number of disruptions in their lifestyle are an issue that requires further exploration.
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Pain and overwhelming fatigue, cognitive impairment, as well as sleep dysfunction, are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia (Sumpton & Moulin, 2009, p. 477); therefore, the lifestyle of a patient, especially a mother, is challenged to a great extent. In such cases, mothers with fibromyalgia are advised to engage in physical activities that increase the well-being as well as prevent the muscles from wasting, subsequently reducing the chronic pain and tiredness (A.D.A.M., 2013, para. 1).
The lifestyle of a mother with posttraumatic growth and fibromyalgia is challenged by physical and psychological pain on a daily basis, which greatly influences the immediate family, which, in turn, has to make some changes in lifestyle to relieve the mother from her day-to-day duties that she cannot accomplish due to her condition.
To relieve the symptoms of posttraumatic growth in mothers suffering from fibromyalgia, it is often advised to take antidepressants in low dosages so that the patient is able to deal with chronic sleep and pain problems. Mothers that do not get enough sleep due to the constant pain are challenged to exist in a family with children and other relatives since they lack the energy and physical wellness to perform as mothers. Therefore, a framework for positive change in a household where a mother is challenged by PTSD and fibromyalgia directly relates to making changes among all family members in order to relieve the mother from usual duties. It is important for the family to understand why the mother needs to rest for some time, so that the family’s activities can change from playing outside to reading a book inside while the mother is resting, for instance.
However, changes in family behavior are not what will induce positive change for PTSD and fibromyalgia since the treatment requires some talk and body therapy for the patient, which can include the techniques for meditation, changes to undertake a new hobby and sleep improvement strategies. Positive change transformations occur when a patient starts achieving the balance between mental and physical health that has been challenged by PTSD and fibromyalgia.
Posttraumatic growth will develop as soon as the patient starts appreciating life, recognizes a possibility for positive change in the chronic condition, improves the relationships with the immediate family (Picoraro, Womer, Kazak, & Feudtner, 2014, p. 209). It is important to note that family and overall social support are instrumental in achieving positive change regarding posttraumatic growth.
To conclude, solutions for treating the symptoms of PTDS and fibromyalgia as well as the achievement of posttraumatic growth in women are vast and continue to develop and grow. For example, the study conducted by Burgess et al. (2016) explored morning versus evening bright light home treatment for relieving the pain sensitivity in women suffering from the condition (p. 160). According to the results, both evening and morning treatments caused improvements in women’s sensitivity towards pain.
A.D.A.M. (2013). Fibromyalgia: Lifestyle changes.
Burges, H., Park, M., Ong, J., Shakoor, N., Williams, D., & Burns, J. (2016). Morning versus evening bright light treatment at home to improve function and pain sensitivity for women with fibromyalgia: A Pilot Study.
Hauser, W. et al. (2013). Posttraumatic stress disorder in fibromyalgia syndrome: Prevalence, temporal relationship between posttraumatic stress and fibromyalgia symptoms, and impact on clinical outcome. Pain, 154(8), 1216-1223.
Picoraro, J., Womer, J., Kazak, A., & Feudtner, C. (2014). Posttraumatic growth in parents and pediatric patients. J Palliat Med, 17(2), 209-218.
Sumpton, J., & Moulin, D. (2009). Fibromyalgia: Presentation and management with a focus on pharmacological treatment. Pain Res Manag, 13(6), 477-483.