Psychiatric disorders in EDS strongly associated with pain

Psychiatric disorders in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are frequent, diverse and strongly associated with pain. – PubMed – NCBI | Rheumatol Int. 2015 Oct

Psychiatric disorders and psychosocial impairment are common, yet poorly characterized, findings in EDS patients.

We investigated the frequency and types of psychiatric disorders and their relationship to systemic manifestations in a cohort of 106 classic and hypermobility type EDS patients. In this retrospective study, extensive medical chart review was performed for patients referred at two genetics clinics who were diagnosed with EDS. Statistical analysis was undertaken to determine the frequency of psychiatric disorders and association with systemic findings

Psychiatric disorders were found in 42.5 % of the EDS cohort,  with 22.7 % of patients affected with 2 or more psychiatric diagnoses.

Anxiety and depression were most commonly reported, with frequencies of 23.6 and 25.5 %, respectively.

A variety of other psychiatric diagnoses were also identified.

  • Abdominal pain [odds ratio (OR) 7.38],
  • neuropathic pain (OR 4.07),
  • migraines (OR 5.21),
  • joint pain (OR 2.85) and
  • fatigue (OR 5.55)

were significantly associated with the presence of a psychiatric disorder.

The presence of any pain symptom was significantly associated with having a psychiatric disorder (OR 9.68).

  • Muscle pain (OR 2.79),
  • abdominal pain (OR 5.78),
  • neuropathic pain (OR 3.91), migraines (OR 2.63) and
  • fatigue (OR 3.78) were 

were significantly associated with having an anxiety or mood disorder.

Joint hypermobility and the classic dermatological features of EDS showed no significant association with having a psychiatric disorder.

After researching pain for a few years now, it seems obvious to me, but apparently not to most researchers, that pain itself may be causing many of the “mental” side-effects in patients with all kinds of syndromes that cause pain.

Our findings demonstrate a high frequency of psychiatric disorders and an association with pain symptoms in EDS.  


7 thoughts on “Psychiatric disorders in EDS strongly associated with pain

  1. Unhinged

    Absolutely. Really great researchers (like Zyp and others), most great geneticists (who specialize in EDS/related heritable connective tissue disorders), and any M.D. (Including Mental Health care professionals) willing to learn about these disorders, should come to these conclusions about patients with severe pain. This is how I know how Intelligent you are Zyp. Every time I let my fears about my future health get me down, I know if I stay focused on your blog, I feel better emotionally. I am so lucky to have combinations of all of you on my team. I hope 2016 is a great year for all of us. Thanks so much for all you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rightmerca

    what is not mentioned in this study is the high prevalence of dysautonomia more commonly postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and thus it causing disfunction of the autonomic nervous system so many with EDS are misdiagnosed and given psychiatric diagnosis when it be the more the flight fight response. It would of been good to see how many had this comorbid syndrome and thus I believe the psychiatric diagnosis is mislabled and thus putting EDS oh its just in head thinking which is hog wash and many with EDS also have sleep disorders undiagnosed as well, This study and reading the abstract i take as affront and not very comprehensive because EDS causes pain and other issues and many times we are poo pooed off as being hysterical when we are frustrated by the medical establishment not taking us seriously and thus most is frustrating banging our heads on a brick wall and causing more of the frustration and just wanting to be acknowledged and feelings validated and not dismissed like a naughty child or as hypochondriac or worse given the label of munchaussens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I like this article because it specifically states that PAIN is causing the psych symptoms, not the other way around as so many others imply.

      It argues AGAINST writing off EDS symptoms as “just psych problems” and showing that the “psych problems” are actually symptoms of EDS just like pain, not the cause.


    2. Unhinged

      Everyone is correct who has commented, in my opinion. This is why no TWO EDSers ever present to doctors in the same way. It takes really knowledgable healthcare teams to figure out what’s happening with each patient. I love this blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: What Happens When Pain Goes Untreated? | EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

  4. Pingback: Management of chronic pain in EDS – part 2 | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

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