Psychopathological manifestations of joint hypermobility

Psychopathological manifestations of joint hypermobility and joint hypermobility syndrome/ Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type:… – PubMed – NCBI: The link between connective tissue and psychological distress revised. – Mar 2015 – partial repost from Latest EDS Research: March 2015

Having suffered from crippling anxiety in episodes lasting for days to weeks, I started researching, hoping to find some clues for new treatments. Instead, I found numerous studies showing that my anxiety is probably another “symptom” of my EDS and thus “incurable”.

This is just another painful feeling (in addition to physical pain) that I’m doomed to suffer for the rest of my life.

Psychological distress is a known feature of generalized joint hypermobility (gJHM), as well as of its most common syndromic presentation, namely Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type (a.k.a. joint hypermobility syndrome – JHS/EDS-HT), and significantly contributes to the quality of life of affected individuals.

Most published articles dealt with the link between gJHM (or JHS/EDS-HT) and anxiety-related conditions, and a novel generation of studies is emerging aimed at investigating the psychopathologic background of such an association.

In this paper, literature review was carried out with a semi-systematic approach spanning the entire spectrum of psychopathological findings in gJHM and JHS/EDS-HT.

Interestingly, in addition to the confirmation of a tight link between anxiety and gJHM, preliminary connections with

  • depression,
  • attention deficit (and hyperactivity) disorder,
  • autism spectrum disorders, and
  • obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

were also found.

Few papers investigated the relationship with schizophrenia with contrasting results.

The mind-body connections hypothesized on the basis of available data were discussed with focus on somatotype, presumed psychopathology, and involvement of the extracellular matrix in the central nervous system.

The hypothesis of positive Beighton score and alteration of interoceptive/proprioceptive/body awareness as possible endophenotypes in families with symptomatic gJHM or JHS/EDS-HT is also suggested.

Concluding remarks addressed the implications of the psychopathological features of gJHM and JHS/EDS-HT in clinical practice.

The defective collagen from EDS affects many bodily systems:

2 thoughts on “Psychopathological manifestations of joint hypermobility

  1. Bob Schubring

    Worth noting are the affective attributes of each of the psych conditions notes: Autism spectrum disorders and depression are protective means of avoiding further bodily harm, which in EDS is a risk whenever movement is attempted. Anxiety results from a perception of impending harm. In EDS, anything that dislocates bones and joints is learned to be a potential source of harm. The mental distress of living with EDS may be well-founded, in which case cognitive behavioral therapy, focusing on acquiring skills to prevent further harm to one’s joints, may be the only long term management strategy for the anxiety.

    Sigmund Freud infamously tried to explain post traumatic stress disorder as a manifestation of Oedipus Complex and “latent homosexual tendencies”, which launched much of the world on a witch hunt against gay people who potentially posed a military security risk. Freud ignored the simpler and more obvious explanation of PTSD, which that being in a war and seeing one’s friends killed, leads to a well-founded fear of harm!!

    Best way to relieve anxiety is to focus on the cause and seek solutions. If that’s too difficult to grasp, or there multiple causes that become confusing, anxiolytic drugs can be very helpful in controlling the adverse symptoms of anxiety, helping one to learn more about one’s fears and how to protect oneself from the things that cause the fear.

    Like the sergeant told the private, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean the enemy aren’t trying to kill us”.

    Liked by 1 person

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

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