Because a close family member suffers from Fibromyalgia (among other ailments), I was very interested in reading Reversing Chronic Disease: A Journey Back to Health
The author, Patricia Stephens, CNC, chronicles how she was able to heal her condition using an integrated approach. She agreed to answer a few questions for me.
- Your book points out that for some, there is a link between ADD and Fibromyalgia. How did you discover this?
I bumped into a lady with FMS who had complete remission of FMS symptoms. When she told me about ADD, I saw myself, and it just made sense.
After a very careful screening for ADD, I knew that I fit and so did my doctor!
Upon getting the right recipe of medications (Ritalin and Buspar) , the pain completely went away, my brain engaged, my mood got better, and my energy improved dramatically.
(Note: My relative also had her symptoms disappear while on Ritalin.)
This dramatic improvement made me wonder if other FMS patients knew there is a connection between these disorders. I spent a lot of time early on studying in the medical library to see if anyone else had seen the connection!
15 years ago, the medical librarian and I could find no documentation. But documentation has surfaced since. Understanding Women with ADHD, by Dr. Quinn and Dr Nadeau; Dr. Daniel Amen, http://www.amenclinic.com etc. The ADD/ADHD criteria can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
- I’ve often thought that getting a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia wasn’t helpful since many Doctors won’t investigate causes for symptoms any further. Basically they tell the patient they have to live with it as a life sentence. Why else is it sometimes not helpful for someone to get a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia?
Insurance companies don’t like you. You feel you are in a “box” that people set aside. It is like you can’t get your act together. You are right. Doctors sorta dismiss your complaints after that time and I found that I was not taken seriously.
- I have a loved one whose health problems showed up dramatically after hysterectomy. Why does Fibromyalgia seem to affect more menopausal women, especially after hysterectomy?
YES. I believe FMS has a huge hormonal imbalance component to it. Correcting my imbalances has basically been the most important thing I have done to get well.
What I am screaming to tell women is these hormonal imbalances can cause a wide array of symptoms that many don’t associate with imbalance.
There is also technology in the here and now to identify and safe plant-based hormones to help correct imbalances. There is a little work to it and the book described it in detail. CORRECT dosing is critical.
Women need to arm themselves with information. Hormonal imbalance often leads women to hysterectomy. These imbalances can be corrected with plants before drastic measures are taken such as removal of the uterus and ovaries. I want women to know this!! I want my ovaries back!!!!!
(See also this podcast interview on hysterectomy afteraffects and information.)
- How can a person find out if their hormones are out of balance, especially if lab tests are coming back “normal”?
From my experience in myself and so many clients, I find that most blood analysis is basically useless. I had those tests for years and they came back in the NORMAL range.
Saliva testing showed my true imbalances. I have also used them in clients for years, and see a strong improvements after correcting imbalances. Saliva tests measure the FREE or active hormone. It is like what the cell is getting instead of what is bound in the blood. Big difference.
- Some people try to avoid Western medicine and medications. Are there instances when drugs are helpful for a time, and how were you able to wean yourself off of conventional medications?
Drugs that I have really seen help FMS are Wellbutrin, Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Dexedrine (only one of these). All 5 of these drugs can be very effective on their own, but many adults find they need to BALANCE them with a low-dose medication that affects serotonin like Buspar, Zoloft, etc.
DOSAGE IS CRITICAL on all meds. Smart doctors start low dosage and titrate up slowly. You don’t have to meet ADD criteria to be prescribed Wellbutrin, but you do have to meet ADD criteria to be prescribed Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Dexedrine.
How I weaned off my drugs was by balancing my hormones. Hormones help make brain chemicals as documented in the book. Many women can do this. Some still need a low dose med for brain chemistry.
SAM-e is a great natural for mood and pain. It is best taken on an empty stomach. I start clients on 200 mg. twice a day. Some need 400 mg. twice a day for a few weeks, and then most can reduce the dosage. It is typically not mixed with conventional antidepressants, but Harvard Medical School is doing a study on using it along side of conventional antidepressants. (See your doctor.) Google Life Extension and type in SAM-e.
Thanks so much Patricia for answering my questions!
If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and fatigue, depression and anxiety, please look into this book.