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Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia and Addiction

woman with Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental disorder. The Mayo Clinic explains that it is a disorder “characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” An individual struggling with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her cravings (e.g. drugs, sex, gambling, etc.) above all else. Addiction, also known as substance use disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. Addiction will affect every facet of an individual’s life. When an individual is diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as fibromyalgia as well as substance use disorder it is referred to as a dual diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It is highly recommended that an individual struggling with addiction and diagnosed with fibromyalgia undergo treatment that specializes in treating individuals with dual diagnoses. Dual diagnosis treatment programs are designed to support an individual through his or her treatment with dual foci. It is essential to address and treat one’s substance abuse issues concurrently with the treatment of his or her fibromyalgia. The co-morbid disorders contribute to one another, and treatment for one should not be prioritized over the other. The tailored treatment plan an individual will obtain in a dual diagnosis program will provide him or her with the tools to manage the symptoms of his or her fibromyalgia while abstaining from the use of drugs and/ or alcohol. 

There are a variety of treatment methods, including non-traditional options that could be included in an individual’s dual diagnosis treatment plan. An effective treatment plan for fibromyalgia and substance use disorder will likely require input from both mental health professionals and medical providers. Different types of psychotherapeutic modalities that could be incorporated into one’s treatment plan could include, individual psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), expressive arts therapy, and/ or interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Depending on one’s needs, other treatments integrated into one’s treatment plan could include physical therapy, occupational therapy, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, and pain medications. The proper support and a customized treatment plan will provide an individual with the highest potential for a successful recovery. 

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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