By Lilly Rivera
Go! Healthy PR
Well, they are wrong. The acute pain, sensitivity throughout the body and chronic fatigue (fatigue) felt by people diagnosed with fibromyalgia is real, as indicated in the scientific literature and Dr. Juan Figueroa Carrer, clinical psychologist with forensic practice, graduated from Carlos University Albizu in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Figueroa who in the last five years has treated more than 100 people with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, explains that not being the independent person before and the transition of what to do with this condition that they do not know or understand affects the psychological part. Concentration and memory also tend to be affected.“You are not the condition, you have it,” says the clinical psychologist.
We speak with Dr. Figueroa about what can be done to help you understand fibromyalgia and achieve well-being:
1. Psychological therapies
Figueroa uses cognitive behavioral therapy with his patients to help them learn to recognize limiting thoughts and replace them with positive postures and favorable changes in their lifestyles.
Cognitive behavioral therapy according to the clinical psychologist, is the most that works because it makes it easier for the person to recognize their limiting thoughts , negativism, pessimism. And it makes it easier to start replacing thoughts and include small steps to improve the quality of life. “The person is leaving that structure from being a patient to a survivor,” Figueroa explains.
Figueroa, who is also a volunteer of the Fibromyalgia Support Group Inc. (FATF), says that the other therapy that has given him good results with his patients is acceptance and commitment therapy. “More than a therapy is a lifestyle, it’s changing your vision,” says Figueroa.
“We recognize that we have the disease, we accept it and then we dedicate ourselves to creating changes in it. It’s not like I’m conformism, I have it and I can not do anything else . ” It is, according to Figueroa, what things I can do now, know the limits, reorganize life, maximize what I can do and be functional.
Figueroa assures that the stigma and the feeling of abandonment of the relatives, the feeling invisible is the most difficult thing to work with the patients. People who suffer from fibromyalgia need to be understood. Therefore, he stresses, it is very important to include family therapy and recover credibility. “Family therapy must be mandatory,” he insists.
3. How to improve concentration and memory
Concentration and memory tend to be affected when you have fibromyalgia, says the psychologist. The games of looking for hidden images help a lot to improve attention and concentration.
Dr. Figueroa advises:
- Cognitive stimulation
- Write things down
- Do not make an issue because of its new limitations.
- Always work on exercises that stimulate the brain, such as reading small articles and discussing them with another person to remember them; practice relaxation techniques, write, tell stories or enjoy movies.
- Carry your day to day with your maximum and your minimum.
- Do not stay rethinking what you could not do.
- Speak positively For example, internalize that “this is part of the process”.
- Celebrate the minimum as your maximum.
The technique of mandalas, which is to observe, create or paint circular drawings of representation of our interior , is recommended to achieve concentration. They are available as coloring books for adults.
Painting the drawings, selecting the colors you are going to use, reviewing the outline and what that drawing represents for you, causes, according to the clinical psychologist, the brain to close doors to problems, concerns and pain because it focuses in carrying out the task.
Dr. Figueroa mentions that fibromyalgia is related to anxiety and stress. There are people who have discovered that the support of the family, the faith, the knowledge that they are doing everything possible with their illness gives them peace.
One of the tools that the clinical psychologist fosters is faith.
The person focuses on prayer and feels satisfaction. When you focus on something else, the pain diminishes, says Figueroa.“Faith is a requirement, of all human beings, because if you do not have faith in anything, life loses color, the engine of life where you are headed, if you do not have a faith that things can improve , that they are going to change, that there is hope in something, it is much more uphill “, regardless of religious belief, says Dr. Figueroa.
Fibromyalgia mostly affects women. Men and children also suffer from it. At the moment there is no cure. It is not degenerative.
It is treatable . In fact, Dr. Figueroa says that people should be treated comprehensively (physical, psychological and spiritual) to help them feel well and have quality of life.
Each human being is different. Some people have mild symptoms, others have severe symptoms. A rheumatologist can examine you and provide you with an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Juan Figueroa Carrer, clinical psychologist, Northeast Medical Center in Canóvanas 787-256-5555.