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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 486590, 9 pages
Review Article

Fibromyalgia and Depression

1Center for Neurosensory Disorders, University of North Carolina, CBNo.7280, 3330 Thurston Building, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
2Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
3Integrated Program in Neuroscience, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
4Department of Anesthesia, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
5Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Received 2 May 2011; Accepted 30 September 2011

Academic Editor: Petra Schweinhardt

Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Gracely et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fibromyalgia and depression might represent two manifestations of affective spectrum disorder. They share similar pathophysiology and are largely targeted by the same drugs with dual action on serotoninergic and noradrenergic systems. Here, we review evidence for genetic and environmental factors that predispose, precipitate, and perpetuate fibromyalgia and depression and include laboratory findings on the role of depression in fibromyalgia. Further, we comment on several aspects of fibromyalgia which support the development of reactive depression, substantially more so than in other chronic pain syndromes. However, while sharing many features with depression, fibromyalgia is associated with somatic comorbidities and absolutely defined by fluctuating spontaneous widespread pain. Fibromyalgia may, therefore, be more appropriately grouped together with other functional pain disorders, while psychologically distressed subgroups grouped additionally or solely with affective spectrum disorders.