Idiopathic environmental intolerances (formerly multiple chemical sensitivity) psychiatric perspectives.
ABSTRACT Idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI)/multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is characterized by various somatic symptoms which cannot be explained organically, but are attributed to the influences of toxic environmental chemicals in low, usually harmless doses. In the absence of a widely accepted definition of IEI, contradictory aetiological hypotheses and therapeutic suggestions are discussed. Some authors doubt the existence of IEI/MCS as a disease entity of its own. The label IEI does not implicate neither a diagnosis of somatic disease nor that it is caused by an avoidable exposure. Many IEI patients suffer from psychiatric diseases. A majority of them can be diagnosed as somatoform disorders. Consequently, psychiatric therapies could be effective. This review describes the current knowledge about IEI/MCS, outlines a diagnostic algorithm and a psychotherapeutic concept for variants of IEI understood as a somatoform disorder.
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ABSTRACT: A female patient with multiple chemical sensitivity and previous anaphylactoid reactions to local anaesthetics was admitted for removal of a thigh skin tumour under hypnosis as sole anaesthesia. The hypnotic protocol included hypnotic focused analgesia and a pre-operative pain threshold test. After inducing hypnosis, a wide excision was performed, preserving the deep fascia, and the tumour was removed; the patient's heart rate and blood pressure did not increase during the procedure. When the patient was de-hypnotised, she reported no pain and was discharged immediately. Our case confirms the efficacy of hypnosis and demonstrates that it may be valuable as a sole anaesthetic method in selected cases. Hypnosis can prevent pain perception and surgical stress as a whole, comparing well with anaesthetic drugs.Anaesthesia 07/2013; · 3.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Environmental intolerance (EI) is characterized by attribution of several, multisystem symptoms to specific environmental exposures, such as exposure to odorous/pungent chemicals, certain buildings, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and everyday sounds. The symptoms are medically unexplained, non-specific and the symptoms overlap between different types of EI. To approach the issue of underlying mechanisms the matter of overlap in prevalence between intolerances can provide valuable information. The aim of the study was to examine if the overlap between intolerance to odorous/pungent chemicals, certain buildings, EMFs and sounds is larger than the expected overlap if no association would exist between them. The study was using cross-sectional data from the Västerbotten Environmental Health Study in Sweden; a large questionnaire-based survey. 8520 adults (18-79 years) were randomly selected after stratification for age and sex, of whom 3406 (40%) participated. Individuals with the four types of intolerance were identified either through self-report, or by having been physician-diagnosed with a specific EI. The overlaps between the four EIs were greater than predictions based on coincidence for both self-reported and diagnosed cases (except for the overlap between diagnosed intolerance to sounds and EMFs). The results raise the question whether different types of EI share similar underlying mechanisms, or at least that the sufferers of EI share some predisposition to acquire the conditions.International journal of hygiene and environmental health 08/2013; · 2.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Little is known about the potential clinical relevance of non-specific physical symptoms (NSPS) reported by patients with self-reported environmental sensitivities. This study aimed to assess NSPS in people with general environmental sensitivity (GES) and idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) and to determine differences in functional status and illness behavior. An epidemiological study was conducted in the Netherlands, combining self-administered questionnaires with the electronic medical records of the respondents as registered by general practitioners. Analyses included n=5789 registered adult (≥18years) patients, comprising 5073 non-sensitive (NS) individuals, 514 in the GES group and 202 in the IEI-EMF group. Participants with GES were about twice as likely to consult alternative therapy compared to non-sensitive individuals; those with IEI-EMF were more than three times as likely. Moreover, there was a higher prevalence of symptoms and medication prescriptions and longer symptom duration among people with sensitivities. Increasing number and duration of self-reported NSPS were associated with functional impairment, illness behavior, negative symptom perceptions and prevalence of GP-registered NSPS in the examined groups. Even after adjustment for medical and psychiatric morbidity, environmentally sensitive individuals experience poorer health, increased illness behavior and more severe NSPS. The number and duration of self-reported NSPS are important components of symptom severity and are associated with characteristics similar to those of NSPS in primary care. The substantial overlap between the sensitive groups strengthens the notion that different types of sensitivities might be part of one, broader environmental illness.Journal of psychosomatic research 05/2014; 76(5):405-13. · 2.91 Impact Factor