Idiopathic environmental intolerances (formerly multiple chemical sensitivity) psychiatric perspectives.

Department of Toxicology, II. Medical Department, Technische Universität München, Germany.
Journal of Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.79). 11/2001; 250(4):309-21. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.2001.00870.x
Source: PubMed

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: This study was designed to determine the correlation between mental health and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). The present study was conducted at two companies in 2011; both in Kyushu, Japan. The "subjective symptoms" subscale of the "Self-diagnosis Checklist for Assessment of Workers' Accumulated Fatigue" was used as a mental health subscale. To determine if multiple chemical exposure has an impact on mental health, we composed an original path model using structural equation analysis. Our final path model can be regarded as good: CMIN/DF = 1.832, CFI = 0.996, and RMSEA = 0.038, AIC = 71.158. As expected, chemical sensitivity and other chemical sensitivity scores predicted the health effects of multiple chemical exposure (β = 0.19, 0.64). Mental health was predicted by symptom severity and life impact (β = 0.56 and 0.12), which were both affected by multiple chemical exposure (β = 0.38 and 0.89, respectively). As far as we are aware, this is the first study using path analysis to explore whether MCS can indicate mental health in worker populations worldwide, and we found a significant causal relationship between them. This could indicate that more focus should be placed on the impact of MCS on mental health in future investigations.
    Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s12199-014-0434-2
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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. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.02.008 · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    02/2015, Degree: PhD