Prof. Carl-Gerhard Gottfries is a professor of psychiatry. In this video, he explains how he and his colleagues first approached the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia and ME from a psychiatric perspective, and later came to view these illnesses as “multi-organic disorders” involving the immune system.
Gottfries became interested in ME in 1957, when a pandemic of Asian flu swept Sweden. Gottfries was working in a psychiatric unit at that time. Patients with complaints of profound fatigue were being referred to the psychiatric unit after doctors could not find any physical explanation for their symptoms. Gottfries saw over 100 of these patients before getting the Asian flu himself and coming down with profound fatigue.
His clinic, which treats patients using a biomedical approach and also conducts research, is under scrutiny from government officials who believe ME/CFS and fibromyalgia are psychosomatic illnesses that should be treated using a “biopsychosocial” approach, the center piece of which is psychotherapy.
“Our experience is these patients float around in hospital care without anybody giving notice to them. When they arrive here, they have been ill for eleven years. They’ve gone around with their disorder for eleven years without getting a real diagnosis. There is a great need for information for these patients. And not only for these patients, but for society.”