Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic disorder that is characterized by persistent severe and widespread pain. Research shows that majority of people who are affected by fibromyalgia are women. Approximately between 0.5% and 5% of adult in total are affected by fibromyalgia in Australia. Some of the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include mood disturbance, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and sleep disorder. This paper will examine the impact of society on the health of people with fibromyalgia disorder.
Recent studies on the impact of the society on people suffering from fibromyalgia show that one of the effects includes the economic burden. Researchers argue that fibromyalgia exposes the people to a great economic burden. According to Juuso et al. (2011), the cost of diagnosing fibromyalgia goes for approximately $950 per individual. This figure represents approximately $3,800 per individual in a year. However, since the majority of the people suffering from fibromyalgia are unable to work for long or sometimes fail to work at all due to musculoskeletal pain, they struggle to become productive to their families and the society as well (Rodham et al., 2010). This challenge depicts them as a liability to their families and society as they majorly depend on others to work so that they can achieve their needs (Underland & Malterud, 2007). However, as conflict theory proponents argue, people will always be involved in a conflict with one another due to the need to control the resources. According to the supporters of this theory, people with the ability and power to control the resources will strive to maintain their position as they control the limited resources (Cockerham & Scambler, 2010). Some of the limited resources explained by the conflict, theorists include money and other economic resources. People suffering from fibromyalgia are disadvantaged in the process of this conflict because they do not have the resources to use to help them control the limited resources in the competitive, complex society system (Juuso et al., 2011) Patients suffering from fibromyalgia suffer from other effects such as emotional disturbance and cognitive impairment. All these effects cannot allow them to work like other normal people. As conflict theorists argue, the society is unfair and is characterized by the inherent inequalities (Cockerham & Scambler, 2010); therefore, the economically disadvantaged suffer because they do not have the means to control and obtain the resources. The economic burden that society places on the people with fibromyalgia in a more risk exposed situation with the impacts such as cognitive impairment.
Further, Marxists believe that understanding the human society must start with the material conditions of human existence or other economic activities related to human necessities (Aronowitz, 2016). Marxists argue that the economic status of the society greatly influence other aspects of the society such as religion, political organization, ideology, and culture. (Aronowitz, 2016) Further, they claim that the ruling class can maintain their leadership position because they have the ruling intelligence and the force of the society. Therefore, Marxists also believe that anything that changes the mode of production must have an effect on the other aspects of the society. Disability is one of the factors that contribute to the change in the mode of production. However, since fibromyalgia is also considered to be a disability because people suffering from such kind of disorder are unable to do anything because they are in severe pain. Researchers argue that patients with fibromyalgia are unable to work for long hours like the normal people do because the pain they are exposed to (Escudero-Carretero et al., 2010). Further, the cognitive impairment and emotional disturbances make them further increase their incompetence (Sallinen et al., 2010). The anti-Marxists argue that Marxist ideology has changed the society and has led to segregation of the physically and emotionally disadvantaged. According to the feudalists, society should not segregate people based on their disability because their contributions can still be witnessed irrespective of the type of disability (Aronowitz, 2016). They argue that Marxist economies are unable to protect the disabled and separate them from the rest of the society because they are considered unproductive. Consequently, they criticize the Marxists desire to change the organization of labor that leads to profound social and economic implications to the families of the people with a disability. Although disability did not emerge with the beginning of the Marxism, the spread of its ideology throughout the world has led to increased issues of disability and segregation. Since the majority of countries, today are capitalists including Australia, United States, UK, and Canada it is almost impossible to provide the fibromyalgia people with equal opportunities to participate in the labor force (Rodham et al., 2010).
Functional and quality of life impact is another significant societal impact. Researchers argue that fibromyalgia affects its victims ability to establish and maintain a stable emotional and physical relationship with the people around them (Lempp et al., 2009). Research shows that fibromyalgia people are unable to plan their events because they are not capable of predicting their feelings. This, however, makes it difficult for them to go or stay in social places (Lempp et al., 2009). Since most of the people cannot work effectively because of the symptoms associated with the disease, majority of people fear the embarrassment of being branded or viewed as incompetent and incapable of doing things the way normal people do. On the other hand, symbolic interactionism theory tries to establish a relationship between the people and the society. As symbolic interactionism theory explains, people act towards the things by the meanings that the things have for them (Denzin, 2008). However, the meanings of these things emerge from the ongoing process of social interaction between the people and the society. Again, the meanings also emerge from the interpretation arising from the interaction (Denzin, 2008). In the case of people with fibromyalgia, they are unable to interact with their society and people around them effectively because of fear of how the society and people around them will interpret their behavior. Further, symbolic interactionism proponents argue that human beings are different from infrahuman because unlike the infrahuman who can only respond to their environment by evoking the stimulus and responding to the stimulus, human beings have the ability to interrupt the process; for example, stimulus-cognition-response(Denzin, 2008). However, since patients with fibromyalgia have interrupted and malfunctioned cognitive abilities, it is difficult to set the boundary between human and infrahuman.
According to Humphrey et al. (2010), society exposes patients suffering from fibromyalgia to psychological imprisonment where they have to worry about what will happen to them when they are bounded to wheelchair or bedridden. Research shows that majority of patients fear to reach this stage where they become imprisoned in their homes or their state of mind because they no longer have the ability to control what happens in their lives (Juuso et al., 2011). Further, research shows that majority of patients suffering from fibromyalgia are exposed to greater suicidal threats because of the depression they suffer; therefore, they need people to watch over them at any point, and they are never left to stay alone. However, despite being watched, they are still experiencing the suicidal thoughts and social isolation which might expose them to other hazardous impacts. Consequently, this exposes to other effects such as increased overreliance on others (Juuso et al., 2011). However, as role theory explains, the society is comprehensive and successful because people take different roles to meet the same need. According to the proponents of role theory, people are guided by their expectations and the expectations held by others (Biddle, 2013). These expectations correspond to different roles they perform in their daily lives. However, in the case of fibromyalgia patients are exposed to overreliance I which they have to rely on other people to take up their roles and at the same time perform their roles as well (Coole et al., 2010). This according to the role theory may hinder the bridging of individual behavior and the social structure (Biddle, 2013). Some of the compositions or elements of role theory include the participation in groups or organizations and occupation of distinct positions or roles which aim to meet the same objective. People with fibromyalgia are unable to meet the expectations described by the role theorists because they no longer have control of their lives.
In conclusion, patients suffering from fibromyalgia are exposed to more impacts in the society; therefore, as explained in this study, fibromyalgia is more than painful disorder condition resulting from a chronic disorder. Fibromyalgia contributes to the decrease of Australias productivity as it results in direct and indirect expenditures of billions of revenue; however, it is inadequately evaluated and managed. Most patients who have the desire to be employed full time are incapable of meeting their expectations. The symptoms of fibromyalgia diminish its victims productivity and quality of life; thus, increasing the burden of life. However, this does not mean that there is nothing that can be done to save or improve the situation. Therefore, the government needs to improve the compensation system so as to minimize the non-work related cognitive and emotional distress; thus, reducing or eliminating the stigmatization. Further, creative accommodative strategies towards special need victim and their families need to be established so as to optimize the patient skill set needs required to be developed.
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