An Attitude That Prevails

I am writing this in regard to a Letter to the Editor comment in the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle of 2/15/12. It is a reaction to an unsolved outbreak of symptoms in nearby Leroy, NY. The following published opinion from a medical doctor speaks volumes with reference to fibro and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Historical context for the Le Roy outbreak

I have read with interest about the case of mass hysteria in Le Roy, Genesee County. The truth is that this phenomenon is far more common than presently realized.

Psychosomatic illnesses tend to spread in epidemic fashion, similar to infectious outbreaks. A survey of medical history demonstrates this concept quite nicely. Hysterical symptoms like paralysis and blindness were extremely common in the days of Freud and Breuer. Only after we learned that these disorders were a form of neurosis did the cases finally begin to disappear.

Psychogenic illnesses permeate the current medical landscape and are a tremendous source of health care expenditure. Disorders like chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome have spread in epidemic proportions despite little consensus among physicians as to their etiology or to an optimal management and treatment approach. These are the telltale features of psychosomatic disease. We have a lot to learn from the recent outbreak in Le Roy. It is far from an isolated incident.



I am trying to calm down enough to articulate myself, before I do the same. In my current state, I could fit nicely into his neurotic category. Thanks for reading.
I am sorry if anyone was offended in any way by my recent letter in the Democrat and Chronicle. The space available for writing is short and I was only able to convey a short message. The first thing I want to make clear is that this is only my opinion and clearly other valid ones do exist. When I suggest that fibromyalgia, CFS, chronic back pain, IBS, and other disorders are often psychogenic in etiology by no means do I mean that the symptoms are not real or that they are "all in your head." The pain and distress brought on by these diseases are very real and have a tremendous impact on the quality of life of the patients who suffer from them. Rather, I am of the opinion that the cause of these epidemic disorders is psychogenic (as opposed to infectious, inflammatory, neoplastic, etc.) and, therefore, the best course of treatment is to address the cause if we want to achieve a cure. Clearly, we still need a lot more research to be done.

For further reading, I would highly recommend these books:
Healing Back Pain by John E. Sarno, M.D.
The Mindbody Prescription by John E. Sarno, M.D.
The Divided Mind by John E. Sarno, M.D.
Unlearn Your Pain by Howard Schubiner, M.D.
Freedom From Fibromyalgia by Nancy Selfridge, M.D.

My best wishes for health and happiness. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any help or if you have any further questions or comments.

Best Regards,
Michael Kadoch, MD
Mr. Kadoch,

You have no idea what an understatement the word "offended" is. The better word, is "disgusted" no, maybe "livid" or "enraged." Trust me when I tell you everyone here knows what you meant by "psychogenic" we have all heard it at one time or other from a well-educated, smart, and otherwise well intentioned physician. Luckily, there are many experienced physicians out there that "know" rather than opine that CFS/ME has a biological cause. There is an incredible amount of exciting new research and studies out by specialists.

I appreciate your post and I do not think you are ill intentioned only painfully ill-informed. It is easy to confuse a lack of understanding or certainty about a disease's etiology with a lack of biological cause. Unfortunately, I cannot sign this with an MD, only a JD. But, I do know that opinions are based on the information available at the time or in one's environment. And convential wisdom is not always wise. I think up until the 1950's MS was thought to be some kind of hysterical paralysis.

My point is when someone who has struggled with this debilitating and progressive disease for years, sees in a newspaper that an MD thinks this wicked illness is caused by unresolved emotional issues- well it hurts, it is
soul crushing, and frankly disappointing. We are all hopeful that a cause and then a treatment will eventually be discovered. And reading a well-written letter like yours is signed MD well, one experiences a bit of a flashback to our first - or was it the tenth- appointment an MD said "hmm hmm sounds like you are just stressed out."

Also, we are all very well aware of the strong mind body connection. And yes, our symptoms are real and many of us try to control our symptoms by using some mind-body techniques. Unfortunately, these techniques cannot relieve our bodies from having endocrine dysfunction, or neurological symptoms (tingling, numbness, weakness, decreased/absent reflexes ON EXAM and unexplained multiple white lesions on MRI, - you get the idea).

After years of pushing thru finishing college, working as a social worker, finishing law school, and working as a lawyer for 10 years- I could no longer adjust (strict diet, yoga meditation, pacing etc.) and work full time went to part-time and now well I write from my couch too weak to shower today. THIS I tell you is the unresolved emotional issue: Slowly loosing your ability to function independently.

Please review some of the research and clinical studies on this disease. Maybe it will save a future patient much pain.

Dr. Nancy Klimas (immunologist)
Dr. Benjamin Natelson (neurologist) both have dozens of published papers on their CFS/ME clinical studies.

PWCalvin;bt6657 said:

I think I'll send an email to this guy and let him know my thoughts. His email address is, or I might drop a comment onto his blog.

You inspired me. I sent the post below to the doctors email address. I probably would not otherwise have responded to him- just been insanely angry.


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