If someone were to follow you throughout your day, randomly burning, stabbing, and electrically shocking you, would that cause you anxiety?
Common sense would dictate that as a healthy, normally functioning human being, this would indeed cause anxiety.
If there is a mechanism at work that is actively destroying your sensory nerves, of course your body is going to send signals of great distress to you.
I once asked a neurologist if there is a connection between Anxiety and Small Fiber Neuropathy. His response was “I don’t know.”
I went on to state how if SFN affects all the senses, and anxiety represents the body’s response to external stimuli, then there had to be a connection. He gave me a thoughtful look to acknowledge my point. However, it seems he was still not convinced, as he remained silent. I believe the only way to have fully convinced him, was to present a peer-reviewed study on the matter.
And this exemplifies a criticism I have of dogmatic approaches towards modern medicine. Discarding simple common sense and logic seems to go against the very basic principles of evidence-based care.
To not definitively acknowledge that burning, stabbing sensations, or electrical shock sensations would cause anxiety for a patient, essentially deprives that patient of his/her humanity in the eyes of the doctor. After all, would not the doctor feel anxiety under the same set of circumstances? Thus, this type of thinking and approach seems to more illustrate a matter of cognitive dissonance than science.
As a patient who is experiencing SFN, I can state definitively that there is a link between this condition and elevated levels of anxiety, and I don’t need to read a peer-reviewed study to affirm this. Exactly how far and how deep this goes, I cannot say, and I’m sure it varies depending on the individual. In my case, I have had bouts with extreme anxiety, and this started when my SFN symptoms began. And in fact, I spent over 2 years having my SFN condition misdiagnosed as “Anxiety” by many doctors – and so I’m all too familiar with the link.