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Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Use The Spoon Theory When Talking To Loved Ones

Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

One of the hardest things is getting my husband to understand what I mean when I say Im tired, Genevieve says. Im not normal tired, Im exhausted to the bone. One thing thats helped her explain her exhaustion and pain to others is using an analogy called the spoon theory.The basic premise: You have a spoonful of energy available for each task you need to get done each day. Every time you do something, you remove a spoon. People with chronic illnesses start each day with fewer, smaller spoons than healthy people, and everyday tasks require more spoons when you have chronic illness than when you dont. You can run out of spoons and energy much more quickly than those around you.

Beginners Guide To Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Are you new to a chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis? Has a loved one recently received such a diagnosis? Have you been living with chronic fatigue for years but have not yet found a way to cope? This article will discuss some of the most important things to know about chronic fatigue syndrome and will conclude with a natural way to get help.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disease for doctors to diagnose and even fully understand.

CFS is a physical condition, but it can also affect a person emotionally. This means that someone with CFS may feel physical symptoms, such as:

  • extreme fatigue
  • headaches
  • dizziness

But the person may also notice emotional symptoms, such as a loss of interest in favorite activities.

Also, different people with CFS can have different symptoms. Many CFS symptoms are similar to those of other health conditions, like mono, Lyme disease, or depression. And the symptoms can vary over time, even in the same person.

This makes treating the illness complicated. No single medicine or treatment can address all the possible symptoms.

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Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

In this day and age, you may feel incredulous to find yourself in a medical “wilderness” where little is known about your condition and the way out is unmapped. But for those with chronic fatigue syndrome , it is a reality.

If you have been diagnosed with CFS, although you may initially feel at a loss or even abandoned, the truth is you are not alone. Take heart! Those who started the journey before you have helped their doctors and themselves chart effective coping strategies. It’s true that coping mechanisms are not a cure nevertheless, they can make a huge difference to the quality of life you rally for yourself and they can help you safeguard the relationships you cherish.

Living with CFS can be a challenging journey through the wilderness. To effectively steer yourself, keep these “survival” tips in mind:

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

See A Psychiatrist Or Therapist

Treat chronic fatigue syndrome naturally.

If symptoms of chronic fatigue sound similar to symptoms of depression thats because theres often a lot of crossover between the two. Experiencing fatigue can make you feel depressed and feeling depressed can promote feelings of fatigue, which creates a vicious cycle, Dr. Cohen says. Getting treated for depression and/or anxiety can make a big difference in how well you can cope with fatigue, she says. A psychiatrist, preferably one who specializes in chronic diseases, can help you get the right diagnosis and treatment for mental health issues, especially when medication is necessary.

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Other Lifestyle Changes To Manage Me/cfs

Other ways to manage ME/CFS include:

  • equipment â some people may need a blue badge for parking, a wheelchair, a stairlift, or other adaptations for their home
  • changes in your place of work or study â when you’re ready and well enough to return to work or studies, your doctor should be able to advise you on changes that could ease your return

There’s limited or no evidence to recommend:

  • resting completely â there’s no evidence this helps
  • complementary medicine â there is not enough evidence that it’s helpful for ME/CFS

You should not take up vigorous unsupervised exercise such as going to the gym or for a run as this may make your symptoms worse.

What You Can Do

Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that includes:

  • Your signs and symptoms. Be thorough. While fatigue may be affecting you most, other symptoms â such as memory problems or headaches â also are important to share with your doctor.
  • Key personal information. Recent changes or major stressors in your life can play a very real role in your physical well-being.
  • Health information. List any other conditions for which you’re being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements that you take regularly.
  • Questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.

For chronic fatigue syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What are the possible causes of my symptoms or condition?
  • What tests do you recommend?
  • If these tests don’t pinpoint the cause of my symptoms, what additional tests might I need?
  • On what basis would you make a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome?
  • Are there any treatments or lifestyle changes that could help my symptoms now?
  • Do you have any printed materials I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • What activity level should I aim for while we’re seeking a diagnosis?
  • Do you recommend that I also see a mental health provider?

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.

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What Is Already Known On This Topic

  • Paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis is relatively common and disabling, with significant impact on the individual, family and health services.

  • Adolescents are increasingly going online for health purposes. Online resources can be beneficial in providing social support. However, disadvantages include misleading or inaccurate medical information.

  • Previous studies suggest that online provision of information about CFS/ME is neither balanced nor consistent with evidence-based practice.

General Exercise Tips For People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Coping with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – how to still LIVE your life!

Be guided by your doctor or specialist, but general suggestions include:

  • Experiment to find the type of exercise that works best for you. Choose from a range of gentle activities such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, walking and light weight training.
  • Keep an activity diary so you have a long-term picture of your performance levels and factors that might impact on your symptoms.
  • Stop the physical activity well before you feel any symptom flare. Pacing yourself is very important.
  • Remember that the amount of exercise you can do will change from one day to the next.
  • Listen to your body if you dont feel up to exercising on a particular day, dont.
  • Find out as much as you can about your ME/CFS. Make sure you consult with health professionals who fully understand ME/CFS as a ‘real’ biomedical condition.

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Try A Program Of Graduate Exercise

If overexertion causes symptom flareups, there is the temptation to move as little as possible. However, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to stiff joints, weight gain, increased stress, and other negative factors that may make your symptoms even worse. Thus, you have to stay physically active. What is graduated exercise, and how may it help?

A graduated exercise program begins with something as simple as light stretches. Under the supervision of a doctor, you gradually increase the amount of exercise that you perform. At times, you may face setbacks due to overexertion. However, the benefits of daily activity, for your heart, lungs, brain, and other critical body systems, are a must. Hopefully, the exercise will also improve energy levels, help you control stress, make it easier to sleep at night, and provide other health benefits.

Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Development Of A Community

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
First Posted : January 10, 2013Last Update Posted : October 16, 2017
  • Study Details

The aim of the study is to develop, carry out, evaluate and measure the effects of a new patient education program for patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in primary healthcare.

In an randomized controlled trial design the effects of the patient education program on coping, physical functioning, fatigue, pain, acceptance, anxiety, depression, quality of life, self- efficacy, and illness perception will be compared with treatment as usual.

The results of the main project will lead to the elaboration of the final patient education program that can be implemented in primary health care, as well as development of a training program for future program-conductors.

Condition or disease
Chronic Fatigue SyndromeCopingPatient Education Behavioral: Patient education program Not Applicable
Layout table for study information

Study Type :
Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Development of a Community-based Patient Education Program
Study Start Date :

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Organize Your Medical Information

Having a handle on your medical information will make you a more powerful advocate for yourself.

I am a congenitally disorganized person. So, after years of papers flying all over the place, a friend helped me create a physical notebook, with tabs for Articles, Notes from Medical Appointments, Medical History, Current Medications, and Lab Results.

I had all of my lab results sent to me, and I alphabetized them with tabs, like Lupus, Lyme, Parvovirus, and Parasites. That made every appointment more productive for me and my providers.

Who Is At Risk For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Beginnerâs Guide to Having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Because the cause of CFS is not known, its hard to know what might put someone at risk for getting the condition. However, certain factors are seen more often in people with CFS. These factors include:

  • Gender. CFS happens up to 4 times more often in women than in men.
  • Age. CFS commonly affects middle-aged people, but people of any age can get it.

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How To Cope With Fatigue

Managing fatigue requires a well-rounded approach. This may entail changes to your medication regimen, trying supplements in addition to your medication, managing stress and mental health, and making other healthy lifestyle changes.We asked doctors and chronic illness patients for their best tips on coping with chronic fatigue and exhaustion.

Causes Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are unknown, but there are a number of theories to what may cause the condition. The most popular theory is that the immune system cells lose their ability to fight infection after exposure to various common viruses or bacteria. The condition was first recognized in 1934 by Acheson G. Waddle, who published an article describing what he called a very peculiar illness that affected schoolgirls in his home country of New Zealand.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder that makes you feel chronically exhausted or unrefreshed. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but there are some common factors. Sleep disorders, low grade fevers, depression and anxiety, chronic stress, exercise reduction and changes in hormone levels are all possible causes.

There are a number of sleep disorders that can cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Often times, the symptoms of these disorders may overlap with those of CFS, and it is hard to determine which one is causing the problem. Its important to identify who has a sleep disorder as early as possible for treatment by a professional.

Distinguishing symptoms may include swollen glands or sore throats however, these symptoms are not exclusive to CFS. Depression is estimated to be the cause of up to half of all cases of CFS. Depression is a common mood disorder that affects many people, including those with chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

If youre not sleeping well, its a given that youre going to feel fatigue. People with autoimmune or inflammatory diseases have to work even harder to get good rest, so you have to make quality sleep one of your top priorities, Dr. Cohen says. We could write a whole article on sleep tips for people with arthritis but the short version: make sure your room is dark, cool, comfortable, and quiet. Dr. Cohen also suggests you keep your bedroom solely for low-stress activities, move electronics out of the room, and get evaluated for sleep problems if you snore or have insomnia.

Managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome In Winter: Tips To Cope With Winter Tiredness

What To Do With Family Dealing With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Written byMohan GarikiparithiPublished onDecember 21, 2016

Winter tiredness stems from an increased production of melatonin, the hormone regulating our sleep-wake cycle. When its dark, our body believes it is time to go to sleep, so it makes more melatonin. Hence, sunlight is a good way to combat melatonin production and keep you awake. But with the sun nowhere to be found in the middle of winter, how can we fix this problem?

Winter tiredness is the feeling of sleepiness in the early evening. The sun is long gone, so your body goes into sleep mode in the absence of light. As more melatonin is produced, you feel like youre ready to go to bed when its only 6 p.m.

Its important to know the difference between winter tiredness and the winter blues . Winter tiredness is a sleepy feeling that goes away after resting or when the sun comes out. The winter blues, on the other hand, is a form of seasonal depression and mood changes, characterized by an all-day feeling of fatigue that does not go away after sleeping and a lingering feeling of sadness. If you have any of the latter symptoms, you should speak with your doctor.

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What To Expect From Your Doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • What are your symptoms and when did they begin?
  • Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Do you have problems with memory or concentration?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping?
  • How often do you feel depressed or anxious?
  • How much do your symptoms limit your ability to function? For example, have you ever had to miss school or work because of your symptoms?
  • What treatments have you tried so far for this condition? How have they worked?

I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Heres How I Cope

It started with a simple sore throat.

A few days later, when my throat still hurt and I could barely get out of bed, I went to the doctor. Its the flu, she said. Youll be okay, she said. But after two weeks of cold-pressed juice and bed rest, things hadnt changed.

A blood test showed a reoccurrence of glandular fever. Three months later, I was still struggling with full body pain, brain fog, complete fatigue, and regular sore throats. Six months later, the words chronic fatigue were being bandied about by my doctors. A year down the track, I went through a series of tests to eliminate other possibilities, including lupus, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. When nothing came up, it was official: I had chronic fatigue syndrome

Its a disease without a known cause or cure. One that occurs more commonly in women aged 30 to 50 years old. Often, these women are ambitious, high-achievers.

I had just turned 32 and was running my own business when it struck. Im 34 now two years and two months down this path. And every day, every minute, I feel it. But I manage.

Heres how Ive learned to cope, both emotionally and physically, and live a somewhat normal life.

Get a good nights sleep

If I have trouble getting to sleep, I use the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which is a miracle worker. When I first wake up, I sit outside in daylight for 5 minutes. When the sum of these parts is a night of good-quality sleep, it has a major impact on my physical well-being.

Make room for joy

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Chronic Fatigue Treatment Options

Chronic Fatigue Treatment Options

Patients of CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome respond differently to various treatments. Some of them recover after drastic changes in lifestyle, some of them are more responsive to pharmacological treatments. Here are the most common treatment modalities to which CFS patients are subjected and to which most of them respond well.

Self-Care/Management Techniques Some patients can facilitate self-care treatments. This can be done by monitoring the level and pacing of activities such that prolonged and extreme levels of exhaustion are prevented. This can also be done by preventing the urge to rest. Since CFS is not relieved through rest, regardless of the duration, health care professionals do not advise the patients to rest excessively. Some form of physical activity must be maintained. This is oftentimes recommended by the physician. When trying to manage the symptoms of the disorder by yourself, it is best to keep the pacing and the level of the activities under control. Otherwise, symptoms may occur at a more debilitating rate.

Pharmacological Treatments Managements of the conditions through pharmacological treatments can involve the following medications:

Antidepressants are primarily used to manage mood swings and secondary depression. Low dosage antidepressants, on the other hand, are helpful in managing sleep disturbance and pain.

Anxiolyticagents are used to target symptoms of anxiety.

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