How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Treated
There is no standard treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, clinically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome . However, there are many options for managing symptoms and improving quality of life, including lifestyle changes, stress management, therapy, and medications. With the help of your healthcare provider and other caregivers, these can be tailored to your specific symptoms.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
Consider Injections Instead Of Pills
Sometimes the same drug can affect you in different ways depending on the method in which it is administered, Dr. Cohen says. Take methotrexate, for instance with pills you may have to use more medication to get the therapeutic dose because it has to pass through the entire gastrointestinal tract, she explains. Using an intramuscular injection often allows us to use less medication as it goes directly to your bloodstream. This may help lessen side effects such as fatigue for some patients. Read more common questions about methotrexate.
How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated
There’s no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. But experts say that these lifestyle changes can help:
- Include regular, carefully planned exercise in your daily routine. Exercise can increase energy and make a person feel better. People with CFS should pace themselves while doing any physical activity that requires exertion. Talk with a doctor what’s right for you you don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged. Studies show that “graded exercise” is very helpful in CFS recovery.
- Follow stress-management and stress-reduction techniques. A doctor or therapist can teach these they’re great ways to take control of some aspects of the illness.
- Ensure good sleep habits to overcome CFS-related sleep problems.
- Work on ways to keep track of important things, such as keeping lists and making notes, you have problems with concentration or memory.
Meeting regularly with a therapist or counselor can help in CFS treatment. The main goals of therapy are to help people cope with the illness and to change negative or unrealistic thoughts or feelings into positive, realistic ones.
Having a positive feeling that you can get better is very helpful. Therapy and support groups can also help teens with CFS and their parents deal with the academic or social challenges brought on by the illness, such as missed school, falling grades, or withdrawal from friends and social situations.
Doctors may suggest over-the-counter or prescription medicines for some of these symptoms.
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Treating The Most Disruptive Symptoms First And Preventing Worsening Of Symptoms
Healthcare providers and patients need to establish which symptoms are most disruptive or disabling and tailor management plans accordingly. Treatment should be directed toward the most problematic symptoms as prioritized by the patient. It is also important to incorporate strategies to prevent worsening of symptoms into initial and subsequent treatment plans.
What Role Do Psychological Factors Play In Cfs
A persons response to the illness is important in determining its course. Similarly, familys, friends, physicians, and co-workers responses affect how a person copes with symptoms. For example, some people react to illness by denying that it exists and underrespond to their symptoms. This may not be in their best interest, as they are likely to overexert themselves and make their symptoms worse or set unrealistically high goals that they cannot achieve, leading to depression and/or anger.
On the other hand, other people may respond to symptoms with fear and pessimism and unnecessarily limit their activities. Further problems can result from this sort of response, such as a loss of muscle tone and therefore of strength. Behavior therapists can help a person learn to cope effectively and flexibly with symptoms.
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Where Can I Get Support
Even in its mildest form, chronic fatigue can have a significant emotional and financial impact on your life. A lack of understanding and awareness about CFS/ME means patients can experience disbelief, and even discrimination, from friends, family, health and social care professionals and employers.
People need wider support in order to continue to manage aspects of their life. Information on entitlements to welfare benefits, accessing health and social care and others sources of support for patients and carers are available from Action for M.E.
Action for M.E. has a number of booklets that may be useful for people living with CFS/ME, their families and their health professionals. They also offer resources and services for children and young people affected by chronic fatigue and their families.
Failure To Identify The Cause
If youve gone through the barrage of testing and were unable to determine any direct causal factors, it doesnt mean that your chronic fatigue cannot be dealt with or improved. Those that are unable to identify the direct cause may need to do some self-experimentation to find out what actually helps raise energy levels and ultimately what methods you can use to overcome the condition. You dont need to accept the reality of functioning in sloth-mode for your entire life.
Guessing the cause: Even though you may have ruled out many medical conditions that could be causing the problem, it is important to still attempt to figure out what factors may be contributing to your chronic fatigue. In other words, think back to the time when the condition developed what changed in your life that may have depleted your energy.
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Description Of The Disease According To Modern And Vedic Literature:
According to Modern Medicine: Fatigue in modern medicine, simply means getting tired or feeling a lack of energy. It is medically known as Myalgic Encephalitis, popularly abbreviated as ME. Poor quality of sleep, being overweight, consuming junk food, etc are some common causes of fatigue. Fatigue syndrome is an underlying cause or a medical condition by itself which can last for months.
The degree of severity of fatigue might vary from person to person. CFS can have a serious impact on the brain and may cause sleep disorders.
Home Remedies And Lifestyle Changes
Making some lifestyle changes may help reduce your symptoms.
Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake can help you sleep better and ease your insomnia. You should limit or avoid nicotine and alcohol too.
Try to avoid napping during the day if its hurting your ability to sleep at night.
Create a sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and aim to wake up around the same time every day.
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Some Illnesses Cause Fatigue
Sometimes, fatigue can be the first sign that something is wrong in your body. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful condition that affects the joints, often complain of fatigue. People with cancer may feel fatigued from the disease, treatments, or both.
Many medical problems and treatments can add to fatigue. These include:
- Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and medicines for nausea and pain
- Having medical treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, or recovering from major surgery
- Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Untreated pain and diseases like fibromyalgia
- Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
Managing a health problem may make the fatigue go away. Your doctor can help.
Treatment Plans For Me/cfs
There’s no single way of managing ME/CFS that works for everyone, but there are a number of treatment options.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says you should be offered a treatment plan tailored to your symptoms.
Your doctor should discuss all of the options with you, and explain the benefits and risks of any treatment.
They should work with you to develop a treatment plan that suits you and takes into account your circumstances and preferences.
You may need advice about making lifestyle changes, specialist treatments, or a combination of both.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor should ask a specialist for advice.
Your treatment plan should be reviewed regularly.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
While the term chronic fatigue is fairly descriptive of this crippling illness, it doesnt tell the entire story. Chronic fatigue often starts suddenly, with flu-like symptoms. But unlike the flu, it can last a lifetime.
In addition to the profound fatigue experienced, other serious symptoms often accompany CFS, such as:
- joint pain that moves from one spot to another
- muscle pain
- night sweats
- digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome .
Sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome also experience significant alterations in levels of irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety and depression. According to a study published in Family Practice, 36 percent of individuals with CFS were clinically depressed and 22 percent had seriously considered suicide in the past year.
Simply, the emotional and mental side effects of CFS cannot be overlooked, and treatment must include the mind, body and spirit.
Address The Root Causes Of Your Fatigue
Overcoming your fatigue is about addressing the true underlying causes. You may need some help figuring out what these are. Once you know where your fatigue is coming from, focusing on your digestion, your thyroid health, your iron levels, your diet, or your unique stressors can have you feeling energetic again in no time.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic illness characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This fatigue cannot be explained away by an underlying medical condition. In fact, one of the diseases principle challenges is that its impossible to diagnose with laboratory tests. However, some professionals believe it is closely related to adrenal fatigue or system wide inflammation of the body.
The process for diagnosis usually begins with ruling out possible underlying diseases and chronic conditions until the only choice left is chronic fatigue syndrome. Left untreated, it decreases stamina, memory and concentration.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can result in strained relationships with friends and family, especially when it remain undiagnosed and/or untreated. Guilt, anxiety and anger are all common emotional responses for those fighting chronic fatigue.
Currently, over 1 million Americans are suffering from this debilitating illness that manifests with a lack of energy and motivation, and women are 24 times more likely than men to be diagnosed.
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Primary Components Of The Brain
Literally the brains of the operation: the brain perceives our energy needs and orchestrates all the aspects of manufacturing and transporting energy throughout the body.
Key components of the brain-energy axis are the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, where key hormones involved in energy production and transportation are regulated.
The thyroid gland is the thermostat for energy regulation throughout the body. The thyroid makes thyroid hormones that regulate work and energy use levels within all body cells.
The adrenal glands are sources of the key hormones cortisol , aldosterone , and DHEA .
Mitochondria are tiny subcellular organelles within most body cells that use carbon atoms and oxygen to manufacture the chemical energy we must have to feel well and run all the business of the body.
Overcome Chronic Fatigue: What To Do And How To Fight It
It’s best, of course, to prevent such conditions. On the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome International Awareness Day, we explain the ways to do it.
We all feel exhausted from time to time: after a hard working week, after fighting an illness, after completing hard physical work, or a long-term project involving significant intellectual work. But what to do when the feeling of fatigue and overfatigue becomes a constant companion, the decline of strength doesn’t pass even after vacation, and every new morning, despite the seemingly full sleep, turns into torture?
Normally, any severe fatigue passes after a good night’s sleep and rest. If a person continues to feel lethargic and driven to the end, and it prevents them from doing their usual tasks, most likely, it’s a pathological condition. If long-term fatigue is accompanied by memory loss, difficulty concentrating, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and headaches, flu-like symptoms, and constant mental and physical decline, there’s every reason to talk about such a disease as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.
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Increase Your Vitamin B Intake
According to a study published in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, researchers found a direct link between reduced vitamin B levels and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The study focused on B-6, riboflavin and thiamine, and researchers believe that B6 is particularly important. Vitamin B6 rich foods include wild tuna and salmon, bananas, grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, turkey, hazelnuts, garlic and cooked spinach.
Vitamin B6 helps to prevent and relieve fatigue, and it supports a healthy immune system. As stated above, some researchers believe that certain viruses play a role in CFS, therefore increasing B6 levels can be a helpful treatment. B6 helps supports T-cell functioning, allowing them to more adeptly fight infections.
Importance of Methylation
Methylation is the term given to the process in the body where methyl compounds are used in the critical functions of the body immune function, energy production, mood, inflammation, nerve function, detoxification, and even DNA all of which are challenges in chronic fatigue syndrome patients.
Methylation helps you process toxins, make hormones, and even helps in the production of neurotransmitters such as melatonin. How well your body can methylate effects all of these important areas. Poor methylation can lead to a variety of chronic conditions including certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, digestive upset, mood and psychiatric disorders, and chronic fatigue.
Incorporate Stress Reduction Techniques
Josie was also encouraged to begin a regular meditation practice and to harness thoughts of gratitude, compassion, and peace, and to picture herself in a healthy state six months from that time. These types of visualizations and emotions are necessary on a daily basis in order for our bodies to heal.
When we spend much of our time with negative thinking and anxiety, our bodies perceive that we are in survival mode. If we live in a chronic state of survival, then our brains will be surrounded by high levels of cortisol and adrenaline which can eventually cause the size of our hippocampus to decrease and can even shrink our muscles. These effects contribute to feelings of fatigue. Meditation on a regular basis switches the brain from survival into healing and resting mode and will counteract these effects.
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Take Breaks From Your Phone
Technology can be a catch-22 when it comes to resting. Playing Candy Crush, watching Netflix, or surfing the web may feel like a good way to wind down but its not real rest and may even make you more anxious. In addition, the blue light emitted from phone, tablet, and laptop screens can also mess up your sleep. Dont use screens within an hour of bedtime, Dr. Cohen cautions.
How Is Cfs Treated
Theres currently no specific cure for CFS.
Each person has different symptoms and therefore may require different types of treatment to manage the disorder and relieve their symptoms.
Work with your team of healthcare providers to create the best treatment plan for you. They can go over the possible benefits and side effects of the therapies with you.
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S To Overcoming Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Naturally
Getting well requires undoing the things that contributed to your misery in the first place. Once you minimize or eliminate the root causes , amazing things happen. Cells are reenergized. Normal communication pathways become re-established. Immune system functions rebound. Adrenal and thyroid functions normalize. Nerves and neurotransmitters calm, and the brain starts functioning again.
Healing can take place, and symptoms, including fatigue, gradually resolve.
But to get well, you must want to be well more deeply than anything you have ever wanted. Ultimately, becoming well is your responsibility, and you alone must put the effort forward to make your recovery happen. This doesnt exclude having positive relationships with healthcare providers, family, and friends, which are all much to your benefit. But when you leave behind a total dependence on others to rescue you from misery, and take a stand to regain wellness that is rightfully yours to enjoy, you become a new person with a renewed purpose in life. That renewed purpose will carry you back to wellness and beyond.
Even with renewed spirit, however, youll need a plan to follow. The following guidelines provide the basic outline for the strategy I used personally to recover wellness, and that Ive since shared to successfully help thousands of others. You can follow in their footsteps.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration zaps energy and impairs physical performance. âOur research shows that dehydration makes it harder for athletes to complete a weight lifting workout,â says Dan Judelson, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University at Fullerton. “Itâs reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue even for people who are just doing chores.”
Dehydration has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.
How to know if youâre drinking enough water?âUrine should be pale yellow or straw colored,â Judelson says. âIf itâs darker than that, you need to drink water.â
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What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Scientists have been researching chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, but they still don’t know for sure what causes it.
Many doctors believe that the way some conditions interact within the body and mind might leave some people at risk for CFS. For example, if someone has a and is under a lot of stress, the combination of these two things might make them more likely to develop CFS.
These things are believed to interact with each other in this way, putting some people at risk for CFS:
- infections. Experts have wondered if infections like measles or Epstein-Barr virus might increase the risk for CFS. The role Epstein-Barr plays in CFS is not clear because studies have not confirmed it as a cause.
- problems with the immune system or the nervous system
- hormone imbalances
- low blood pressure