||How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated?
There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Instead treatment focuses on minimizing the symptoms of the illness. Managing the condition can be complex because no drugs have been developed specifically for CFS and symptoms can vary a lot of over time. If you have CFS you should closely monitor your health and if your symptoms change, let you doctor know. You may need to change treatment strategies.
Your doctor will focus initially on treating your worst symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome first. These are likely to be:
Most CFS patients are sensitive to medications, this is good news because it means benefits can often be achieved by lower doses than normal. If you are prescribed drugs, your physician will start you on the lowest possible dose and only increase it if necessary. As medications can cause side effects or worsen existing symptoms, you will need to be monitored closely.
Most physicians now recommend people with CFS to be as active as possible but to avoid activities that cause intensive physical or emotional stress. Learning how to manage physical activity is an important part of any CFS treatment plan. An occupational therapist can help show you how to break down daily chores like cleaning or personal hygiene into shorter, less stressful periods. A physical therapist can create a personal exercise plan to help keep your muscles flexible. Most people with CFS experience a worsening of symptoms after physical activity, typically within 12 to 48 hours and the pain may last several days or weeks. Yet, it is important not to avoid exercise because it can cause a downward spiral of complications. At the same time, the push-crash cycle needs to be avoided - that is where you push when you feel well, then crash and rest, and push again when you start to feel better. A physical therapist will design a graded exercise therapy (GET) program for you, starting off with a little amount of exercise and gradually increasing it over time.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps patients with chronic illnesses to adopt strategies to improve their health and quality of life. CBT therapists help those with CFS, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. They help you problem-solve every day physical and emotional challenges so that you can return the activity of living. Some patients also find practical support by joining a CFS support group or by seeking professional counseling.
The CDC recommends considering:
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For more on CFS, see the following:
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WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME