Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Is it a psychological disorder.that’s all in the head? Is it in the genes?
Western medicine is yet to find a cause, prevention or cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS). Western medicine even struggles to make a diagnosis of CFS and usually comes to this diagnosis only after excluding many other possible illnesses. In the meantime, your tests may all be normal, causing a doctor to be dismissive of you, and say that there is really nothing wrong with you, and so there isn’t anything that they can do for you, because they can only fix something that conforms to their current understanding. The frustrating thing for patients that have this condition is that they outwardly look normal – so they don’t get the empathy and the sympathy from friends, family, co-workers and doctors.
An individual can have different levels of CFS, ranging from “I’m always tired” right through to being bed-ridden and unable to care for themselves. Medical tests will not be able to predict who has this condition and how severe this condition will be in any given individual – there is a tremendous disparity. And what may help one person will make the symptoms of another person worse.
What drug and non-drug therapies work best? Unfortunately, because of the poor understanding of the mechanisms of this condition, a lot of the therapies simply won’t work, because they are not targeting the right areas. What is the correct treatment? What types of doctors and what types of treatments should a person be seeking to get help with their CFS? For example, physical activity or movement of some sort may, or may not help.
You have the power as a patient to direct your care in the direction that you feel is best for you, and go to the types of doctors, physical therapists, psychologists and people that are more likely to help you. For example, it may or may not be ideal to go to someone who has a needle because their solution will be to inject a drug that may only be marginally effective at best, with possible side effects. So, some of the non-drug therapies may need to be considered. You need to educate yourself and become more knowledgeable as a patient to become a better consumer of health care and direct your therapy in the direction that you think is appropriate.
The condition can be exacerbated by different types of stress, including both physical and psychological stress. Unfortunately, CFS causes you to be stressed because you can’t do what you want to do, you can’t do what your co-workers want you to do, or what your family wants you to do, which causes more stress, which cause more fatigue.
The rehabilitation approach aims to slowly reverse the downward spiral, and the functional decline, to gradually get better over time. This could involve doing some exercise, movement or activity – without over doing it and worsening the symptoms. Start slowly and increase slowly – carefully pace yourself which means keeping your activity levels even. Try to get a good night’s sleep by managing your sleep patterns.
The NCBI website has an article on randomized controlled clinical trials of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome patients.