Are You Tired All the Time? Chronic Fatigue Causes and Treatment Options


London: Over the past decade, GPs have had to deal with increasing numbers of patients with a complaint for which there is no known cure: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Here two authors, one who has CFS, the other a doctor who has spent years helping sufferers, have combined their experiences to offer hope to the permanently exhausted.

Tiredness seems to be the plague of our age. Surveys have shown that almost 25pc of the population, will say fatigue has been a problem for them over the past month. Such fatigue is often related to periods of stress, over-work, depression, or loss of sleep. But in some cases, fatigue becomes persistent and is sufficiently severe to interfere with daily life. And there is no medical explanation.

Chronic Fatigue Causes and Treatment

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Doctors classify this deeper level of chronic tiredness as an illness, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), but it is one for which there is no established cause – or cure.

Diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that there is a range of other symptoms that accompany severe fatigue. These include feeling ill after exertion, difficulties with memory and concentration, a sore throat, muscle and joint pain, headaches, digestive problems, and nausea.

One of the problems for those with CFS is that, with no test results to show that you have a specific illness and no cure to follow, some people, including doctors, believe that the problem is ‘all in the mind’, leaving the patient feeling they are at fault or even malingering.

Dividing illness into categories of either mental/psychiatric or physical/medical is a serious and potentially harmful mistake. Rather, there are physical, psychological, and social aspects of all illnesses – including CFS.

Emotions and moods

Emotions and moods have a physical effect on the body, and what happens to the body has an effect on your mind. This is true of any illness, not just CFS. So anything you can do to deal with emotions such as anger, frustration, or fear could go a long way to helping you get better. Keeping stress within reasonable limits will take some of the pressure off your body.

An overactive or striving lifestyle, with inadequate time for rest and reflection over a long period is one possible trigger. A previous history of depression seems to make it more likely that someone will develop CFS, and there may also be a genetic factor.

You may well have found that doing nothing for a day or two makes you feel better, and believe that more rest is the answer. There is a real danger in people with chronic fatigue making themselves worse by becoming too inactive. Prolonged inactivity, even in fit people, can itself cause fatigue and make it harder to do anything. Spending a lot of time in bed or just sitting can make you feel weak and worsen back pain.

It can also have very profound effects on the body and mind, such as changes in blood pressure regulation causing dizziness when standing up, changes in the body’s ability to tolerate activity, changed temperature regulation, and changes in the functioning and bulk of muscles.

The best forms of exercise for someone with chronic fatigue are bending, stretching, walking, swimming, and cycling and alternating periods of activity, both physical and mental, with periods of good-quality rest. Your aim should be to stop before you become exhausted.

Being a perfectionist is another thing that has to go if you are suffering from CFS. You could try to look at the advantages and disadvantages of being a perfectionist.

Why do you need to be so hard on yourself? It is possible to get as much satisfaction and pleasure by doing something you want to do in a different way. Spending an evening with friends, for example, can be just as enjoyable if you order a takeaway meal rather than preparing all the food yourself. dailymail

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