Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition of chronic fatigue for six months or longer without any explanation. It is usually accompanied by some cognitive problems such as difficulty in concentrating and short-term memory loss. Medical experts have not yet determined the exact cause of CFS but it is linked to infections that have effects on the immune system.
Causes and Symptoms
Some viruses and bacteria are said to be the potential causes of CFS in some people.
Common symptoms include:
- constant long-term fatigue lasting longer than 6 months
- cognitive problems
- post-exertional fatigue
- fatigue after sleep
- muscle pains
- sore throat
- mild fever
Treatment for CFS generally focuses on improving a person's quality of life. Although there is no cure for this condition, certain measures can be done to alleviate the symptoms that come with it.
• For initial treatment:
- Over-The-Counters: Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin may be given. These would help in relieving headaches, muscle and joint aches, and other physical symptoms.
- Narcotics: Take note that narcotic pain relievers may be addictive so they should only be used occasionally.
- Antidepressants: It would also help to take antidepressants that can improve your mood, control the pain, and induce good quality sleep.
• Ongoing home treatment is also very important:
- Daily Schedule: For one, you need to adjust your daily schedule so you don't get stressed out everyday from too much workload or responsibilities.
- Sleeping Habits: It's a must to establish healthy sleeping habits such as turning off the lights and making the bedroom more conducive to sleep. Total darkness releases the melatonin that prepares the body for deep slumber.
- Exercise: Getting regular exercise can also make you feel better. In fact, exercise is almost always a regular part of treatment for CFS. That's probably because exercise can boost the production of feel-good chemicals in the brain. Remember that people with CFS can only do light exercises. Over-exercising can worsen your symptoms.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: There's also a type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy that can help people with this condition. This therapy teaches CFS patients how to modify their perspective and daily habits to cope with fatigue and other CFS symptoms more effectively. Since positive outlook and attitude play a big role in the improvement of this illness, it would help to be more optimistic. Having this condition may hinder you from taking on a more positive outlook in life but behavioral therapy can help you do that.
- Regular Evaluations: Also, regular visits to the doctor can help track your progress. Your doctor can also evaluate if there are any other causes for the symptoms of fatigue, which may indicate an underlying medical condition.
• Support Groups
Joining support groups can also be instrumental to your success. Realizing that you are not alone in this endeavor helps you in more ways than you can imagine. Being able to talk with other fellow CFS patients, sharing your difficulties with them, and getting strength and inspiration from them will help you through this problem a lot.
• Alternative Treatments:
Finally, you can also consider alternative treatment such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga, among others.