Question

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Is chronic fatigue syndrome a real disease?

A Answers (1)

  • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered
    A chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) study showed changes in over 700 proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that bathes the brain, in CFS patients. These patterns were much different for CFS patients versus chronic Lyme versus healthy controls, again proving that CFS is a real physical illness, and adding more info that may point to both a diagnostic test and a treatment. The good news is there's no need to have a spinal tap! This is simply one more study proving CFS is a very real physical disease, and the study was even reported in a CBS news segment. Good timing to counteract the misinformation from the Pacing, graded Activity, and Cognitive behaviour therapy: a randomised Evaluation (PACE) report.

    A literature review looking at severe fatigue in cancer patients also noted that counseling and exercise can be helpful in cancer patients. Using the line of reasoning applied by some to the Pace study, this would also suggest that cancer is all in people's minds.

    Of course, this is simply an absurdity that points to the simple fact that for most severe debilitating diseases, emotional support and coping skills can be helpful along with maintaining conditioning. In chronic fatigue syndrome, people are facing an energy crisis so they can only walk or exercise to a certain point, beyond which they crash and burn - so you only want to exercise "as able." This means listening to your body and seeing what feels comfortable. On the other hand, if you don't exercise at all, your body has a "use it or lose it" approach to efficiency, and you'll decondition.

    Basic common sense says that for cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis (which doctors also used to believe was all in people's minds, calling it "hysterical paralysis") and any severe disease, it is helpful to get emotional support, coping skills, and exercise as able. The problem occurs when a form of cognitive behavioral therapy is used that includes beating people over the head with the misguided belief that the illness is not real. This then changes from teaching coping skills to being abusive.

    It is a basic matter of common sense. CFS is real and it is treatable.
    Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.
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