Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Concept Image
The term and illness ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ is commonly discussed when it comes to people experiencing persistent lethargy.

Not too long ago there was much discussion on whether or not it was an actual disorder, or more of a somatoform disorder, or even something individuals feign – psychosomatic if you will.

The question for the logest time was… is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) a real disorder?

The fact is it’s an accepted disease these days as medical science understands there is a group of illnesses that attacks our body systems causing fatigue but without being able to identify the cause or see it running around under a microscope. But for those experiencing ME its real and can make one’s life miserable.

CFS is also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and is now the preferred term in the medical profession.

 

HOW MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS (ME) IMPACTS THE BODY:

Woman with neck pain imageIt’s a complex and debilitating chronic illness that can really interfere and disrupt the quality of one’s life.

There are many symptoms associated with ME/CFS, but the more common ones are the experiences individuals report having for six months or longer. These would include muscle pain, concentration difficulties and lack of sleep. When you have CFS, the pain is one of the most obvious symptoms as you cannot ignore the fact it exists.

Headaches are usually the most common symptoms along with joint pains and muscle pains.

Getting up and moving around can be such a painful chore for many with CFS they prefer to lay down with ice packs, heating pads and pain relievers.

Concentration difficulties are also one of the hallmark symptoms of ME. Individuals can experience issues with their attention spans, concentration and memory. This has been linked to problems in how their brain processes information. It’s believed the issue revolves around the brains’ inability to process complex information.

Also, when individuals are in constant pain, this will also distract them from their ability to focus on pertinent information in the present.

When individuals report having CFS, they often report being fatigued most or all of the time due to the lack of sleep issues they experience.

When you’ve CFS, you often have ‘unrefreshing’ sleep due to interrupted sleep patterns, continually waking up, not falling asleep due to pain, and then experiencing excessive ‘sleepiness’ throughout the day. Interesting, some individuals will get 8 hours or more of sleep and still feel tired! This will frustrate them and many will load up on caffeine and/or other ‘pick me ups’ and still feel tired.

Obviously, this is no laughing matter as feeling fatigued and sleepy constantly can quickly make someone feel depressed, and this is why many sufferers are prescribed anti-depressants.

Which brings us onto to treatments used today…

 

TREATING MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS (ME)/CFS:

Woman Headache Diagnosis ImageLike all conditions such as CFS it’s important to get a diagnosis first.

See your Doctor and explain your symptoms so they can diagnose what you have and explain your options. These may include additional alternatives for you over and above those mentioned below.

There is no specific medication prescribed for ME. Individuals who’ve diagnosed are often times prescribed pain medications as well as sleep aids from their physicians. Some physicians may also have patients take anti-depressants as well.

Since the causation of ME is complex, and drugs don’t get at the root cause, only treating the symptoms, many individuals with ME look to other ways to cope, treat and manage their symptoms to live more effective lives.

While somewhat simplistic treatments some of the following are recommended for those with stable ME symptoms:

  • Avoid stressful situations
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar and sweeteners
  • Eat regular meals to help reduce any nausea
  • Spend time relaxing
  • Avoid taking naps or sleeping excessively

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a way of treating many health conditions. CBT is provided by trained therapists one-on-one and specific to your conditions. The therapist will help you to increase your sense of control over your symptoms by changing the way you think and behave.

Hypnosis is a complimentary option for treating ME/CFS as well. Similar to CBT it affects the way you think but the difference is it bypasses the conscious mind to affect the subconscious mind in increasing your control over your symptoms.

It can help individuals with pain management issues, by teaching distracting techniques, as well as other ways for minimizing the pain they’re experiencing. Furthermore, hypnosis can help individuals learn to relax more, and also help them fall and stay asleep.

Hypnosis may not cure CFS, but it will help manage the symptoms.

Many physical illnesses and conditions can be affected by what the mind thinks, and the subconscious when directed by attitudes and thoughts planted by hypnosis can provide an avenue to reduce the impact of the disease on a body. To check out a hypnosis session designed specifically for ME click here >>>

 

FURTHER RESOURCES:

Mayo Clinic Section on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What’s It Like to Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 
Erika Slater CH
Director
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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