It’s common to feel tired when you’re depressed, but if you’ve had unrefreshing sleep for months and are exhibiting other symptoms you may want to look into the possibility that it is another problem, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
It’s estimated that as many as 10 million Americans may have CFS, also known as Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. Because CFS can be hard to spot, many people with CFS visit numerous doctors over many years before being diagnosed. The age at the time of diagnosis is generally between 34 to 53.3. About 60% of cases are diagnosed by rheumatologists and remainder by internists or family practitioners.
Many people who suffer from fatigue, tiredness, and a general lack of energy find it beneficial to utilize methods that have helped people with CFS. While CFS is a more serious illness than the type of fatigue associated with exhaustion, some of the same mechanisms are at play in both conditions.
Psychotherapy has proven to be beneficial for people with CFS. Coping mechanisms for dealing with stress can be maximized with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has lead to a decrease in symptoms and disabilities in people with CFS, with a reduction of fatigue and pain symptom.
A British study at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol found that group therapy was helpful in the recovery from CFS, allowing participants to develop group strategies with regards to coping with stress.
A Dutch study in 2007 of psychotherapy with CFS patients concluded that “Significant improvement following CBT is probable and a full recovery is possible. Sharing this information with patients can raise the expectations of the treatment, which may enhance outcomes without raising false hopes.” Psychotherapy may give CFS sufferers one of their best shots at recovery.
Unfortunately, there is no proven or reliable cure for CFS. However, research has established that individuals with the best chance for improvement are those who remain as active as possible and maintain some degree of control over the course of their illness.
People with CFS usually experience their most severe symptoms at the onset of illness. After that time, a small number of people recover totally. For most people, improvement is gradual. Science continues to provide information, hope, and healing through research and development.
In the meantime, restorative complimentary and alternative therapies are some of the most beneficial and practical treatments for those who suffer with CFS.