Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disorder associated with overwhelming fatigue that affects >1 million people in the United States. It is characterized by several symptoms that are not improved by bed rest. These include muscle pain, fatigue, impaired memory or mental concentration, insomnia, and postexertion malaise lasting >24 hours. Although there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, the following techniques may help you cope with this disorder:
- Seek Out an Individualized Treatment Plan
With this condition, it is ideal to seek out a team approach to your care. Work with your healthcare provider to create a plan that addresses your symptoms, provides coping techniques, and allows you to manage daily activities.
- Treat Your Most Disruptive Symptoms First
Your treatment plan should first address the symptoms that are the most disruptive or disabling in your daily activities. These may include fatigue and sleep problems, pain, memory and concentration problems, depression and anxiety, as well as dizziness and light-headedness.
- Monitor the Medicines You Take
When coping with chronic fatigue syndrome, make sure to monitor all the medications and supplements that you take. These include over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as nutritional and herbal supplements.
- Improve Your Health and Quality of Life
There are several options to improve your health and wellness when coping with this illness; these include cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, and professional counseling. Also, look to manage activities and exercise by developing an activity program and avoiding extremes.
- Be Patient
Last but not least, remember to manage your expectations. Aiming to return to your usual routine immediately may cause physical and mental exertion and aggravate the illness.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). www.cdc.gov/cfs/index.html. Updated April 7, 2015. Accessed January 5, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Who’s at risk? www.cdc.gov/cfs/causes/risk-groups.html. Updated February 14, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms. www.cdc.gov/cfs/symptoms. Updated May 14, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Management of CFS. www.cdc.gov/cfs/management/index.html. Updated May 14, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2016.