Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) should be tailored to meet your individual needs. In addition to medications and alternative therapies, the following treatments may be beneficial.
Modest, regular exercise is important to avoid deconditioning. Talk to your doctor about your exercise plan.
Pace yourself carefully. Avoid unusual physical or emotional stress. A regular, manageable daily routine of activity is best. If you overexert yourself during periods of better health, you may have a relapse of symptoms. You may need to explain your situation to your employer or your family members.
Psychotherapy and Supportive Counseling
Certain psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavior therapy, can help you cope with and relieve some of the issues associated with CFS. Cognitive behavior therapy can help you examine your feelings and thought patterns, learn to interpret them in a more realistic way, and apply coping techniques to various situations. In addition, family therapy may foster good communication and reduce the adverse impact of CFS on your family. Joining a support group with other CFS patients may help as well.
A variety of relaxation techniques can help you to cope more effectively with the stresses. Examples include:
These techniques can help you pay attention to tension in your body, release it with exercises that help quiet your mind, and relax your muscles.
A balanced diet is important for your recovery. It can also help you feel better. Don’t skip meals, even if you only eat small amounts. Your diet should be low in saturated fat and sugar. It should be high in fiber, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115094/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome. Updated February 10, 2017. Accessed May 31, 2017.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome.html. Accessed May 31, 2017.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/index.html. Updated April 7, 2015. Accessed May 31, 2017.
Craig T, Kakumanu S. Chronic fatigue syndrome: evaluation and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(6):1083-1090.
Devanur LD, Kerr JR. Chronic fatigue syndrome. J Clin Virol. 2006;37(3):139-150.
Prins JB, van der Meer JW, Bleijenberg G. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Lancet. 2006;367(9507):346-355.
Last reviewed May 2017 by James P. Cornell, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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