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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 15, 2024

What is the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue syndrome is a very complicated disease that does not have any particular underlying source. It is accompanied by irreversible fatigue and sleeping also does not help in some cases. This is a condition whereby even a little bit of exertion (mental or physical) irritates the person who is suffering from this disorder.

Most of the doctors feel that there is no particular reason as to why some people develop this disorder and some people don’t. However there can be several viruses like mouse leukemia virus, human herpes virus and Epstein-Barr virus that might worsen the situation. Hormonal disorders and a defective immunity system can also lead to this disorder. Chronic fatigue syndrome also occurs in people suffering from sleep disorders, anemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular and respiratory ailments. Psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia can also predispose a person to developing this illness.

There is no specific treatment to cure chronic fatigue syndrome. It involves an assortment of several treatments like prescription of antidepressants, counseling, exercises, joining a support group etc. These can help the patient to improve.

If you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome you will probably have to undergo several tests in order for the doctor to figure out if it is CFS that is bothering you.

How is the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment done?

There are no particular methods when it comes to the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. If you are suffering from this disorder first you will have to undergo several tests. It is because there could be various reasons (medical conditions) that can lead to fatigue. Once the doctor has ruled out every possible disorder that can cause fatigue, will he/she able to confirm whether you have chronic fatigue disorder or systematic exertion intolerance disease.

After your condition is identified the intervention program will begin. If your doctor decides that you are suffering from this disorder owing to psychological pressure you might be prescribed antidepressants. These medicines will improve your sleep, thereby reducing the amount of fatigue. Other methods of treatments include:

Cognitive training: This kind of treatment only deals with counseling and talk therapy. This is the best measure to deal with someone who is suffering from chronic fatigue disease. Here the problems are addressed and the therapist comes up with solutions to help the patient deal with his/her problems.

Grading exercise: Some physical exercises are also recommended to people suffering from this illness. The initial program includes stretching exercises and exercises that allow the person to improve the range of motion. Eventually the workout routine is intensified. Exercises work to make the patient more tolerant to exertion.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Some of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include lethargy, memory loss or lack of concentration, soreness around the throat, inflated lymph nodes, headaches, muscle or joint pain, incomplete sleep, unexplained exhaustion even with a little exertion. If you observe all these symptoms all at once, chances are you might be suffering from CFS. In that case you need to see a doctor.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Fatigue can crop out as a result of various medical complications like cardiovascular and lungs diseases, anemia, diabetes, viral infection, hypothyroidism, immunity system disorders etc. Psychological disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression can also lead to fatigue. Actually fatigue is a common symptom of almost all diseases. But just because you are suffering from languor it does not mean that you have CFS. If you have another medical problem that has lead to CFS, you will have to undergo treatment for that particular ailment and you need not get treated for CFS.

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Are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects that can crop out as a result of CFS treatment, except for the fact that a person who is on antidepressants drug can suffer from various side effects such as nausea, weight gain, loss of libidinal urge, and insomnia among other things. However, the good news is everybody is not given these drugs. Some people with this disorder are advised to join support groups. But support groups can work adversely against a patient and it can aggravate the condition instead of rectifying it. A patient has to try out various treatment methods before zeroing in on the one that suits him/her the best.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There is no particular treatment to cure chronic fatigue syndrome. If you are seeking counseling make sure that you follow the solutions that are recommended to you by your psychologist. CFS treatment aftercare has a lot to do with being mentally strong than anything else. If you are advised to do certain exercises, make sure that you exercise regularly. Exercise is the key to increasing your tolerance towards exertion. Talk to your dear ones about your problem if that might help. Eat well, especially foods rich in vitamin B6, B12, magnessium and potassium. Talk to your dietician for a proper diet chart. Sleep well and take a vacation if need be.

How long does it take to recover?

One cannot recover completely from chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the condition can be systematically improved with enough counseling, grading exercise, and by joining a support group.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of this treatment can be anywhere between INR 600 to INR 3500 per session. If you are advised to take yoga classes or you are prescribed some medicines you will have to consider the extra costs.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The treatment will not completely help you recover from chronic fatigue syndrome. It will only improve your condition. So there is no permanency pertaining to the treatment.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Alternative treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome includes seeking out the help of a support group. You can follow some dietary options, for example, you can increase the intake of vitamin B12 and B6 which remains in high amount in foods like mutton, salmon and tuna. You can also take them as supplements. You should also increase the intake of potassium and magnesium.

Other options include regular exercising, yoga and meditation which help you to relax.

References

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Written ByDr. Akhilesh Singh Post Graduate Course In Diabetology,CCEBDM(DIABETOLOGY) & CCMH ( CARDIOLOGY)General Physician
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