Other Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Treatment of CFS should be tailored to meet your individual needs. In addition to medications and alternative therapies, the following treatments may be beneficial.

Physical Activity

Pace yourself carefully and 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 ask a clinician to help explain your situation to your employer or your family members. Modest, regular exercise to avoid deconditioning is important and should be supervised by a physician or a physical therapist.

Psychotherapy and Supportive Counseling

Certain psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavior therapy, can help you cope with and alleviate 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.

Relaxation Techniques

A variety of relaxation techniques can help you to cope more effectively with the stresses that contribute to and worsen the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Examples include: meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback. These techniques can help you pay attention to tension in your body and release it with exercises that help quiet your mind and relax your muscles.

Diet

A balanced diet is important for your recovery and can help you to feel better. Don’t skip meals, even if you only eat small amounts. Your diet should be low in saturated fat and sugar, and high in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. Drink plenty of water.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Craig T, Kakumanu S. Chronic fatigue syndrome: evaluation and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65:1083-1090.

Devanur LD, Kerr JR. Chronic fatigue syndrome. J Clin Virol. 2006;37:139-150.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/.

Prins JB, van der Meer JW, Bleijenberg G. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Lancet. 2006;367:346-355.



Last reviewed April 2007 by David Juan, 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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