MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS (ME)/CHRONIC FATIQUE SYNDROME (CFS)
WHAT IS ME/CFS?
ME/CFS is condition which causes persistent physical and mental fatigue (exhaustion). This does not go away with sleep or rest and limits your usual activities, symptoms are seemingly without end. There is a remarkable variability of signs and symptoms from day to day and even from hour to hour. This waxing and waning in the same patient in the same day is typical of almost all findings in ME/CFS and may lead to medical scepticism
WHO IS AFFECTED?
It is estimated 250,000 people suffer from ME in Britain. Anyone can get the condition, although it's more common in women than men. It usually develops when people are in their early 20s to mid-40s, but it can develop in childhood.
WHAT ARE THE SYPTOMS?
The most apparent features are extreme post-exertional muscle fatigue, which is quite distinct from chronic "fatigue" or tiredness, together with recurrent nausea and profound, incapacitating malaise. The exhaustion experienced by patients is extreme.
Most people with ME/CFS describe this fatigue as overwhelming, and a different type of tiredness from what they have experienced before.
OTHER SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:
Muscular pain, joint pain and severe headaches
Poor short term memory and concentration, and difficulty organising thoughts and finding the right words (brain fog).
Painful lymph nodes (small glands of the immune system)
Stomach pain and other problems similar to irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea
Sleeping problems, such as insomnia and feeling that sleep is not refreshing
Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
WHAT CAUSES ME/CFS?
It is commonly triggered by a viral infection. There is usually fatigue, post-exertional malaise and fatigue, and cognitive, cardiac and immune dysfunction. Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is also a chronic illness with pain being the most prominent feature.
HOW CAN THERAPY HELP?
Therapy aims to support clients suffering from chronic illness, empowering clients by assisting them emotionally. Helping them to understand their illness and become self-aware of their limitations. Depression and anxiety can become an issue for people suffering from this long term illness, therapy can assist in helping clients work through this depression and anxiety and with the use of techniques and a relaxation program help develop coping strategies and management of symptoms. Setting realistic goals and developing an individualized, flexible program is conductive to healing.