CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (CFS)
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE?
Chronic fatigue is a complex condition with a wide range symptoms that can affect all ages and genders, but tends to develop between your mid twenties and forties, and appears to be more common in women. Your GP will diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome if you have had a prolonged reduced ability to carry out normal activities due to severe fatigue, along with other symptoms that have lasted more than 3 months. At Select Psychology, our team of specialists provides a range of support services in a safe and confidential environment.
WHAT IS CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (CFS)?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and is long term (chronic) neurological condition that can affect your nervous system and your immune system. There is no known cause of CFS/ME but it can be triggered by viral/bacterial infections, hormonal imbalance or problems with the immune system.
CFS/ME can be exacerbated by physical, mental or emotional exertion and the symptoms you experience can change day to day. There is no single treatment for managing CFS, but there are a number of treatment options, including therapy and most people experiencing CFS/ME will improve over time.
Symptoms of CFS
Firstly it is important that you contact your GP if you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of CFS/ME as they will need to rule out other illnesses that may have a similar presentation. Some of the symptoms you may notice are:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Feeling lightheaded
- Flu like symptoms
- Poor concentration
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, noise, light and/or alcohol
- Difficulties in carrying out day to day activities
WHEN TO SEEK SUPPORT FOR CFS
You should seek treatment when:
You experience severe pain and fatigue after using even small amounts of energy (associated with post-exertional malaise (PEM))
It takes you a day or two for you to recover after emotional, physical or mental exertion
You feel dizzy and extremely sensitive to light and sound
You experience issues in speech and language cohesion, including difficulty in finding words
You experience brain fog, such as problems with memory, thinking and concentration
You experience a loss of appetite
THERAPIES THAT SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH CFS
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
BENEFITS OF THERAPY SUPPORT FOR CFS
It can help you highlight specific thoughts and behaviours that possibly make your condition more difficult to deal with
Identifying the stressors that could be making your symptoms worse
Develop techniques and behaviours to help manage having CFS
Improve your ability to cary out day-to-day activities
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP WITH CFS
Whilst there is no cure for CFS/ME there are certain lifestyle changes that can help such as:
Ensuring eating a healthy and balanced diet
Taking vitamin supplements if you are not able to prepare, or shop for, healthy options whilst you are experiencing certain symptoms
Ensuring you factor in periods of rest and relaxation
Practice pacing and resting. Reducing the intensity of work can help you utilise your limited energy without feeling too exhausted.
Practice energy management and plan in advance to allow yourself enough time and energy for tasks
Limit resting time. If you are suffering from CFS, you might feel the need to rest during the day, but limiting it can help establish a normal routine pattern
Practice breathing exercises that help you feel relaxed and centred
HOW CAN OUR PSYCHOLOGY SERVICES HELP WITH CFS?
We offer a wide range of therapies to support people living with CFS and give you the tools to cope and understand your emotions. We are a private mental health service with highly trained therapists and no waiting lists.
This is how therapy would work:
Get in touch
HELPFUL THINGS TO KNOW
What makes CFS worse?
The symptoms of CFS can get worse when people try to carry out as much as they did before they got ill without factoring in enough time to rest and recover.
What is living with CFS like?
Living with CFS can be very difficult due to the range of symptoms that can be present and the exhaustion that can be experienced. Your symptoms may vary so it can be hard to make plans as often you don’t know how you are going to feel from one day to the next. However, with the right treatment and over time symptoms can improve and life can feel easier.
Can CBT help with CFS?
There is a wealth of evidence to support the use of CBT to help manage the symptoms of CFS. While it will not cure the condition it can be effective in reducing fatigue, improving day to day functioning and lifting your mood.