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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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As there is currently no cure and there are no specific drugs developed for chronic fatigue syndrome, treatment focuses on symptom relief and lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Sleep management techniques
  • Relaxation and stress-reduction techniques, including yoga, meditation, massage therapy and deep breathing exercises
  • Medication to reduce pain discomfort, and fever
  • Medication to treat anxiety (anti-anxiety drugs)
  • Medications to treat depression (anti-depressant drugs)

Some medications can cause reactions or side effects that may be worse than the symptoms of CFS.

Many people with CFS will get better over time, but some degree of illness may persist for years or for a lifetime. Medical experts recommend that those with CFS track their energy levels and budget their time and activities. Eating well and getting regular amounts of moderate (but not excessive) exercise can help maintain functional abilities and improve a person's mood and ability to sleep. Support groups and counseling can help a person deal with the physical, psychological, financial, and social frustrations caused by CFS.

People with CFS should work with their healthcare providers to determine the best course of treatment for them. What works for one person may not work for another, and many with CFS are especially sensitive to medication side effects.

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