Chronic Fatigue Syndrome…new findings!
A new study in Lancet “suggests that psychotherapy and a gradual increase in exercise can significantly benefit patients with chronic fatigue syndrome”, specifically cognitive-behavior therapy.
The authors of the study note that the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy, the type of psychotherapy tested in the study, is to change the psychological factors “assumed to be responsible for perpetuation of the participant’s symptoms and disability.”
One would think that this would make sufferers of this syndrome pleased to know that there are some interventions that have a positive effect on the symptoms of this disease. However that may not be the case with CFS.
You see, since the early 1980’s when cases of CFS were on the rise this syndrome has been under scrutiny. Many physicians thought that it was a psychologically based disorder because there was no definitive medical cause or treatment for it. So now with these new findings a medical cause could again be pushed aside in favor of psychological reasons as the primary cause of CFS, much to the dismay and discomfort of those that suffer from this disease.
Over recent years, medicine has begun to realize that the mind does indeed play a much more important role in illness that previously thought. Patients who are depressed seem to have lower immunity to certain conditions which could exacerbate the symptoms of a disorder such as CFS.
In my eyes, it is a good thing that some sufferers of CFS can possibly benefit from exercise and psychotherapy. However, it is my opinion that it would be an injustice to CFS patients if it were decided based on these new findings to put future investigations into this debilitating disorder on a back burner. I am sure that this fear is also in in the minds of many CFS patients themselves.
Over the years, it has been established that certain medical findings are common in those that have been diagnosed with CFS but as yet nothing has helped “cure” anyone with the syndrome.
It should not surprise those who are reading this that this disorder is found largely in women. Just maybe this is an underlying reason why it is so easy to attribute CFS to psychological roots than medical ones.