Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a mental and physical disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest. The other name for this condition is myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), so the condition is usually referred to as ME/CFS.
To be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, your symptoms must last for at last six months and cannot be explained by underlying health conditions. For people in this situation, a cfs recovery center may be a useful option.
Who is Affected?
Anyone can get chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the condition is most common in people between 40 and 60 years old, affecting women about twice as often as men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million people in the US suffer from ME/CFS.
Unfortunately, about 90 percent of CFS sufferers have not been diagnosed, missing the proper treatment.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms and Complications
People who suffer from CFS cannot go after their daily routine and participate in everyday activities as they could before the illness. They usually struggle with routine activities such as school, work, childcare, social life, or personal care.
Sleep and rest typically don’t provide any relief. A person with CFS doesn’t feel rested even after a whole night of sleep, waking up just as tired as before going to bed.
Additionally, people with CFS often experience a condition known as post-exertional malaise (PEM), in which each mental and physical activity aggravates fatigue. This condition causes debilitating exhaustion, impacting your mood, cognitive skills, productivity, and quality of your life in general.
Other common CFS symptoms include:
- Ongoing fatigue
- Problems with concentration
- Impaired memory
- Dizziness that worsens with changing body position (especially when standing upright)
- Unexplained muscle and joint pain
- Excessive exhaustion after mental or physical activities
- Sore throat
Chronic fatigue syndrome can have various complications. It can severely affect your day-to-day life, often causing mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Also, CFS may cause you to withdraw and isolate yourself from social interactions, restricting your daily activities and increasing your work absences.
What Causes CFS?
It is still unknown what exactly causes chronic fatigue syndrome. However, experts believe that a combination of the following factors can cause CFS:
- Emotional or physical trauma
- Impaired immune system
- Viral infections
- Hormonal imbalances
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment
Treatment for CFS aims to improve symptoms and provide relief, addressing the most disabling symptoms first. While some problems associated with chronic fatigue syndrome can be improved with medication, many people with CFS benefit from psychotherapy and counseling. Mental health counseling can help you develop coping skills to manage fatigue, depression, and limitations at school or work.
Also, lifestyle changes such as improved self-care, avoiding stress, and minimizing physical exertion can help save energy and cope with CFS symptoms.
Dealing with such disabling condition can be an isolating experience. Understanding CFS is crucial as it can raise awareness and familiarize people with what CFF sufferers are going through.