What are the treatment options for chronic fatigue syndrome?

There's no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, and the most effective treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome remains uncertain. However, there's evidence that a multipronged approach may be helpful in symptom relief:
  • Antidepressants. Depression is common in many patients of chronic fatigue syndrome. Treating the underlying depression can make it easier to cope with the problems associated with CFS. 
  • Sleeping pills. A doctor may suggest prescription sleep aids to CFS patients to get better rest at night if home measures, such as avoiding caffeine, do not help. 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs, common pain relievers that reduce pain and inflammation, may benefit patients with CFS.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The primary goals of CBT allow patients with CFS to learn to think differently about fatigue, improve their ability to deal with stressful situations, and better manage their disorder. 
  • Psychological counseling. Talking with a counselor can help you feel more in control of your life and can improve your outlook dramatically. 
  • Graded exercise. A graded exercise program allows patients to gradually perform more intense exercises as their abilities improve. CFS patients who are able to engage in exercise report less fatigue and better daily functioning and fitness. Exercise works best for CFS when combined with CBT and education.
  • Pace yourself. Allow your body to rest between activities. Doing too much on your good days can encourage more bad days. 
chronic fatigue syndrome (treatment)

  • "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 14 June 2017.
  • "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Health System, n.d. Web. 14 June 2017.
  • "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), 07 Feb. 2012. Web. 14 June 2017.


From Our Blog: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
CBT and DBT are two forms of psychotherapy (“talk therapy”).  In both, you work with a mental health professional to learn more about the challenges you experience and learn skills to help you manage those challenges on your own. As with many forms of psychotherapy, it takes time and effort to enjoy the benefits of DBT and CBT skills.  But once people master skills with support from their CBT or DBT therapist, they often find their new skills and strategies become second nature- they are tools that last a lifetime! Check out this infographic for an overview of the differences between CBT and DBT:
cognitive behavioral therapy vs. dialectical behavior therapy infographic


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