Help for those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – When someone who has been diagnosed with the flu, COVID or a similar illness says they are too tired to do anything but rest, it is generally considered understandable .

But a condition that affects an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans and has a similar tiring effect is often dismissed and not taken seriously by the general public.

Many who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome say acquaintances, employers and even family members have accused them of being “lazy” or “flaky,” instead of empathizing with their related struggle. to health.

One patient said: “The disease was seen by my employer mainly as a simple inability to cope with stress.”

Another lamented: “Although it is recognized/listed as a neurological disease by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, my sad experience has been that help for people with this disease is scarce and spaced out. Patients like me and their caregivers still face disbelief and stigma from some members of the medical profession and, in some cases, incredibly poor, inappropriate and inexcusable treatment.

So what exactly is chronic fatigue? And, is there a treatment for it?

Defining chronic fatigue Syndrome

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not yet clear, but its symptoms are well defined.

CFS is commonly known as a condition that causes deep exhaustion, trouble sleeping, pain, dizziness, memory problems, and other symptoms that are made worse by exertion.

Experts say its main symptom is a relentless, unrelenting feeling of fatigue that lasts more than six months and does not improve with rest.


Although there is currently no cure for CFS, doctors often recommend therapies that focus on symptom relief.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these therapies may include:

Drugs that treat:

The Depression Many people with long-term health conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, are also depressed. Treating your depression can help you cope with the problems associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Low doses of certain antidepressants can also help improve sleep and relieve pain.

Orthostatic intolerance- Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome, especially teenagers, feel weak or nauseous when standing or sitting. Medicines to regulate blood pressure or heart rate may be helpful.

Pain- If over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) don’t help enough, prescription medications sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia might be options for you. These include pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), amitriptyline, or gabapentin (Neurontin).

Other therapies that treat:

Tips- Talking with a counselor can help develop coping skills to cope with chronic illness, overcome limitations at work or school, and improve family dynamics. It can also be helpful in managing depression.

Sleep problems- Sleep deprivation can make other symptoms more difficult to manage. Your doctor might suggest avoiding caffeine or changing your bedtime routine. Sleep apnea can be treated using a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep.

Fitness Routines- Aggressive exercise programs often lead to worsening of symptoms, but maintaining tolerated activities is important to prevent deconditioning. Exercise regimens that start at a very low intensity and increase very gradually over time can be helpful in improving long-term function.

Although experts have a lot to learn about the root cause of CFS, some patients battling the disease report feeling some relief by sticking to a healthy diet, sleeping regularly, exercising regularly (if possible) and staying hydrated.

An empathetic group of friends and family members can also be helpful in reminding the victim to be patient with themselves and not push themselves too hard.

Local help for people with CFS

Click here to view a list of Baton Rouge-based doctors who specialize in helping patients with CFS.

About Margie Peters

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