chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) focuses on making you
feel better so that you can resume a normal life. Simple measures you can take
at home—such as improving your sleep habits and getting gentle exercise—are
important parts of treatment. Talking with a counselor or psychologist has been
shown to be helpful for people who have CFS.
Although there is no cure for CFS, many of its symptoms do respond to
Pain relievers that you can buy
without a prescription, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may help
relieve headaches, muscle and joint pain, and other physical symptoms. Narcotic
pain relievers, which require a prescription from a doctor, may
become addictive if they are used frequently. So they are typically prescribed
in the most severe cases on a short-term basis.
antidepressants and getting counseling can help
relieve your other symptoms, whether you have
depression or not. Antidepressants are used to improve
your mood, control your pain, and help you sleep. With CFS, treating both
physical and psychological factors is important.
There are many
unproven remedies, such as special diets or mineral
supplements, that some people recommend for treating CFS. There is no evidence
that any of these are effective.1
Home treatment is very
Adjusting your daily schedule to take advantage of times when you have more energy, improving your sleep
habits, and getting regular and gentle exercise can often help you feel better.
Beginning a graded exercise program, in which the level of exercise starts out
easy and gradually grows more challenging, should be part of your treatment.
Studies have shown that a carefully planned exercise program can help people
with CFS regain their strength and energy and feel better.1 Remember that if you have CFS, you will be able to do only
light exercise. Doing too much or increasing your level of exercise too quickly
can make your symptoms worse.
Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Graded Exercise to Get More Energy
A type of counseling called
cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to help
people who have CFS feel less tired.1 It is counseling
that teaches people how to change the way they think and behave to cope more
successfully with their fatigue and other symptoms.
it's not easy, keeping a good attitude is a great benefit for people with CFS.
Your mind and body are connected and influence each other. Physical illnesses
can be made worse—or better—by your feelings and attitudes, and vice versa.
Learn as much as you can about your disease and work with your doctor to learn
ways to cope with your symptoms. Get emotional support from your health
professionals as well as from your family and friends. It's easy to get caught
in a cycle of frustration, anger, and depression. Learning to cope with your
symptoms will help you avoid that cycle.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Regular visits to your doctor every few months can help
track your progress and evaluate any changes in your symptoms that might
indicate that your fatigue is caused by something other than CFS.