CFS Linked to Childhood Trauma
Study Shows Sexual or Emotional Abuse May Be Risk Factor for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
WebMD News Archive
Childhood Trauma and CFS continued...
The researchers also tested all participants for levels of the hormone
cortisol, which is associated with stress and the
so-called "fight or flight" response.
Low cortisol levels may indicate that the body does not respond to stress
normally, CFS researcher William Reeves, MD, of the CDC tells WebMD.
Reeves and colleagues found reduced cortisol levels in the CFS patients who
had experienced childhood traumas, but not in CFS patients who did not report
early-life exposure to trauma.
This suggests that early trauma may "rewire" the brain in a way that makes
people more vulnerable to developing chronic fatigue syndrome in adulthood, he
says, adding that the finding could have implications for diagnosis and
"We know that cognitive behavioral therapy works for many people with CFS,
and this is especially true for people who have a history of childhood trauma,"
Viral Triggers Likely
While 60% of CFS patients had a history of childhood trauma, Komaroff points
out that 40% did not and that a significant number of the participants who had
experienced severe childhood trauma did not develop chronic fatigue
"The danger is that people will jump to the conclusion that early-life
trauma causes CFS even though this study showed that a large number of people
with CFS had no history of trauma," he says.
Komaroff believes, as many CFS researchers do, that multiple viruses trigger
the disorder in people who are vulnerable due to genetics or other reasons.
"I don't believe that any single virus is the cause of CFS in the way that
HIV is absolutely critical to causing AIDS," he says.