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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients who received cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or graded exercise therapy (GET) in combination with specialized care were three times more likely to recover. The large study out of the UK showed that these treatments were more successful than other treatments.
“The fact that people can recover from chronic fatigue syndrome is excellent news,” said co-author Trudie Chalder, a professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry. “Healthcare professionals can now be more confident in sharing the possibility with patients, many of whom are understandably concerned about their future.”
CFS affects more than 250,000 people in the UK. It is a long-term, debilitating condition that causes profound physical and mental fatigue. Exercise can worsen the condition.
CFS is often accompanied by muscle and joint pain, disturbed sleep, and problems with concentration and memory. A person with CFS is exhausted and not able to carry out normal everyday activities. Sleep and rest provide no relief.
For many people, however, the symptoms gradually go away. There is no cure. Some treatments do help, and this study shows that the combination of CBT and GET can recover more expeditiously.
With CBT, a trained clinical psychologist or nurse helps the patient understand how his or her thought processes affect symptoms and how to change the thought processes. Gradually, more activity is encouraged.
With GET, a trained physiotherapist helps the patient develop a customized exercise program designed to counteract symptoms and take advantage of the level of activity the patient can tolerate. Specialist medical care may include medication for insomnia or pain.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Psychological Medicine
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