Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as ME, is a condition that causes extreme tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest. Currently, it is not known what exactly causes ME/CFS. However, certain lifestyles and conditions could mean that you’re more likely to develop ME/CFS.
Some of the main symptoms include exhaustion, sleep problems, headaches, and issues with memory and concentration. These symptoms can be frustrating and distressing to anyone who suffers from the condition. Therefore they can lead to secondary symptoms such as depression, isolation and increased absences from work or school.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can affect anyone at any age and of any sex. However, some factors can increase the likelihood of contracting ME/CFS. For example, difficulty with managing stress, mental health problems, hormonal imbalance, and genetics can play a role in the development of the condition
Treatments are currently based around reducing the effects of symptoms. Usually, they include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which helps you to deal with the limitations and secondary symptoms associated with the condition. CBT is paired up with a graded exercise program. This program builds up over time In order to battle the fatigue and improve energy levels. These treatments can also be complementary to medications to control sleeping issues, nausea and other symptoms.
If you think that you could have ME/CFS, your first step should be to go to your GP. From there, it’s a process that revolves around ruling out any other conditions that could be causing similar symptoms such as depression and sleep disorders. Because of this, the process requires patience while the tests are being completed.
Although living with ME/CFS can be difficult when trying to balance school, work and social activities, there are many support channels that can help. For example, reaching out to CAMHS or other mental health groups can aim to improve mental health. Similarly, charities such as the ME Association can give advice, and help you to talk to others who are affected by the condition by linking you to local support groups.