After years of medical professionals treating it as a psychological condition, a recent finding from the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention now recognizes Chronic Fatigue as a physiological medical illness.
Those with Chronic Fatigue - or what is often referred to as Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) - experience a constant push and pull between a genuine joy of life and the unrelenting feelings of fatigue and pain.
Symptoms of ME/CFS include:
- The inability to complete or partake in usual activities
- Bed confinement
- Chronic severe fatigue
- Sleep problems (such as issues staying asleep or not feeling rested after sleeping)
- Problems in thinking and concentrating, or diminished memory
- Pain and dizziness
ME/CFS may get worse if those inflicted try to push themselves to accomplish what they want. This condition is known at post-exertional malaise (PEM)
This serious, long-term illness is possibly caused by an interruption or confusion in how the immune system responds to infection or stress. It’s similar to autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, but is not accompanied by obvious signs of tissue damage.
Chronic Fatigue Is A Legitimate Illness
The fact the CDC has recognized Chronic Fatigue as a legitimate illness means that patients who had doctors or peers address their symptoms as “all in their head” - or simply treated with “more exercise or meditation” - now feel vindicated in having a medical explanation for their symptoms. More importantly, they can now seek the appropriate treatment for their condition.
The traditional treatments included either physiotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy, which often led to the symptoms worsening. Recently, social media campaigns have emerged to raise awareness about this invisible disability, and research continues in an attempt to find more answers and ways to treat Chronic Fatigue.
*All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved.
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