Yes, that is the question!
Doctors not only are unsure what CFS actually implies, they are also virtually clueless on what causes the condition.
They are even debating what “type” of condition we are talking about: is it genuinely a neuralgic disorder or the effect of an undetectable virus infection, or a degeneration of the central nervous system or maybe a somatic manifestation of a severe depression or maybe not even somatic but just psychic… questions over questions, and no answers to them. It really seems Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one of the hardest riddles left in the medical sciences.
But you are not looking for answers to riddles, are you?
You are looking for relief and cure. So what can the clueless doctors do for you?
They usually will do what they can – which is to try everything that could possibly help. As there is no cure in sight, the will try all those therapies that until now have shown a reasonable success rate.
If this does not sound good for you, than something else might: there is no proof that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome will reduce your average life expectancy, and in about 30% of treated cases for adults, but more than 80% for children, a significant improvement can be stated.
So how will my life go on with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
It mainly depends how well you can handle the symptoms.
Your first concern might be your working place. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy should help you to get a better understanding of how much labor and stress you still can endure without your symptoms getting worse. And then most likely it will need some fine-tuning – you can work less hard, fewer hours long or both. Once you have found the right level you can try to improve on that later on.
The very same principles apply to your private life. Try to find a level that still is acceptable for all involved persons. If you have children at an age where they still need your daily care, talk to them, explain the situation and see if there are some minor tasks and errands of which you could be relieved without your children feeling neglected – parental love after all is not something defined by laundry or candy shopping.
And even if your doctor has not found anything that in his opinion would warrant any medication, you still might like to give it a try. You could ask your doctor to prescribe antidepressants and you might like to go online shopping for kratom. If none of these drugs bring any improvement after a period of time, you can stop taking them.
But sometimes they will, and a severe handicap like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome should always imply that you take every chance for improvement you can see – and if it was just for knowing that you really tried.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a kind of psychological training that helps you to better understand your condition and to arrange your life accordingly. If this does not sound like much, maybe some figures do better: in several large scale surveys more than half of CFS patients have confirmed that cognitive behavioral therapy led to a remarkable improvement of their symptoms.
Graded exercise therapy (GET) is basically a step-by-step fitness training where types and times of exercises are closely monitored and compared with the patient’s subjective exhaustion observations. GET is aimed at finding a daily physical fitness program for you exactly as hard as you can handle without aggravating the Fatigue Syndrome. Again large-scale patient surveys have shown that it works for most people and will result in a reduction of fatigue.
There are mixed results to be reported for different medications. CFS patients seem to react rather sensitive to most types of medication, especially of the sedative types. But still some people show improvements under treatment with anti depressants and so called immunomodulatory agents. These are substances, which either stimulate or suppress your immunity system or parts of it. Their prescription will be preceded by diagnostic analysis of your immune system’s parameters – if there are any irregularities found your doctor might try to improve your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by modifying your immune system.
A very recent approach is by a leaf called Kratom. This leaf comes from mitragyna speciosa, a wild growing tree from the jungles of South East Asia. In its area of origin Kratom has long been used as a painkiller with strong stimulating properties, and as trials are still running, obviously a number of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome find that the stimulating agents of Kratom are helping them to overcome their Fatigue symptoms.