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Counselling for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME
Counselling for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME)
There is no blood test or brain scan that can be used to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) so diagnosis is based on the presence of persistent mental and physical fatigue that is not due to ongoing exertion or another medical condition and is not relieved by rest. Other symptoms may include:
- Muscle and/or joint pain and/or weakness
- Sore throat
- Memory problems
- Sensitivity to light, sounds and smells
- Digestive disturbance
- Cardiac problems
- Respiratory problems
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is also referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS), Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS).
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Who Can CFS Counselling Help?
Are you struggling to get through your day and meet your responsibilities because of your extreme tiredness? Do you feel hopeless about the future? Do you feel anxious and/or depressed about your life since you developed CFS? Do you feel you need support that your friends and family are unable to offer? Have you lost your confidence since you developed CFS? Do you feel less worthwhile as a person now you have CFS?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions you could benefit from our Counselling services.
A Recent Testimonial
Anne - Skype“My experience of therapy has not only been positive, but effectively lifesaving. When I sought help, my anxiety was so bad I couldn’t sleep for more than 30 mins at a time, I had multiple panic attacks per day, and could barely leave my home. I had also been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which interfered with my life so badly I couldn’t work, study, or have a social life. I sought therapy through Skype, as the idea of going out to an appointment was too overwhelming. Within 2 or 3 months, my condition had improved so much I was back at work part-time, I was controlling my panic attacks enough to have a social life, and 5 months after that went back to university. The CBT we worked with in sessions (and the individual work I did outside of the sessions by myself) was able to cure my CFS (a controversial statement, but I can say that this no longer affects my life in any way), and get a strong handle on my anxiety, meaning the idea of any future panic attacks no longer scared me: I had a fool-proof way of dealing with them.”
What Does Treatment Involve?
You will begin by meeting with one our Therapists who will ask you about your CFS and its impact on you. They will also ask you about your life before your CFS developed, your plans for the future and what you would like to get out of your counselling. Your Therapist will then use this information to develop an individualised treatment plan for you.
Broadly speaking counselling for CFS involves two main parts, the first is to help you pace yourself over the course of the days and weeks so that you are able to meet your responsibilities in a sustainable way. This is a skill that has to be learnt but once learnt, it will enable you to return to a level of functioning, similar to that of before your CFS developed.
The second part of a counselling programme for CFS focuses on managing the emotional and psychological impact of the syndrome, for example feelings of anxiety, depression and anger. Your Psychologist is likely to use Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT) here to help you to reduce your negative emotions to a level where they are no longer dictating choices and decisions and influencing how your day runs.
Finally, your Therapist will support you until you feel you have met your goals and are functioning at a level that you are happy with.
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All of our Therapists offer CFS counselling, click here to view the team.
How common is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
It is estimated that around 250,000 people in the UK suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome making the problem relatively rare. It usually develops between the ages 20- 45 years or between 13-15 years in adolescents and is more common in women than men.
What are the Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
No primary cause or specific sequence of events has been identified in the development of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but it is likely to result due to a combination of the following factors:
- Genetic factors
- Brain abnormalities
- A hyper reactive immune system
- Viral or other infectious agents
- Psychological/emotional problems
What is the treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme consisting of the following elements as the treatment of choice for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
- Restructuring thoughts and behaviours that prevent improvement
- Increasing sense of control
- Graded exercise to increase stamina
- Activity management to increase activity in a manageable way
- Life style advise to optimise physical health and well being
In some case medication may also be helpful e.g. analgesic and/or antidepressants.
More Reading on this Subject
Should you wish to find out more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, please check out our articles in our blog section.