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Some patients are resistant to the use of anti-depressants because there has been such a mythology behind chronic illnesses such as CFS as being “all in the patient’s head” or the patient being “just depressed”.
Research has shown two things to be true in regards to CFS and the use of anti-depressants. Some patients with CFS do also experience depression, either from the situation of having CFS or from a chemical imbalance that causes depression. Anti-depressants can be successfully used to help with this issue.
The other thing found to be true through research is that some anti-depressants, in low doses, can help people with sleep disorders. This is especially important to the CFS patient. There are a variety of anti-depressants that can be tried, and in a variety of doses.
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Graded Exercise Therapy
It is important for everyone to get exercise, but those with debilitating conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome have a vested interest in getting appropriate exercise, in order to help prevent their health from getting worse and to stay mobile.
Graded exercise therapy involves developing a exercise plan for the patient based upon their own abilities, needs and pain threshold points. The patient logs activities, activities that make pain and other symptoms worse and pain levels in order to help develop this plan.
Care must be used to not push a patient beyond very specific points, or they will experience an increase in pain and a decrease in their ability to function. This reaction can last for an extended period of time and can even trigger a “flare-up”.
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Counseling and Support Groups
Having someone to talk to who understands and can even offer helpful advice is a benefit to those with chronic illnesses such as CFS. Because chronic fatigue syndrome is so misunderstood and patients with it frequently ‘look healthy’, it can be difficult to obtain the support or assistance needed from others.
Typically, counseling specific to CFS and CFS support groups can also provide a wealth of resources and references for the patient in order to help achieve maximum benefit.
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Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum is a nationally-renowned expert on CFS and fibromyalgia (FMS). He recommends a “SHINE” program as treatment for both. The program consists of addressing issues, identified by the letters in the word “SHINE”. Sleep, hormones, infections, nutritional supplements and exercise.
He offers a free online assessment to help patients determine which areas they need the most help with and what treatments in those areas might help them most. He also offers free consultations with physicians to help create effective chronic fatigue syndrome treatments for their specific patients.
It should be noted that he does sell some nutritional products to help treat symptoms and the proceeds from those sales go to CFS/FMS-related charity. He started his pursuit of becoming an expert and helping those with CFS (and FMS) when he was diagnosed with FMS.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): Treatment for CFS. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/general/treatment/index.html
The SHINE Approach to Treating CFS/FM. http://www.endfatigue.com/treatment_options/Shine_treatment_protocol.html