Tired woman sits on couch with hand on face
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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (also called myalgic encephalomyelitis) is a chronic illness that causes a broad range of symptoms.

Don’t let the name fool you. The “fatigue” associated with CFS isn’t simple tiredness. It can be life altering and make even the smallest routine tasks feel impossible, especially when sleep doesn’t restore energy after each night.

There is no cure forCFS. Treatments are tailored to relieve symptoms and restore quality of life. Here is more about what treatments are best for you.

CFS isn’t common, as it affects roughly 0.7% of the U.S. population at most. Experts estimate that around 1 million people have CFS. But the actual number of people may sit anywhere between 836,000 and 2.5 million, including those who have yet to receive a clear diagnosis.

People assigned female at birth are two to four times more likely to have the condition than people assigned male at birth.

It is serious. People who deal with it find it difficult to live their lives.

Symptoms include:

People with the disease may need to sleep a lot. They may not be able to carry out their responsibilities without dealing with symptoms. This could lead to missing work, being socially isolated, and dealing with depression.

Even small amounts of activity can trigger something called postexertional malaise (PEM), which can prolong symptoms, make symptoms worse, or both.

The median recovery rate for CFS is around 5%. It’s important to know that many people can manage their condition and energy level by creating a personalized treatment plan with a doctor.

You may find that your symptoms change over time. Symptoms may come and go without warning. Your experience will be tied to your own health conditions.

There is no single medication a person can take to treat the disease. Treatment is based on what a person is experiencing.

The areas of treatment are usually located in the south.

  • PEM
  • sleep
  • It is a pain.
  • Mental health problems include anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • There is There is orthostatic intolerance..
  • concentration and There are issues with the brain.

Discussing treatment options with a doctor

The treatment courses for those withCFS are different from the medical community. To determine which symptoms are impacting your quality of life the most, you need to work with a healthcare team.

You can start treatment of these issues and progress to others in time. OTC drugs, alternative therapies, and over-the-counter drugs are some of the treatment options available.

The most effective treatment forCFS is the one that caters to you and your symptoms. Depending on what you are experiencing and what your treatment goals are, a doctor may suggest a variety of treatments.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment that helps people understand and adjust the ways they think and respond to various situations. While CBT is a psychological treatment, it’s appropriate for chronic illnesses like CFS (and others).

This treatment may work best for people with mild to moderate CFS. It involves attending a set number of therapy sessions in which you’ll focus on things like unhelpful ways of thinking, unhelpful behaviors, coping mechanisms, and relaxation techniques.

Activity management

PEM can be treated with activity management. You may be more familiar with the term “pacing.”

This treatment is usually carried out by a rehabilitation specialist or exercise physiologist. You may start by keeping a log of your usual activities and how they affect your energy levels. Some refer to this as the “spoon theory” in life with a chronic illness, where a spoon to represents a unit of energy.

A healthcare professional will help you find ways to conserve energy. You can try folding your laundry while sitting or taking breaks.

There is a balance between the activities that zap energy and those that may restore it.

A personalized exercise plan is included in an energy management plan.


There is no one medication you can take to treat the condition.

Drugs that may help with symptoms include:

  • OTC medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.) to help with It is a pain. and muscle or joint issues
  • prescription medications to help with more severe It is a pain.
  • prescription drugs to help with sleep issues
  • antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help with mood disorders
  • blood pressure or heart rhythm drugs to help with There is There is orthostatic intolerance..

Sleep treatment

“Sleep is difficult with the illness. If you don’t get enough sleep, your sleep may not be as good.”

If OTC treatments don’t help with sleep, a healthcare professional may refer you to a sleep specialist to determine if you have other conditions, such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, that may be contributing to your sleep problems.

Treatment will depend on the diagnosis. With sleep apnea, for example, you may use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help with breathing overnight.

Lifestyle changes

There are a variety of alternative methods that may help with the condition.

  • People dealing with There is There is orthostatic intolerance.. may try increasing salt intake, drinking more water, or wearing support stockings.
  • People with memory or thinking problems may benefit from using organizers.
  • People with anxiety and depression can try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, massage, and other techniques.
  • People with It is a pain. may try massage, physical therapy, or acupuncture for It is a pain. management.

A doctor may also suggest using certain supplements to address nutrition deficiencies, diet changes to support a balanced diet, or a combination of both traditional and alternative therapies to get you feeling better.

Researchers share that there are some newer treatments or trial treatments for CFS. A doctor may also know of newer treatments or other options available to you.

They include:

  • Rintatolimod: This immunomodulator and antiviral medication is currently only approved in Canada and Europe. While U.S. researchers do believe there’s some promise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it doesn’t have enough safety or efficacy information to approve it.
  • Rituximab: This monoclonal antibody treatment causes “the depletion of B cells” in the body. Researchers explain that B cells may be responsible for causing CFS in some people.
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation: This treatment involves taking bacteria from a healthy “donor” and transplanting it into another person’s gut (also called bacteriotherapy). More research is needed to assess the full benefit for people with CFS and other conditions, but researchers say it looks promising.
  • Aripiprazole: Traditionally used to treat bipolar disorder (among other conditions), this drug may be a possible treatment for CFS. The study was small, but many of the participants (75 out of 101) experienced an improvement in their fatigue and brain fog symptoms.

CFS does more than just make people tired. It’s a potentially debilitating condition that causes both physical and psychological symptoms. Treatment plans vary from person to person and can include medications, therapy, complementary and alternative medicine, and more.

If you are struggling, talk to a doctor about your symptoms and treatment goals. Treatments and lifestyle changes can help you get your life back after being affected by the disease.