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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Coping Techniques

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, like all chronic illnesses, poses a host of stresses that patients have to suffer from. Among the most common are the loss of life roles, ongoing medical expenses, loss of job or source of income, confusing symptoms, and constant medical check-ups with healthcare professionals who sometimes do not fully understand the condition.

With these stresses, it is very important for patients to know how to cope. Coping is integral to the management of the disorder and to some extent recovery from the syndrome. Presented below are some coping techniques that may not only help you deal with the disorder better but can also free you from some of the discomforts it could give.

Establish a positive understanding of the disease. It is not only important to know the nature of the fatigue and its accompanying symptoms but it is also vital that the patient knows how to positively deal with them. Establishing a positive concept regarding CFS is known to help patients respond to the symptoms better and facilitate self-regulatory techniques much more effectively. This is the crux of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a psychological therapy that brings about relief from symptoms by way of establishing a good outlook with respect to the condition.

Avoid excessive resting – It is natural to rest whenever one feels extremely fatigued. However, the reverse is often the more effective technique. Stop the urge of resting as this could debilitate your condition further. Instead, try to incorporate minor activities into your daily life which may include low levels of activities at first.

Then, progress to higher intensity activities, according to what level your body can afford. Do not overexert yourself though as this can also have damaging effects. When in doubt, consult your health care professional, he can recommend therapy options like graded exercise therapy.

Manage your daily activities – Limit your activities according to a well-defined plan. Most patients limit their activities according to the particular activities they can perform in a day. This is counter-productive and should not be done at all costs. The key is to have a consistent pattern of activities that progresses according to the levels of difficulty and required physical exertion. Try to attain a balance between stress, physical exertion and rest.

Don’t focus on the symptoms – It is not uncommon for people to nurse the symptoms of their disease. Despite the fact that this is not helpful, patients still persist with this attitude. Among people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, nursing their pains and aches only lead to higher sensitivities to both as well as to disengagement. Disengagement is an attitude of surrendering in the face of inconvenient experiences (stressors) when they seem too overwhelming.

Hence, disengagement is a poor coping mechanism. Patients of CFS are advised not to give too much emphasis on the pains instead, they are recommended to live with them and conquer the urge of giving up.

Avoid the pitfalls of coping – Most patients fail not because the treatment and therapy they have undergone are not effective but because they try to rush back to their lives prior to the onset of the condition. It is important to understand that chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder that cannot be remedied immediately.

It takes time and patience to progress from one stage of the disorder to another. Most patients who try to achieve immediate relief from symptoms often find themselves rebounding to square one, that is to the stage where the syndrome is most severe.


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