Background: Chronic fatigue syndrome is a highly debated condition. Little is known about causes and treatment. Patients" experience is important in this context.
Material and Methods: 828 persons with chronic fatigue syndrome (ICD-10 code: G93.3) were included in the study. They were recruited through two Norwegian patient organizations (ME-association and MENiN). The participants filled in a questionnaire on their experience with various approaches to alleviate their condition.
• Pacing was evaluated as useful by 96% of the participants, [Pacing involves focus on carefully containing total daily energy expenditure within an ‘envelope’ that avoids post-exertion payback; expanding envelope as possible.]
• Rest by 97%,
• And 96% of the participants considered complete shielding and quietness to be useful.
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• 57% of the participants who had received help to identify and challenge negative thought patterns regarded this useful.
• 79% of the participants with experience from graded training regarded this to worsen their health status. [Graded training programs involve performing increasingly more intense levels of physical exercise.]
• Overall, the results were similar, irrelevant of the severity of the condition.
Most participants in this study evaluated pacing, rest and complete shielding and quietness to be useful.
The experience of the participants indicate that cognitive behavior therapy can be useful for some patients, but that graded training may cause deterioration of the condition in many patients.
The results must, however, be interpreted with care, as the participants are not a representative sample, and we do not know the specific content of the approaches.
Source: Tidsskrift for den Norske Laegeforening, Jun 11, 2009;129(12):1214-6. PMID: 19521443, by Bjorkum T, Wang CE, Waterloo K. Sogndal BUP, Sogndal, Norway. [E-mail: email@example.com]