If you sleep for eight hours a night, yet never feel rested and are constantly tired, irritable and unmotivated, these could be signs of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), say experts.
Yet, for the 250,000 Brits affected by CFS, according to NHS Choices, treatments options offer genuine relief to sufferers.
Recent findings by the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), suggest that long-term psychiatric and exercise treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome are good value for money.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) are both known to help patients with CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
The new findings show that, given in addition to medical care, they are also cost effective.
Professor Paul McCrone, a health economist from King's College London, who led the new study, said in a statement: "It's very encouraging that two treatments found to help a significant number of CFS/ME patients are also cost-effective based on existing NICE criteria.
"There is now a strong case for the NHS to invest in these therapies. Our research suggests this investment would be justified in terms of improving quality of life for patients and could actually save costs to society if the impact on family members is taken into account."
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a condition that causes extreme physical and mental tiredness that can seriously interfere with a person's daily life.
Although CFS is recognised by the Department of Health as a genuine, long-term debilitating disease, it is still poorly understood because there are no known causes and a wide range of vague symptoms.
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Although there isn’t one specific treatment that works for everyone, health experts are most likely to prescribe the following CFS-fighting techniques to help ease the symptoms:
- Cognitive therapy
- Graded exercise therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to change the way that you think, feel and behave.
Over-the-counter painkillers can help to ease any muscle and joint pain and headaches you may have. Stronger painkillers can also be prescribed by your GP, although they should only be used on a short-term basis. Antidepressants can be useful for people with CFS who are in pain or having trouble sleeping. Amitriptyline is a low-dose tricyclic antidepressant that may be prescribed.
Graded exercise therapy (GET) is a structured exercise programme that aims to gradually increase how long you can carry out a physical activity.
Pacing is an important way of controlling CFS symptoms. It involves balancing periods of activity with periods of rest. Pacing means not overdoing it or pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you do, it could slow down your progress in the long-term. Over time, you can gradually increase your periods of activity, while making sure they are balanced with periods of rest.
Could you have chronic fatigue syndrome? Take a look at these symptoms, as listed by NHS Choices.