Individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome experience a variety of fluctuating symptoms that can have a disabling impact on everyday life. Symptoms can be physical and cognitive.
Physical symptoms may include:
Muscle and joint pain
Poor temperature control
Difficulties with digestion
Cognitive symptoms may include
Word finding difficulties
Difficulty processing and understanding information
Forgetting how to complete simple tasks
Misjudging risks and sense of safety
Symptoms can affect individuals to varying degrees
- Individuals with mild CFS/ME experience symptoms, but they are able to enjoy a variety of activities with minimal difficulty. They are able to manage full or part time employment / education. They are able to balance household / family activities, and social activities with employment, though this may need to be carefully managed.
- Individuals with moderate CFS/ME need help and support to complete everyday activities. They are unable to manage employment / education, but are able to complete household / family activities to varying degrees. They need assistance with activities outside of the home, e.g. shopping or socialising, which may also require careful planning to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
- Individuals with severe CFS/ME need help with all activities of daily living. This help may be provided by family members and/or carers. They are likely to be housebound and in some cases bedbound. They are able to contribute to their care, but may reserve their energy to complete enjoyable activities such as reading or listening to music.
How is CFS treated?
As the cause of CFS/ME remains unknown there is no medical treatment or cure for the condition. Instead individuals are offered therapeutic rehabilitation to help manage symptoms and promote well-being.
Will I get better?
Many people with CFS/ME live positive and fulfilling lives. How well individuals progress depends on many factors, eg, how able they are to make changes to their behaviours, age, financial demands, family responsibilities, severity of symptoms, emotional resilience, and the presence of other health conditions.
CFS/ME is a long term health condition and whilst some individuals are able to return to everyday activities, they will remain vulnerable to setbacks and relapses. Therefore individuals will need to continue implementing management strategies and be mindful of symptoms.
More information on the condition can be found at: