Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), are the names given to a poorly understood disorder, whose cause remains uncertain. ME usually starts very suddenly and is accompanied by flu-like symptoms.
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At Granada Healthcare we recognise that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs.
ME is more likely to occur in winter and can often be an effect of a viral infection or severe stress. As such, the syndrome is often not taken as seriously as people believe that it should be.
Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses but ME is a relatively rare disease. In order to be diagnosed with ME, the individual must display severe mental and physical exhaustion which does not improve with rest and worsens with exertion. These symptoms must be present for at least six months and will not be a result of any other medical condition. Associated symptoms include:
Marked fatigue after exertion
Muscle and joint pain
Concentration problems and short term memory impairment
Individuals report marked and critical reductions in levels of physical activity which are comparable to the degree of disability caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), AIDS, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The capabilities of patients with ME can differ greatly. Whilst some people are able to continue leading a relatively normal life, others will be unable to take care of themselves and may be completely bed-bound.
The most effective known management strategy for treating ME is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This treatment helps patients to understand their specific symptoms and develop strategies to improve their everyday life. Stepped exercise programmes are also an alternative treatment option.
The type and length of treatment is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition. Some patients are treated as outpatients, which means they come to Granada for hourly sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist. Others require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying at a hospital recommended by Granada, as an inpatient for the duration of their treatment where they take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with their consultant.