What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is NOT
The Whole Psychiatry understanding of CFS assumes that while there may be psychological antecedents, triggers, or mediators of CFS, CFS is NOT primarily a psychological condition. While psychological treatments may be helpful (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy), and medication may be useful in some circumstances, these approaches do not get to the roots of the problem. So, while they are usually a secondary part of the picture and the treatment, the main focus of evaluation and recovery-treatment is geared toward identifying the physiological antecedents, triggers, and mediators, which are modifiable. Using this approach most people with CFS can recover fully or significantly. Yet it is clear that there are unknown factors (antecedents, triggers, and mediators) yet to be discovered or proven (e.g., XMRV, unusual cytokine activation patterns), which, despite treatment, leave some people disabled.
You might wonder, if this is not a psychological or psychiatric problem, why would a psychiatrist treat it? The answer is two-fold. First, I myself have had chronic fatigue syndrome and recovered, and second, it was through the process of treating myself, that Whole Psychiatry was borne. Of course, as a result of my own learning, it became apparent that the body and mind are not separate, and are one entity which must be evaluated and treated simultaneously for the best outcome.
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