Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that has become so widespread in the United States as to qualify as a rising epidemic. The cause or causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are not well understood. It is sometimes referred to as chronic Epstein-Barr syndrome because of the high incidence of the presence of Epstein-Barr virus in people who suffer from this syndrome. However, just as many people test positive for this virus without exhibiting the symptoms of the syndrome. This has led some experts to conclude that the condition may be triggered by any viral attack that the body did not handle well.
Another claimed, or suspected, cause is chemical poisoning from one source or another, including dental fillings and prescription drug use. Yet other experts suspect an unidentified immune system dysfunction, or a defect in the mechanisms that regulate blood sugar or blood pressure. Other proposed causes include anemia, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, a Candida albicans overgrowth, food or chemical allergies, or intestinal parasites.
Symptoms and Determining if This Could be What's Wrong With You Chronic fatigue syndrome does not manifest the same way in each person. It is more a matter of having an array of some of the symptoms, along with the presence of, or previous infection by, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A family history of mononucleosis or hepatitis is an indicator of exposure. A family history of other infectious diseases, multiple allergies, asthma, and certain cancers may indicate an underlying immunological predisposition. Recurring sore throats and/or swollen glands, frequent colds or other infections, and various hormonal imbalances are also considered pre-indicators.
Dietary habits are extremely important, as is the need to eliminate ingestion of chemical poisons (alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs). "Current medications, or medications taken in the past, may also be significant. For example, prolonged and multiple antibiotic use, steroids, birth control pills, chemotherapy (just about any drug, really) can have a suppressive effect on the immune system," Jesse Stoff, MD,Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, The Hidden Epidemic
Symptoms include: Abdominal bloating. Migratory aching muscles and joints with increasing stiffness and loss of motion. Marked irritability or personality changes. Anxiety. Depression. Difficulty concentrating. Significant loss of stamina an hour or so after meals. Cravings for sugar or caffeine. Sudden episodes of dizziness. Rapid onset of fatigue at odd times. Fever. Headaches. Digestive and/or intestinal problems. Mood swings. Muscle spasms. Recurrent upper respiratory infections. Sensitivity to light and temperature. Onset of food and environment sensitivities. Sleep disturbances. Temporary memory loss, and—finally—extreme and often disabling fatigue.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) affects the entire person (every organ and system is a potential target) and the entire person must be considered in looking for symptoms and finding a treatment modality that will be effective. It is not the presence of any one symptom that indicates CFS. It is the presence of a constellation of symptoms including any combination of the above list.
An unusual phenomenon: From time to time, in the midst of the disabling fatigue, a CFS sufferer will hit upon an idea (they were often very creative and dynamic people before the overwhelming fatigue of CFS) and suddenly the energy just flows for a time—until the project is completed, or nearly so. This is remarked on time and time again in the literature and is not really understood. I can only tell you that it is not that the person is lazy the rest of the time, and it is not necessarily an indication that they are suddenly getting well.
The best description of CFS I have ever found is in the chapter entitled Footprints: The Diagnostic Dilemma in the book Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, The Hidden Epidemic, by Jesse A. Stoff, MD and Charles R. Pellegrino, Ph.D. This book is a wealth of excellent information as it is written in a very readable and entertaining style. The information therein was the basis for the creation of the first four of the following CF homeopathics listed in this book.
Homeopathy and the Treatment of CFS
Treating homeopathically is treating following "the law of similars". The specific name of the disease is not relevant. What matters is that your symptom picture and the symptom pictures of the remedies you intend to take match!! A struggling adrenal cortex always manifests in certain ways, as does a clogged liver or colon. Disease names are only a "left-brained", categorical way of describing symptoms, and are pretty much ignored by competent homeopathic prescribers if they wish to be effective at solving the "case". Symptoms are what matters!! and symptom-picture methodology is where homeopathic remedies shine!!
Stress and CFS
A quote from Science News, September 12, 1987, and re-quoted in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, The Hidden Epidemic by Stoff and Peligrino:
Tending to a relative with Alzheimer's disease is not just psychologically stressful— over the long run, say researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, it can undermine the caregiver's immune responses. . . Subjects caring for an Alzheimer victim reported more distress and poorer mental health than individuals with no such responsibilities. Caregivers also had indications of poor immune function: lower percentages of T-lymphocytes and helper T-lymphocytes than controls, as well as a lower ratio of antibody-stimulating cells to anti-body-supressing cells. In addition, there was evidence of poorer immune system control of the latent Epstein-Barr virus among caregivers.
The following is a quote from Norman Cousins in Anatomy of an Illness, and re quoted in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, The Hidden Epidemic by Stoff and Peligrino
Adrenal exhaustion could be caused by emotional tension, such as frustration or suppressed rage . . . the negative effects of the negative emotions on body chemistry. The inevitable question arose in my mind: what about the positive emotions? If negative emotions produce negative chemical changes in the body, wouldn't the positive emotions produce positive chemical changes? Is it possible that love, hope, faith, laughter, confidence, and the will to live have therapeutic value? Do chemical changes occur only on the downside?
Stress and its relationship to physical and mental health is an elusive subject to study or to treat. It is not so much a matter of what stresses are in our lives, but it matters very much how we handle the stresses under which we live. Our responses to stress should be very carefully considered—and chosen.
There are 4 main ways of responding to the daily stresses of living and to the major disasters of our lives:
1. We surrender to the flow of circumstances in our lives fatalistically, as though we have no control and, therefore, no direction in our lives. This makes us either victims or martyrs and is one of the most destructive things that we can do to ourselves.
2. We ignore the struggles of life as we pass through them, pretending that all is well and there is nothing to be concerned about or dealt with. This inevitably leads to an accident or an illness as our body tries to make us consciously aware of our own needs.
3. We attempt to resist, which often wastes energy, adds fuel to the destructive processes of stress, and usually gets us nowhere very fast.
4. We learn from our circumstances and use them as stepping stones and catalysts for our growth and for the achievement of our goals. Needless to say, this last one is the only appropriate response to stress.
In order to discover a possible psychological underpinning for any chronic illness, there are several difficult questions that need to be asked—and thought about deeply.
Some examples are:
1. Am I using my illness to get the care and attention that I felt I deserved or needed and wasn't getting?
2. Do I enjoy not having to deal with people and situations I dislike or find overwhelming?
3. Am I using my illness to avoid the possibility of failure, or even of success?
4. Do I feel sorry for myself and see myself as either a victim or a martyr?
Nutrition, Supplements, Herbs and CFS T
his can be summed up very simply. You need all of the nutrition that you can get to put your entire system—every organ and cell—back on track, and you cannot afford to take very many of the things that rob your body of nutrients—junk food, drugs and medications, to name just a few. Do your homework on what is available to supply the nutrients you need and what you can do to maximize your body's absorption of these nutrients. Bear in mind that over-loading on nutrients that you are not absorbing creates its own kind of stress in the body, and can quickly become a major contributor in the escalation of the problem rather than being part of finding a solution.