ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Doctors - Is It Real?
When it comes to ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, some doctors still remain sceptical. In fact, a lot of medical scepticism and disbelief surrounds ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, even today.
Yet M.E. and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome are recognised by both the World Health Organisation and the UK government as very real, serious neurological illnesses.
Find out about ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, doctors and medical scepticism below...
Please note: Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are believed to fall under the umbrella term 'ME/CFS'. To make it easier for you to read through this page, Sleepydust will use the term 'ME/CFS' to refer to them collectively.
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Doctors & Scepticism...
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is one of the most common chronic
and debilitating illnesses of our time… yet some doctors still don’t
believe it exists.
ME/CFS is now recognised by the United Kingdom's Department of Health as
a genuine and disabling illness. On 11 January 2004, Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was officially recognised
in a UK government report as a chronic and treatable condition.
The government report, published by the Chief Medical Officer's Independent
ME Working Group, gives ME similar status to chronic diseases such
as multiple sclerosis and asthma.
"This decision will have important implications for a significant
minority of people with ME and CFS who are currently being discriminated
against in the area of benefits, in particular private health insurance
(PHI) payments for sickness and disability, as the insurance companies
will now have great difficulty in claiming that ME or CFS are mental
health disorders in their exclusion clauses."
-- Dr Charles Shepherd, Medical Advisor to ME Association,
Disability Now, March 2004, p13 --
In fact, ME and CFS are classified as neurological diseases
in section G93.3 of the World Health Organisation's International Classification
of Diseases (ICD 10). Even as far back as 1998, the Chief Medical Officer
of the UK Government, Sir Kenneth Calman, said:
"CFS/ME is a real entity.
It's distressing, it's debilitating, and it affects a large number
-- Sir Kenneth Calman, UK Chief Medical Officer, speaking
at the Royal College of Physicians, 1998 --
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Doctors, Medical Scepticism & Disbelief
There is still very little that is known about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
/ M.E. And no universal cure has yet been found...
"ME patients now are where sufferers of multiple sclerosis, TB
and rheumatoid arthritis were before the physiological bases of their
illnesses were identified.
These illnesses were once misunderstood as psychological disorders
and personality weaknesses when they were at the same stage in their
-- Dr Lynne Michell, 'Shattered',
Despite government recognition, there are still many medical professionals
who doubt that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. actually exists.
As a sufferer of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. , the first person
from which you would seek advice and understanding is likely
to be your doctor. Yet many sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E.
have reported that they have been met with disbelief that their
condition is real and serious.
"Many patients report being told by doctors that their symptoms
are all in the mind, that they're seeking attention or simpy lying"
-- Discovery Health, 2004 --
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Your Doctor : Reluctant
According to a large study carried out by Action For M.E. in 2003,
two-thirds of ME patients had received no advice at all
from their GP and a third had to wait more than 18 months for diagnosis!
In fact, it has been speculated that there is a reluctance by some
of the medical profession to diagnose a sufferer with Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome / M.E.
Here is one GP's viewpoint:
"A lot of my colleagues don't want to get involved with it.
You get bogged down in a lot of paperwork and verbiage, and they're
often having to put down a diagnosis which they don't believe in.
Sometimes you get branded as a bit of an open-toed sandled, faded jeans
type because you may believe in ME.
We [doctors] would feel a lot better with a test because then we could
say, 'Look we've got a diagnosis.
We haven't got this uncertainty'."
-- Alistair, GP (doctor) , as cited in 'Shattered'
by Dr Lynn Michell, pXX --
"Many Doctors Still Lack Knowledge & Experience Of ME/CFS"
Other sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. have reported
their doctor's lack of knowledge about their condition...
...and lack of knowledge can lead
to bad advice (even if well-intentioned).
"Despite estimates of 150,000 UK sufferers, many GPs [General
Health Practitioners] still lack knowledge and experience to enable
them to diagnose CFS/ME with confidence and offer appropriate advice.
A "significant minority" of GPs still refuse to accept that
CFS/ME even exists, and treat patients in an unsympathetic and sometimes
-- M.E. Association spokeswoman, 1998 --
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Does Your Doctor Understand
What You're Going Through?
Indeed, many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. sufferers say
that having to deal with disbelief or disregard
of their condition by some medical professionals is a battle
"When I first got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. , I remember
going to my doctor for help and instead of taking me seriously, he sat
me down and gave me a pep talk!
He literally said, “Pull yourself
As if I had a choice about the way I was feeling!
My visit with him discouraged me so much that I didn’t visit
the doctors again for months.
Then, it got so bad, I had no choice but to change doctors. I’m
glad I did. What a difference an understanding doctor makes!"
-- Charly, Manchester, ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Non-Believers And
Some medical professionals do not believe
that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. even exists, or put it down
to ‘stress’ or ‘depression’.
"What doctors and other professionals do not grasp is the enormous
impact of their behaviour on the patients; it is within their power
either to help people find a way through their ordeal, or to make an
already tough illness doubly difficult."
-- Dr Lynne Michell, 'Shattered',
Click here for reasons why ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
is NOT all in your mind...
Other medical professionals know so little about
it that they end up giving bad advice (even though well-intentioned):
"I have moved around a lot and so I’ve seen many doctors
(GPs) in the past few years.
What’s frightening is how many didn’t know enough about
the illness to give me the right advice.
They had the best intentions - but the advice just made me worse."
-- Margaret, Derby, ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Sufferer --
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Turning To Alternative
Many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. Sufferer sufferers turn
to alternative medicine and alternative therapy practitioners,
because they are generally more open-minded about this
However this opens up another whole 'can of worms'. There
are many 'quacks' and 'fakes' out there who are all too willing to take
your money in return for bad advice, so be warned. Make sure that
your alternative or complementary practitioner is fully qualified and licensed,
and that they have a thorough knowledge of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E.
Find out more about finding a qualified and licensed alternative or complementary practitioner ...
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Know Your Stuff!
So if your doctor doesn't know enough about
ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or they simply don't accept that your
condition is serious and, well, real ...
...what do you do? Who do you turn to?
Well it's a sad fact that sufferers have to resort to this,
but most end up having to educate themselves about ME/ Chronic
Many report that they even end up educating their doctors
about their condition!
first stop should be to sign up to the FREE
You'll receive a free periodical newsletter emailed
straight to your email box...
It's packed with lots of interesting info
on how you can deal with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /
Click here to sign
Even if you do have an understanding doctor, the benefits of knowing
exactly what you're dealing with will help you to recover from
your ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Not sure what advice to follow? Know your stuff!
sure that you've got a head start by knowing about your condition and the
options that are available to you!
reviews of some of the best books on ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, click
Worried that you might be receiving bad advice?
Read more on
recovery from ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,
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