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Parents, Teenagers and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Jamell Andrews

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a very difficult disorder to diagnose in adults and teenagers. The primary symptom associated with chronic fatigue syndrome is extreme fatigue, which does not improve even with extended periods of rest. Though Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one that is now widely accepted by researchers and doctors as being a legitimate illness, the exact cause of it is still unknown.

Symptoms

Despite the fact that researchers have not been able to pinpoint an exact reason for the development of chronic fatigue syndrome, there are some symptoms that are generally associated with this condition. Aside from fatigue itself, the following symptoms are usually present in teens and adults who suffer from CFS:

  • Headache
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle pain that is unexplained
  • Lymph nodes in the neck or armpits become enlarged or painful
  • Restless sleep, or unrefreshing sleep
  • Joint pain with no swelling or redness
  • Sore throat

In addition to the symptoms listed above, there are a wide variety of other symptoms that are sometimes present in adults and teens who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. These symptoms are not part of the official definition of the disorder because they do not manifest themselves in every patient with CFS.

  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain or loss

How CFS is Treated

Doctors generally use a combination of different treatments in an attempt to provide some relief for patients. There is no absolute cure for chronic fatigue syndrome at this time, however.

One of the most commonly prescribed activities for patients is moderate, steady exercise. Teenagers with chronic fatigue syndrome need to monitor their daily activity carefully because they need to walk a fine line between staying active and not overexerting themselves with sports. Your doctor can help you to create an activity plan that will keep your body moving without exhausting you.

Depression is a common diagnosis in teenagers and adults who have chronic fatigue syndrome. If you or your child is suffering from depression, your doctor may prescribe some medication for you to help relieve those symptoms. Behavioral therapy is often used in conjunction with medication so that patients can learn how to identify negative behaviors or activities that may be inhibiting their treatment process.

Your teen may also be treated for symptoms of pain with acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. In addition, they might also need to be treated for allergies, low blood pressure, anxiety, or dizziness.

Alternative Treatments

Many people who are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome seek alternative treatments in an effort to find relief from this debilitating disease. Ginseng is considered to be one of the most effective natural treatments for CFS because it enhances cellular immune function. Ginseng helps to increase energy and reduce feelings of fatigue, and it has proven to be successful in research studies of patients with CFS.

L-carnitine levels are usually decreased in people with CFS, and lowered levels of this amino acid can lead to exhaustion and muscle pain. Taking an L-carnitine supplement has helped many patients to find some relief from their symptoms. In addition, patients with CFS have also shown improvement when taking CoQ10, an antioxidant that is found naturally in our cells.

2 Responses to “Parents, Teenagers and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

  • I know what it feels like as a teen with chronic fatigue and P.O.T.S its hard and difficult to get through, but you do get through! I’ve been diagnosed since October 2010 and have been dealing with it since! If you want more support or information visit my website blamingtheinvisibleman.blogspot.com

    • Kristen,
      I just saw your post would love to chat with you about your POTS and Chronic Fatigue. My daughter was diagnosed with POTS this spring and confirmed in august by Dr Jullian Stewart we live in central NY and have like most had a huge challenge finding the right Drs. And right medical professionals to even listen to what we are asking for. I would like to know what if anything has helped your fatigue?
      Candace

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