Chronic fatigue syndrome treatment set for trial in UK after success in the Netherlands

Chronic fatigue syndrome treatment set for trial in UK after success in the Netherlands

Cover credit: Flickr

Cover credit: Flickr

A new treatment for myalgic encephalopathy, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS, is set to be tested on young people in the U.K. who are suffering from the disorder, after it was successfully tested in the Netherlands.

CFS affects about two percent of young people in the U.K. and can have particularly detrimental effects. Students who have been diagnosed with the disorder have reportedly been missing school for extended periods.

The syndrome’s cause remains unknown, although some experts have pointed to immune system problems, imbalanced hormones and other factors.

CFS is broken down into three levels. Mild CFS allows people to care for themselves well enough, but may require days off to rest. Moderate versions of the disease include disruptive sleep patterns. Severe CFS drastically affects a person, making it difficult to concentrate and reducing mobility.

The method, first tested in the Netherlands, is a form of online therapy that aims to relieve the symptoms in a psychological manner, by changing the way individuals think and behave.

The treatment also brings an understanding of why an individual has the condition, allowing them to prevent a relapse. It proved highly successful in the Netherlands, with 63 percent of all young people tested recovering within six months and returning to normal routines in and out of school.

One of the leaders in bringing chronic fatigue syndrome treatment to the U.K. is Professor Esther Crawley who runs a clinic at Bristol University. She believes it is very important to address the disorder, stating: “One percent of children at secondary school are missing a day a week because of CFS/ME. They are teenagers who can’t do the things teenagers are doing.”

If the treatment proves successful with young Britons, the National Health Service (NHS), England’s publicly funded national healthcare system, will fully adopt the therapy to treat all future cases of CFS.

The usefulness of the treatment will ultimately come down to whether or not it is accepted by U.K.’s youth.

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