Patients: Long-term Patients
People who have had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), for several years often consider themselves
"veterans" of the chronic disease battle. The great majority likely have learned to manage CFS by adjusting
their lifestyle with the "ups and downs" of the illness and have found it necessary to adapt to the physical
and emotional challenges that confront them each day. They also are strong advocates for finding a cause (and cure) and serve as valuable support and information resources for the newly diagnosed or those yet-to-be diagnosed.
CFS is an illness that presents with many symptoms. For this reason, the person with long-term CFS may tend to blame every symptom on CFS. By doing this, it is possible that a coexisting illness could be overlooked. To avoid potentially serious consequences, a safe course of action is to inform the primary health care provider of all new symptoms and/or changes in those already present.
Facing a chronic, painful and potentially disabling illness, CFS patients may be at risk for depression. Often disbelieved by the medical community, the public, family and friends, people with CFS (PWCs) can be isolated. Further, the severe pain experienced by some PWC's and the chronicity of the illness play a role in the
potential onset of depression. For people who are severely depressed, the risk of suicide is often present. It is critical that depression be detected and treated. A frank talk with the primary health care provider is necessary when people feel hopeless and helpless and in despair.
Knowledge is essential to help PWC's overcome the challenges of the illness. To stay informed on the latest CFS news, visit the CFIDS Association of America's Web site often. Learning how to effectively talk with health care providers, reviewing the latest in treatment and research, obtaining information about other diagnoses that overlap with CFS and making decisions about pregnancy are just a few examples of the many topics available on the CFIDS Association of America's Web site.