Scientists in Norway studied 828 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome to see which treatments helped and which ones didn't.
Rest and pacing helped these patients the most. Shielding ran a close third.
Pacing involves deliberately doling out the small energy supply, mindful that each expenditure causes the small reservoir to dwindle. The goal is to accomplish necessities of the day without collapse and ending up in deficit.
Shielding is protecting oneself from the onslaught of too many stimuli that can lead to greater neurological dysfunction. Removing to a room that is quiet, possibly dark, without the visual activity of a TV screen, reduces the stimulation on a fragile nervous system.
One of the least helpful treatments was graded exercise therapy. Approximately 79 percent of the patients following graded exercise therapy deteriorated as a direct result.
Cognitive behavior therapy also was not helpful. Trying to treat a neurological disorder with cognitive behavior therapy cannot correct the neurological dysfunction of chronic fatigue syndrome.
"The exact cause is uncertain and likely multi-factorial. Conditions that have been proposed to trigger the development of chronic fatigue syndrome include viral infection, immune disorders, hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction, and toxic exposure."