In this week’s Time Magazine, the very costly issue of Chronic Pain is featured. On last night’s CBS Evening News, it was reported that researchers have discovered DNA markers and over 700 distinct proteins found in the spinal fluid of the those diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At the same time, these studies revealed a completely separate set of identifiable markers for those suffering from chronic Lyme Disease. At the end of last year, the governing body in charge of the national blood supply decided to stop accepting blood donations from those diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Up until all of these very recent revelations, most doctors thought people with symptoms of CFS (or the other commonly used name Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome, aka CFIDS) had “psychosomatic” illness and treated them as such. Meanwhile, most of the population mistook the name of the illness to be the same thing as Epstein-Barr Virus. Still others labeled these patients as being lazy.
At this time, there is no known cause or cure.
Eventually those with CFS and others with chronic pain can easily become depressed and anxious. One might expect that if someone was unable to get out of bed, much less participate in life in the ways they always have before, depression and anxiety would be a natural result. Oftentimes when I see a patient with chronic pain, one of the things we address is grieving the life the person used to lead and the personal identity attached to that life.
If someone you know struggles with chronic pain, offer to help. Read about the issue. Attend a lecture or fund raising event. Such demonstrations of support can be a lifeline for the individual.
For more information on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, please go to: www.cfids.com