Fatigue Related Syndromes (FRS)

Fatigue Related Syndromes is a term used to describe several different conditions which may present differently but are believed to all have the same underlying problem. To date there is no known cause or 'cure', in large part (sadly) due to the amount of debate that seems to surround these conditions, and whether they are seen as 'real' or psychosomatic in nature. To those diagnosed with, or suffering from, these conditions there is no doubt that they are very real and extremely debilitating.

Fatigue Related Syndromes are:
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) 
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
Autoimmune disease including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a thyroid disorder or multiple sclerosis (MS)

In her book "Chronic Fatigue, ME and Fibromyalgia", Alison Adams put together the following statements which I believe most FRS sufferers could identify with:

  • You have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), fibromyalgia or an autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a thyroid disorder or multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • You have a serious, chronic or degenerative mental or physical illness where persistent or profound fatigue or tiredness is a symptom
  • You are extremely frustrated because you know that there is something terribly wrong with you, but the doctors are mystified and all your tests come back negative
  • You have seen the specialists and taken all the pharmaceutical drugs that they have prescribed and still feel dreadful with worsening symptoms
  • You feel confused, angry or despairing because the doctors now either state or imply that your illness is imagined
  • Every day has become a struggle just to cope and feelings of well-being, vitality and confidence a distant memory - along with your dreams for the future
  • You want your health, your sanity and your life back, and are willing to do what it takes but don't know where to start and nothing you have tried so far has worked
  • The prospect of remaining like this for the rest of your life fills you with horror
  • You feel isolated and abandoned, worried about what the future holds and desperately in need of professional advice and expert guidance
  • In short, you want to know what is wrong with you and what you can do about it

I am sure that this all sounds quite familiar. 

On the following subpages you will find an overview of each condition, and links to resources that may be of assistance.

Common presenting symptoms:
  1. Fatigue of at least 6 months duration, not relieved by rest and exacerbated by exercise
  2. Musculoskeletal pain - including joints and muscles (usually through the pelvis, shoulders, neck and back); Temperomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) 
  3. Headaches of sudden onset or new intensity
  4. Cognitive problems such as concentration and short term memory 
  5. Sleep disturbance, whether falling asleep, staying asleep, insomnia or unrefreshing sleep.
  6. Body temperature dysfunctions - inability to regulate temperature, sensitivity to cold or heat, cold hands and feet
  7. Recurrent viral and bacterial infections; enlarged lymph nodes

You may also have experienced some of the following:
  1. Respiratory problems - pain or difficulty on breathing, chronic cough, shortness of breath
  2. Weight change - usually unexplained weight gain without change in diet
  3. Digestive/Gastrointestinal complaints such as IBS, bloating, pain
  4. Hypoglycaemia - feeling weak, faint or shaky if you have not eaten for a few hours
  5. Nutritional deficiencies 
  6. Alcohol or food intolerances, allergies
  7. Endocrine, Central Nervous System, Lymphatic, Cardiovascualr, Urinary, Sexual or Reproductive dysfunction
  8. Depression
  9. Skin problems such as eczema
  10. Eye and Ear problems such as infections or visual disturbances
  11. Dry mouth

No one is certain of what causes these conditions, however possible causes that may precipitate FRS include:

  1. Stress and Trauma
  2. Virus, illness or injury
  3. Heavy pharmaceutical or recreational drug use
  4. Vaccinations, specifically mercury
  5. Infective organisms such as Candidiasis

International Support Organisations & Resources

Action for M.E
P O Box 2778, Bristol
Phone - 0845 123 2380

Fibromyalgia Association
Studio 3007, Mile End Mill, 12 Seedhill Rd, Paisley, UK
Phone - 0844 887 2444

M.E. Association
7 Apollo Office Court, Radclive Road, Gawcott
Phone - 01280 818964
Email - meconnect@meassociation.org.uk

CFIDS Association of America
P O BOx 220398, Charlotte, North Carolina
Phone - 001 704 365 2343

Complementary and alternative treatments

British Acupuncture Council
63 Jeddo Road, London
Phone - 020 8735 0400

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council 
83 Victoria Rd, London
Phone - 020 3178 2199

General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and General Hypnotherapy Register
P O Box 204, Lymington

The Hypnotherapy Association UK
14 Crown Street, Chorley
Phone - 01257 262124

The National Hypnotherapy Society
19 Grafton Road, Worthing
Phone - 0870 850 3387

For more information on what services are available to you please see our "Things you should know about" page which includes the following: