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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatments


The main goal of CFS treatment is to achieve symptom relief.

Treatments for CFS include:

Physical Activity

CFS patients should avoid overexertion and physical and emotional stress. Moderate exercise that is monitored by a doctor or physical therapist may improve symptoms. Light exercise and stretching four hours before bedtime may help with sleep.

Diet and Nutrition

A well-balanced diet can help prevent nutritional deficiencies and weight fluctuations. Nutritional supplements cannot make up for an inadequate diet. Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to.


CFS can be mentally and physically debilitating. Depression is common among people with CFS. In fact, as many as half develop depression as a consequence of CFS. Psychotherapy and supportive counseling often help CFS patients cope with the disorder. Relaxation training, stress management , and sleep hygiene counseling may also help.

Cognitive behavioral therapy , activity pacing, and envelope theory can help you to learn how to moderate activity and spread it evenly throughout the day, without overexerting yourself.


Medications used to treat specific symptoms of CFS include:

  • Antidepressants—to help improve sleep and relieve depression
  • Anti-anxiety drugs—to treat panic disorders
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)—to treat pain and fever (eg, acetaminophen [eg, Tylenol], aspirin [eg, Bayer])
  • Stimulants—mild ones may be helpful, but strong stimulants may cause the “push-crash cycle” and lead to relapse
  • Sedatives—to help with insomnia

Experimental Treatments

The following experimental treatments are sometimes used for CFS, but have not been proven to be effective. Talk to your doctor before trying any experimental treatments.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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