Chronic fatigue syndrome in psychosomatic view
Some doctors say it is a disease and it is not a disease, at the same time. In fact, chronic fatique is viewed “only” as tiredness and joint ache, and people who are suffering from it look absolutely normal, like you and me. But rather it is the extent of the tiredness that turns this into a real and very tricky illness.
Imagine you work hard physically all day long, like cleaning an old garden from weed and bushes. In the evening you are not just a 'bit tired' but rather exhausted. Your body is aching, every move hurts and your body is telling you to have rest, such as good sleep. However, with chronic fatique the sleep will not give you back your strength and freshness. This state continues for weeks and months, and often for years. No pill can offer some relief, no rehabilitation or enough of sleep can save you from this state. This is how chronic fatigue syndrome looks like and it has the power to turn your life upside down. Patients usually have to stop working or later they have to quit their job due to the exhaustion. Family members of the patient have to adapt in various ways, in order to continue their life somehow, despite this kind of handicap.
The bad news about this disorder is the fact, that modern medicine cannot get hold of it. Patient remains without any pathological findings from the physician. There is nothing wrong showing on X-rays, CT or MRI scans, all the lab results remain normal, there is not even an increased body temperature. Some doctors don’t accept chronic fatique as a disease, some do, but cannot unify what is the root cause of the disorder. The theories swing from a metabolic disorder, through a chronic viral infection, to an inflammation of the brain tissue. That also explains why there is a wide range of therapies offered.
A Psychosomatic medicine doctor looks at the illness in a systemic way. Whatever the cause of the disorder may be, it is certain, that the disorder's influence to the patient's life go to such extent, that therapy with the individual alone is not sufficient. Psychosomatics extends the view to the patient's work life, the family, but as well to the emotions, thoughts and hopes. Psychosomatics is a complex approach taking into account the bio-psycho-social reality, in which the disorder takes place. By this approach we can often find, in cooperation with the patient, the connection to this mysterious illness. Often, the resolution may lay in the patient or family history.
Systemic therapy is one of the major tool in Psychosomatic medicine and it can be highly effective for treating chronic fatigue syndrome. The connection between the psycho-social situation and the disease (in this case the chronic fatigue) is very often emotions driven. Leaving the original family at a certain point of individual evolution is never easy. It is a very important step that is called separation, and usually separation is making us feel uncertain or anxious. In case these anxieties are overwhelming, the whole process of separation can be interrupted, which will reduce the level of anxiety for the moment. However, the stopped separation process will cause new tensions in the mind, and in some people as well in their body. If these tensions are not resolved within a reasonable time, it may lead to the full disease with bodily symptoms, for example to a chronic fatigue.
Maybe this sounds a bit complicated to you now, but the principle of Psychosomatic approach is quite simple. In case of a bodily disorder, illness, symptom, where traditional methods of biologically oriented medicine are failing, there is a significant chance that psycho-social aspects are part of the disease. And Psychosomatic medicine is a powerful tool which enables doctors to work with these aspects for the benefit of the patient.
If you find yourself in a position when your issue might be resolved by Psychosomatics, we would recommend to book an appointment with MUDr. Masner. To make your appointment please contact Unicare reception at +420 235 356 553.
Author: MUDr. Ondřej Masner - Head of Psychosomatic team at Unicare