Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Trauma Are Linked?
Childhood trauma appears to be a potent risk factor for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Increasing awareness of the CFS/childhood trauma link is a cause that is close to my heart.
You might have days when you wanna sleep more than anything else in the world. You probably have days when a nap seems like the most delicious, delightful treat in the whole world. It might be the first thing you think of when you get out of bed after a hard week. You might go through periods in your life that are defined mostly by fatigue. But if you suffer from CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis), this is life. Even after a full night’s sleep, you’re exhausted when you wake up. Things don’t improve much throughout the day. Your body feels like it’s walking through a vat of honey. Your brain feels like a cross between mush and the heaviest fog to ever descend on the earth. It’s severe fatigue—-on steroids. If you have CFS, typical antidotes to being tired such as exercise and caffeine simply make things worse.
An estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from ME/CFS. 90% of them have not been formally diagnosed. There is no cure for CFS and in MOST cases it is diagnosed by ruling out other diseases. New research indicates the correlation between CFS and C-PTSD. It is likely that there are other causes such as allergens, but the CFS/C-PTSD connection is of great interest to me since I both specialize in C-PTSD and have suffered from both syndromes. It’s easy to refute the existence of CFS…IF you don’t have it. You probably just say “Well, everyone feels tired sometimes!” It’s easy to have an opinion from the outside of suffering. The symptoms are pretty diffuse when you look down the list. But it’s like this – if you have it you know you have it and it doesn’t matter if someone else tells you it’s all in your head.
- Overwhelming fatigue. The kind that doesn’t go away.
- Frequent dizziness and lightheadedness (orthostatic intolerance)
- Changes in vision (blurred vision, seeing white or black spots)
- Feeling like your heart is beating too fast or too hard, fluttering, or skipping a beat
Other Symptoms of CFS:
- Very poor stamina (you can do things, but only for a few seconds before tiring). This is technically called post-exertional malaise (PEM).
- Delayed fatigue (symptoms persist for 24 hours when you over-do things)
- Poor short-term memory
- ‘Foggy brain’
- Malaise (feeling ill)
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Joint pain
- Hypersensitivity to noise, light, and/or smells
- Poor temperature control
- Tendency to suffer recurrent infections
- Mood swings
What to do if you think you have CFS:
- Experts recommend a change in diet, which is low SUGAR/GI, avoids common allergens like grains and dairy, and is as natural as possible. Foods allowed on this diet include meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, low-carb fruit, nuts, seeds, and coconut and olive oils.
- Strategies aimed at boosting the function of mitochondria appear to help. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells. Correct mitochondrial function using d-ribose, magnesium injections, NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), acetyl-l-carnitine, and coenzyme Q10.
- Antioxidant boosting with B12, coenzyme Q10, SOD (superoxide dismutase), and glutathione peroxidase.
Sleep for mitochondria repair: aim for nine hours between 9:30 pm and 6:30 am.
- Detox treatments such as far infrared (FIR) saunas and chelation therapy, oil pulling…to unload heavy metals, pesticides, social poisons (alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs), volatile organic compounds, and prescription drugs.
- Optimize gut function by making sure you have sufficient stomach acid, pancreatic function, and fermentation in the large bowel: use prebiotics, probiotics, fiber.
- Pace your activities to avoid undue mitochondrial stress.
- Address secondary damage such as immune disturbances, hormone gland (like the thyroid) failure, and slow liver detoxification. Talk to your doctor or health consultant.
- Correct underlying problems such as underactive thyroid, low iron, underactive adrenals, and low melatonin levels.
- Identify chronic allergies/infections, which can arise from fermentation in the gut caused by microbes to which the immune system is reacting inappropriately.
- Seek help and support through other sufferers, self-help, and professional counseling.
- Make routine and habits a priority since this will pull you through when there is no motivation or energy to keep going.
Want to know more?
Stories of Persons with CFS:
Trauma and CFS:
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