What Is Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome?
by Helene Malmsio
If you want to learn how to cope with CFS you need to know the differences in the condition and work out which one is affecting you.
Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) is usually just another name for chronic fatigue syndrome or ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis).
While there can be some differences which we will consider in a moment, many doctors may seem to use the terms interchangeably.
But in fact, most doctors have a preference for one term or another when they are talking about the disease to patients.
Differences Between Post-Viral Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue and ME
The differences between post-viral fatigue, chronic fatigue and ME are minor, but there are some reasons why a doctor might use the term post-viral fatigue.
First, it implies a trigger for the disease (a virus).
This makes it a little easier to diagnose and also tends to make patients feel better about their diagnosis.
Understanding something always helps us to live with it, and the term post-viral fatigue sounds more like something that we might recover from.
However, the term can be misleading because chronic fatigue and ME can be triggered by exposure to certain substances as well as by viruses.
So a doctor who defines chronic fatigue syndrome as something that is triggered by a virus, might not have a diagnosis for a patient whose chronic fatigue could not be attributed to a viral onset.
What You Can Do About Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome
If your doctor has told you that you have post-viral fatigue syndrome, the first thing to understand is that although there is no specific treatment in terms of medication, most people do improve over time.
Recovery may be slow or incomplete, and you may even get worse before you get better, but the best thing that you can do to improve your chances of recovery is to accept the situation you are currently in and manage your days so that you do not become overtired.
Most importantly, try not to worry. It's easily said and harder to do, but anxiety over issues like relationships and money will only worsen the fatigue.
For most people, stress and mental activity are just as tiring as physical exertion.
You may decide to make some major life changes in order to manage your post-viral fatigue.
This could include moving to a situation where somebody can care for you if you are currently living alone, 'downsizing' to a cheaper property to save money, or leaving a neighborhood where you have a lot of demanding commitments.
Making the right changes can reduce anxiety and help you to manage the condition, but discuss them thoroughly with your doctor before taking any big steps.
If you think that you or the person you are caring for is suffering from depression as a result of the illness, talk to the doctor about it.
Sometimes, the symptoms of post-viral fatigue can seem like the symptoms of depression to an outsider, but the person is not really depressed, just suffering from fatigue.
Other times the loss of a person's normal life can cause depression which needs to be treated separately from the post-viral fatigue.
Learn more about CFS causes, symptoms and natural fatigue remedies when you read the rest of our information here about: How to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS.
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