Dealing with doctors - you need at least one on your side!

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There are very few doctors who recognise that CFS exists. Of those only a minority actually understand the devastating nature of the illness, and a very few of those have any idea how to treat it. Unfortunately, the view of the psychiatric field headed by Simon Wessely (who has achieved this by endlessly quoting his own studies) prevails amongst physicians, which is that all you need to do is to give a few antidepressants, recommend cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise programme and bingo! - a cure is round the corner. The key to getting these results appears to be: make the patients exercise at the expense of all other treatments, then don't follow them up long enough to see the relapse.

So do not expect any miracles from your GP. The problem is that the GP is the gatekeeper to all NHS services, benefits, social support etc, so you need him on your side. With a fully co-operative GP and this website, you can do almost everything that I can offer.

Most doctors do not distinguish, indeed do not want to distinguish, between fatigue, frustration, sadness and depression. If you burst into tears with frustration at the total lack of understanding, that merely reinforces the universal diagnosis of depression. Nearly all CFSs react adversely to "normal" doses of antidepressants and so they stop taking them. This is then used by their doctors as evidence of lack of co-operation in a difficult patient. Indeed, it is this "battle of belief" which has to be waged at every doctor-patient meeting which is so exhausting for CFSs.

Because many doctors do not diagnose any more, i.e. they do not look for causes of ill health, they are often unsympathetic to possible toxic causes of CFS.

They receive virtually no training in nutrition at medical school and so expect little help on the nutritional front.

Most doctors do not accept that food allergy exists, which makes elimination diets and desensitisation seem daft to them.

Most have no idea of the many functions of magnesium but on the basis of complete ignorance will tell you that magnesium injections are dangerous.

Because they only use B12 for preventing pernicious anaemia, you will be told that 2mgs a week is an overdose. Actually doses of 15mgs daily have been used in some trials, with no serious side effects.

Because they are used to diagnosing hypothyroidism on a TSH (thyroid simulating hormone) they will refuse to do a T4 or T3 blood test.

If your GP tells you that he wants to consult with colleagues before sanctioning a treatment, then the battle is already lost.

Doctors will ask for evidence of success for these treatments. However, the best results come from a package of treatments which includes all the above factors. Such a package is not amenable to the traditional method of assessing treatments, namely the placebo controlled double blind trial (perfectly suited, of course, to testing drugs and considered by industria medicine to be the only truly "scientific" method). However, such a package has been evaluated by Dr Teitelbaum, who has demonstrated excellent results. It is fascinating that his package is almost identical to mine - we both arrived at the same package without consultation with each other! Myself, Norman Booth and John McLaren-Howard have now had three papers published and these are linked below, together with Dr Teitelbaum's studies.

However, if you do have a doctor who is willing to learn, then the scientific background to this approach to medicine can be found at British Society for Ecological Medicine Website

You can sign up to the Society's newsletter here

Publications available from the Society can be located here

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External Links

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction (January 2009) - Sarah Myhill, Norman E. Booth, John McLaren Howard can be located here
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and the pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) (May 2012)- Sarah Myhill, Norman E. Booth, John McLaren Howard can be located here
  • Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction in the treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) (October 2012) - a clinical audit - Sarah Myhill, Norman E. Booth, John McLaren Howard can be located here
  • Effective Treatment of Severe Chronic Fatigue: A Report of a Series of 64 Patients - Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. and Barbara Reid can be located here
  • Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Intent to Treat Study (2001) - Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD; Barbara Bird, M.T.,C.L.S.; Robert M. Greenfield, MD; Alan Weiss, MD; Larry Muenz, Ph.D; Laurie Gould, BS can be located here


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