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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Support Group

It can be difficult coping with the challenges of chronic fatigue syndrome, and some people with CFS find that a support group is helpful. A support group should make patients feel welcome and comfortable. However, some patients with CFS find that a support group actually adds to their stress rather than relieving it.

An Introduction to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Support Groups

Living with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can be difficult. Some people find CFS support groups to be helpful.
 

Selecting a Support Group

Most support groups for chronic fatigue syndrome are free, collect voluntary donations, or charge modest membership dues to cover basic expenses.
 
A chronic fatigue syndrome support group should include:
 
  • Both newcomers and patients who have had chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms for longer periods of time. This will provide a balance of perspectives for the group.
     
  • People with whom the chronic fatigue syndrome patient feels comfortable.
     
  • Leaders who empathize, gently draw out shy members, keep other members from dominating, and who distill discussion into useful information.
     
  • A history that indicates that the group is stable and is meeting the needs of its members.
     
Support groups are not appropriate for everyone. Some patients with CFS find that a support group actually adds to their stress rather than relieving it.
 

Things to Watch Out For

Some support groups for chronic fatigue syndrome may put their own interests before those of the individual patient. Groups that engage in any of the following activities should be avoided:
 
  • Promising a sure CFS cure and quick solutions
  • Conducting meetings that are mainly "gripe" sessions
  • Urging patients to stop prescribed chronic fatigue syndrome treatments
  • Recommending a single solution to the patients' problems
  • Insisting that patients reveal private or sensitive information
  • Demanding allegiance to a cult-like, charismatic leader
  • Charging high fees
  • Requiring patients to purchase products.
     
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