Chronic Fatigue Treatment

Chronic fatigue is generally treated by addressing both the specific symptoms and the fatigue’s underlying cause. Different patients experience chronic fatigue differently, so your treatment plan will likely be highly individualized. Chronic fatigue treatment may take the form of lifestyle changes, natural supplements, medication and traditional or alternative therapies.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat Chronic Fatigue

While changing everyday habits doesn’t always remedy chronic fatigue, simple changes toward a healthier lifestyle are often the first line of defense against persistent exhaustion. Your doctor may recommend:

  • A change in diet: If you’re not getting proper nutrition and hydration, your body may not be getting the energy it needs to function. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding saturated fats, refined foods, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and other stimulants. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and fight fatigue.
  • Plenty of sleep: Good sleep habits are essential for the treatment of fatigue. If you’re sleeping poorly, this can cause you to feel fatigued throughout the day. Sleep at regular hours, going to bed and getting up around the same time each day. Get at least eight hours of sleep, and refrain from midday naps, as these can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night.
  • Regular exercise: Regular, moderate exercise can help you stay energized. Exercise every day, but keep it gentle and stay comfortable. Don’t overwork yourself, even if you feel like you can handle it on a certain day, as over-exercising can make you feel exhausted later. Both too little and too much physical activity can contribute to fatigue. Find a good balance. Yoga is a great treatment for fatigue, as it promotes mental relaxation and stress reduction, as well as physical exercise.

If these lifestyle changes aren’t effective, your fatigue may be caused by something other than an unhealthy lifestyle. Your doctor can perform tests to determine the root cause of persistent fatigue.

Natural Supplements for Chronic Fatigue

Certain vitamins and natural supplements can help reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Some supplements commonly used as treatment for fatigue include:

  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Ginseng
  • L-Carnitine
  • Magnesium
  • Melatonin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamins C, D and E and B vitamins.

Be sure to discuss any new vitamin regime with your doctor.

Pharmaceutical Treatment for Fatigue

If lifestyle changes aren’t helping, your doctor can help you find the best medication for your chronic fatigue symptoms. Medication often depends on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Pharmaceutical treatment for fatigue may address:

  • Allergy-like symptoms
  • Depression
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Pain.

Numerous experimental medications for chronic fatigue are also available; see your doctor for more information.

Traditional and Alternative Therapies

Outside of the pharmaceutical realm, traditional treatment for fatigue may include counseling and cognitive, behavioral or physical therapy. Alternative or supplementary treatments include massage, hypnotherapy, yoga, acupuncture and support groups.

Resources

Borge, K. (2010). Chronic fatigue syndrome: Can herbal remedies boost my energy? Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-fatigue/AN01764

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): Treatments for CFS. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/general/treatment/index.html

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Chronic fatigue syndrome: Treatments and drugs. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/DS00395/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs