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Adrienne Dellwo

Need for Pacing in Teens With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By September 18, 2010

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Pacing is hard for anyone with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and a new study shows that teenagers with the condition really need to learn how to do it.

Researchers looked at two groups of teenagers 6 months after they'd come down with mononucleosis (the "kissing disease," caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.)† The kids with ME/CFS were just as active as those who'd fully recovered, in spite of the severe symptoms and fatigue caused by their activity level.

It's not surprising that the sick teens were pushing themselves to stay in step with their peers, but it's frightening.† People who get caught in that "push-crash-push" cycle generally have a lower quality of life than people who learn to pace themselves, and while this isn't proven, I suspect they're less likely to make real improvements in their health and well being.

Pacing isn't the easiest thing in the world, but it's an important key to managing ME/CFS.† A lot of people avoid it because of the pressure they feel to be productive, but the irony is that proper pacing techniques can make us consistently more productive.

Our society expects teenagers to do everything -- get good grades, be involved in sports and other school activities, have a social life, and possibly work a part-time job.† It's hard to get kids to adapt their lives to anything unwelcome.† Mental health counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy could help teens make the necessary changes.

There's some good news about juvenile ME/CFS, though -- in another study in the same journal, about half of the kids they followed had recovered within 2 years.

Do you/did you have juvenile ME/CFS?† Was it triggered by mono?† Do you/did you try to keep pace with your friends and classmates?† What is/was it like?† Leave your comments below!

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Comments
September 29, 2010 at 11:26 am
(1) tara says:

My son is 22, and still not able to attend college or work because of CFS due to mono when he was 17. The virus was not detected initially, and instead of taking it easy, he pushed himself in sports and school. He did graduate (even after missing over 100 days of school his senior year), but is still recuperating 5 years later.

October 8, 2010 at 6:01 am
(2) Lala says:

My daughter has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. She’s had issues with pain since the age of 9 and is still dealing with this at the age of 15. Ive been here and there with doctors questioning the thought of how severe the pain really is. Ive had doubts of this being Fibromyalgia because she just has so many symptoms. For some reason she has developed severe muscle spasms in her feet that leaves her sore and extremely tired afterwards. I have yet to find a medication to assist with at least easing the pain. Im at my wits end with finding the guidance I need to get her through this ordeal. Are there any suggestions as to what I should/could do? Are there any teen support websites that she can talk with other teens that are in her shoes?

March 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm
(3) kristen says:

I know what it feels like as a teen with chronic fatigue and P.O.T.S its hard and difficult to get through, but you do get through! Iíve been diagnosed since October 2010 and have been dealing with it since! If you want more support or information visit my website blamingtheinvisibleman.blogspot.com

March 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm
(4) Kristen says:

I know what it feels like as a teen with chronic fatigue and P.O.T.S its hard and difficult to get through, but you do get through!
Iíve been diagnosed since October 2010 and have been dealing with it since! Mine was triggered by mono march of 2010. I’m 17 and trying to help others with a similar situation
If you want more support or information visit my website blamingtheinvisibleman.blogspot.com

November 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm
(5) a933215 says:

I’ve said that least 933215 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

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