Internet therapy speeds chronic fatigue recovery
Dutch FITNET program finds online cognitive therapy more effective helper for teens
A Dutch experiment that offered kids aged 12-18 the chance to use online cognitive therapy tools to treat chronic fatigue has proved more effective than real world therapy sessions.
The experiment saw researchers devise an online therapy tool that comes close to the kind of treatment delivered in 1:1 cognitive therapy sessions. 135 kids were split into two groups, one of which used the online tool while the other were offered conventional cognitive therapy sessions.
“Cognitive behavioural therapy seems to be a promising treatment, but its availability is restricted,” notes the abstract to a Lancet article that reveals the results. The researchers therefore developed an online approximation of real-world sessions, with impressive results – patients in the group using the online tool reported less fatigue, were more likely to record full attendance at school and also more likely to experience “normal functioning” at the end of the six month trial.
Dr Rosanne Coutts, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Australia’s Southern Cross University expressed guarded optimism about the results.
“These results are very encouraging and again demonstrate the importance of the psychological aspects within treatment processes,” she said. “By using the internet, which adolescents are very familiar with, they have met them ‘where they live’. The patients also seemed fairly involved in what they did, it was quite self-driven, putting patients back in charge of their own recovery.”
Dr Coutts added that “Further detail about the actual physical activity conducted in both groups would be of interest and would assist with understanding any physiological changes that had also occurred. The study also relied on, self-report, however even with consideration for some self-reporting bias the school attendance is a clear indicator of levels of recovery. Previous studies report a good prognosis for adolescents and this study again supports this.”
Re: Chronic Fatigue?
As someone who has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the last 15 years, I'd have to agree with this. Anything that tries to label CFS as being treatable by "cognitive therapy" is just another attempt to push the "all in your head" agenda, and does a great disservice to people who are actually suffering with serious, debilitating illness for which there is currently no cure and no real treatment.
Chronic Fatigue is a symptom, not an illness
It may seem like tinfoil hat stuff to those not embroiled in dealing with the NHS and Atos, but there is a pressure from US Heath insurance companies to have 'Chronic Fatigue' defined as an illness and a psychological one, because it means they don't have to pay out.
Since at least 20o1 those same companies have been advising Westminster Governments of both stripes, leading o the situation that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, listed as a physiological ailment by the World Health Organisation and treated as such everywhere else in the world, even Scotland, in England is deemed psychological.
NICE only mandates psychological treatments, as if ME, which has Chronic Fatigue as a major symptom, so CBT and GET (which actually proves harmful) are the only treatments offered.
CBT can be useful, but only to help the person understand their limits, which in the case of ME are not fixed. Repeatability of a task is usually not possible with ME, which, when wedded to the varying problems in comprehension, lack of fine motor control and grip & 'decision crisises' make this orely osychological approach so much hogwash.
I suspect, however, that this is where this researcher is heading. A nice package to sell to Health Insurance and NICE in lieu of actual help .
(my partner has had ME for 25 years, turning from an active, intelliigent, interested, sporty person into someone who can't concentrate even on something so mind-numbing ly LCD as Top Gear and had to give up activities and work. I am not a doctor)
I'd take this reasearch with a large grain of salt for a variety of reasons. First one must properly define Chronic Fatigue in medical terms. Laziness is NOT chronic fatigue. Depression is NOT chronic fatigue. Fybromyalgia is NOT chronic fatigue. Boredom is NOT chronic fatigue. There is a detailed medical process used to differentiate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, (CFS), from the other illnesses. You can't talk someone out of chronic fatigue with cognitive behavior because CFS is not a cognitive illness. It is believed to be a immune system dysfunction but at this time no one has identified the true issues that cause CFS nor is there any known cure for CFS or even effective treatment to ease the symptoms. It's a disservice to perptuate this "research" as being for CFS when it's actually for some other illness, not CFS.