Chronic fatigue – Treatments

The treatment of chronic fatigue and fatigue syndromes may require an individualized therapy concept involving several disciplines and may depend on the severity of any accompanying symptoms such as depressive and anxiety symptoms, sleep disorders and pain. To this end, interdisciplinary collaboration is taking place at the University Hospital Zurich.

Help through psychotherapy

Evidence-based therapeutic approaches for chronic fatigue syndrome primarily include cognitive behavioral therapy and individually adapted physical activation. Even if chronic fatigue syndrome is not a mental illness, psychotherapy can still alleviate the consequences. The lack of understanding from those around them and the restrictions in everyday life cause many sufferers to feel despair, anger and depression. A psychotherapist can help you to deal with these feelings. In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapy also has positive effects: Those affected learn new behaviors and thought patterns for dealing with their remaining energy. This allows them to overcome some fears and gain more courage.

Self-help groups offer the opportunity to exchange ideas with other sufferers. While those affected by chronic fatigue are often labeled as hypochondriacs and malingerers in everyday life, here they experience understanding for their problems. However, it can also happen that the symptoms worsen in such an environment.

Light physical activity can help

Light physical activity under medical supervision has often shown a positive effect. However, there are also those affected who feel even worse afterwards. It is important to find a very fine balance between the right amount of activity and movement, as well as rest and relaxation. One difficulty with chronic fatigue is that the symptoms caused by exercise only appear many hours, sometimes even days later.

Ensure undisturbed sleep

A woman lies asleep next to a book

While people with chronic fatigue syndrome feel very tired all the time, they often have problems falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Several sleep hygiene measures can help here:

  • Good sleeping environment: Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet (use earplugs if necessary). If possible, set a room temperature between 16 and 18 degrees. Do not use the bed for other purposes such as watching TV or working.
  • Rituals: Give your day a fixed rhythm. Stick to a fixed sequence, especially before going to bed. This way you can get yourself in the right mood for a good night’s sleep. Avoid screens (TV, computer, tablet) and excitement in the 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
  • No midday nap: Those who supplement their night-time sleep with a midday nap are often not really tired in the evening. So it’s better to persevere and look forward to going to bed in the evening!
  • Stimulants: coffee, cola, energy drinks and tea wake you up. Alcohol and cigarettes can also stimulate the body. So it’s better to avoid all these stimulants six hours before going to bed!
  • Relaxation techniques: Meditation, Qigong or other methods can help you to calm down.

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please get a referral from your primary care physician, specialist.

For referrer

This offer is aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 65. Simply assign your patient to us online.

University Hospital Zurich
Department of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine
Culmannstrasse 8
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 52 80
Assign online

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