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The Return to Education: A Guide for the Student Recovering/Recovered from CFS/ME

When returning to school, college or university after suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome/ME the student should avoid both mental and physical over-exertion. On some days even the minimal mental or physical effort can be deleterious and the student has to learn to accommodate during what may be a long process of recovery.

With CFS/ME in school children much information can be found on The Tymes Trust website here.

With CFS/ME and fibromyalgia all cases are different, with students all requiring unique requirements which makes the education plan and management more difficult. The dysfunction in the hypothalamus and the disturbed autonomic nervous system affect different systems and parts of the body and mind. Often there is a problem in getting up in the morning to be in time for school or lectures due to a disturbed circadian rhythm.

The other problem with all patients is the waxing and waning nature of the illness and this has to be understood by educational establishments, with students sometimes having to take off days when their symptoms worsen even though they seemed pretty healthy. They may occasionally look healthy and attempt to fit in with the educational system and school/ university student life but are often in a much more serious state of health then they let observers believe.

Unlike some psychological illnesses, CFS/ME patients retain their motivation but struggle with post-exertion malaise. The student will often try their best to carry on but their symptoms worsen with continued attempts to over-exert themselves.

As the Tymes Trust says on their information page: ‘Most children and students with CFS/ME are able to make some progress academically if education is suitably modified. However, they may be unable to follow the usual timescales for Key Stages and examinations etc. Therefore, it is important for schools to plan for the long term.’

Home tuition and/or online lessons are often needed in severe cases, reducing the extra strain that any examinations will inevitably place on the student.

It is imperative that both in school and further/higher education the relevant teachers and lecturers know about the students health problems even if they are in the past, just so there is a level of understanding for not pushing too fast and empathy if the condition deteriorates.

Recovering patients need to pace themselves, even if they are virtually symptom free. The student requires as much extra time as possible in their course work and to be given regular rest breaks during any examinations with the maximum extension to the time period allowed when sitting for any examinations.

I always advise rest breaks and small snacks and water when they take their examinations to reduce the symptoms of dehydration and hypoglycaemia which are common in CFS/ME and FMS.

Patients well enough to live in student accommodation should try as much as possible to find the quietest and least stressful environment to live in and, even if completely recovered, should avoid too much alcohol and too many late night events etc, making sure that their fellow students understand that they are not just being party-poopers.

Other measures that usually help are the use of a rest/recovery room when needed plus the student should be given easy access to lessons or lectures such as parking spaces near to the college/university entrance, and use of elevators rather than having to traipse up and down many flights of stairs all day.

Blog post written by Raymond Perrin, author of The Perrin Technique. Discover more about the upcoming Second edition here. 

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CFS/ME: Are you sleeping too much?

CFS/ME: Are you sleeping too much

Difficulty with sleep is common for people with CFS/ME. Some people find they are sleeping too much, while others find they are not sleeping enough. If you experience problems with sleep there are several things you can do to help yourself.

There is no such thing as an ideal amount of sleep. For example, some people need 10 hours, while others only need five. An average night’s sleep is around eight hours. When the amount of sleep someone is getting is causing an increase in fatigue that is when it becomes a problem.

When people first have CFS/ME they often over sleep. People who have had CFS/ME for a longer period of time often go from over sleeping to not being able to sleep enough, despite high fatigue levels. Continue reading CFS/ME: Are you sleeping too much?

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Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at the BMA Medical Book Awards

We’re very proud to announce that Dr Sarah Myhill’s book Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was highly commended in the Popular Medicine category at the BMA Medical Book Awards 2015. The book has quickly become one of our best sellers and is helping Sarah’s groundbreaking chronic fatigue syndrome protocol reach thousands of people around the world who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to learn the tests and treatment methods she’s worked so hard to develop. It was up against some pretty stiff competition in its category so it’s a real achievement to have been highly commended.

Dr Myhill (middle right) with her team at the BMA Medical Book Awards for her book on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dr Myhill (centre right) with her team at the BMA Medical Book Awards

Sharing expert knowledge about areas of medicine and health that aren’t so well represented by the mainstream is our goal at Hammersmith Health Books, and Dr Myhill’s book is a perfect example. In it Dr Myhill explains the importance of mitochondria and their role in every aspect of our lives, showing how we fail if they fail. She shows how their activity can be measured and how her recently published research supports her programme for mitochondrial recovery spelt out here as the basis for recovery from CFS/ME.

Congratulations to Sarah and her team who helped produce the book and support the many hundreds of chronic fatigue syndrome patients who visit her clinic and countless more who seek her advice and help remotely.

Dr Myhill's book Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was highly commended at the BMA Book Awards 2015

If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Myhill’s work visit www.doctormyhill.co.uk or join the Facebook group to meet other CFS/ME patients and get inside info on the protocol.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is now on sale in paperback and ebook formats from £4.50