Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition includes over 100 effective treatments, spanning the full range of pharmaceutical and complementary modalities, an in-depth discussion of all symptoms with cross-referencing to appropriate treatments, the latest research into the causes and mechanisms of the illness, doctors' protocols, coping techniques, special sections for managing chemical sensitivities, dietary restrictions and the special needs of children, as well as extensive appendices covering resources, locations of doctors and clinics, local, national and international organizations, and internet ordering information. Designed for the electronic age, the book features over 2600 useful links to further reading, research articles, and patient reviews. A bibliography for print publications is also included.
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About the Author
Erica F. Verrillo was completing her doctorate in Speech Communication before falling ill with CFS in 1992. She is the co-author, with Lauren Gellman, of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 1st Edition (St. Martin's). She is also the author of three middle reader fantasies, Elissa's Quest, Elissa's Odyssey, and World's End (Random House). Her most recent book is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition. Visit her at
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Reviewed by Sheila Trask for Readers' Favorite Medical reference books are often either readable or comprehensive. Erica Verrillo's "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" manages to be both. She explains every aspect of the disorder in accurate and adequate detail without overwhelming the reader with too much medical jargon. She also offers extensive lists of online, print, and professional resources in every section, for those seeking additional information on any particular subtopic. I appreciated the well-organized chapters on possible causes, symptoms and treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is easy to find the section that applies to you, which is great because this is a big book, at over 800 pages. Verrillo uses the ample space to consider CFS from all angles, including conventional and alternative explanations and treatment protocols. If you want to understand more about a CFS symptom or have wondered about the latest vitamin treatment program to hit the media, there is a fairly good chance that Verrillo has you covered. As someone who has struggled with autoimmune disorders all my life, I loved that Verrillo left no stone unturned. Too often, doctors focus on specific symptoms or illnesses and fail to look at how these might be related to each other. Verrillo enlightened me on the ways conditions like hypothyroidism and tinnitus, for instance, may cluster under the umbrella of auto-immune disorders like CFS. I was especially gratified by the sections addressing the medical mechanisms behind exercise-intolerance, a problem I have never been able to understand before. Now I can see how my overactive immune system may simply overreact to stimuli like exercise. Verrillo's message throughout the book is that CFS patients can get better, but they need to progress slowly and always practice self-care. The information here should boost the confidence of any CFS patient trying to strike that delicate balance.
Of the many problems with having CFS/ME/FMS, one of the more frustrating is the lack of treatments. Or rather, the overwhelming number of potential treatments, none of which are a sure-fire cure. Since the cause and mechanism of this illness/these illnesses (it is still a matter of debate whether Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and Fibromyalgia are all manifestations of the same illness, or three different and distinct illnesses) is unknown (although theories abound), it is no surprise that there is no treatment either. Although, as the author points out encouragingly, it's not that nothing works, it's just that different things work for different people, and recovery is often a matter of trial, error, and blind luck. Unfortunately, though, it's not like you can just go to your doctor and ask for advice. In which case, some pointers can be helpful. This encyclopedic guide covers the history of the illness(es)--is it a new name for something that has been plaguing humanity for centuries, or is it something new in and of itself?--the hypotheses regarding the mechanisms behind it, and various treatment options and regimens that have been tried. The information provided is exhaustive, with links and citations of further sources of information, including specialist clinics, research articles, and patient websites and online forums. If you're trying to get started on finding out more about CFS/ME, then this is an excellent place to start. The information is presented in as accessible a manner as possible, and the writing is clear and engaging. That being said, the material presented is inherently dense, and reading the book straight through as I did could be rather challenging, particularly if you're experiencing brain fog or eye problems (word to the wise here!). Severely ill sufferers may wish to dip in and out of the book in small chunks, or have someone else read it through for them. However, as a reference guide to return to, the book is extremely useful. And while it's depressing to see just how little is known about this illness, and how severely it can affect people's life, it's also encouraging to see that there are a number of things that can be tried. The book covers everything from prescription drug options and even experimental drug trials you can enroll in (for a cool $24,000, paid entirely by the patient--gotta love the US medical system!) to alternative therapies such as acupressure and massage. This is particularly beneficial given the lack of good information available via regular medical channels: some of the more frustrating and upsetting sections of the book are on the vague and poorly constructed trials that have promoted the use of harmful therapies based on the recovery rates of people who most likely didn't have CFS to begin with (as the author dryly notes, recovery rates from CFS tend to be much higher in groups of people who never had CFS to begin with), as well as the shocking stories of children and adolescents forcibly taken from their families and forced to undergo harmful and in some cases fatal reconditioning therapies. While modern medicine has improved in many ways from the mystification of the dark ages and the forced institutionalization of a hundred years ago, confrontation with a chronic illness such as CFS rips the mask right off, and you realize just how much snake oil, witch doctoring, and plain old coercion are still out there.