Research brief: CBT aids chronic fatigue

Cognitive behavioural therapy offers the best hope to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a Dutch review.

The investigators note that the strongest predisposing factor for the condition is infectious mononucleosis, particularly if followed by a period of inactivity. Of the treatments properly trialled, only CBT and graded exercise therapy were found to be effective. The researchers noted that CBT was the best option, with a success rate of 70 per cent. They found that most studies included patients who had suffered chronic fatigue syndrome for about five years, and suggested that offering CBT earlier would help to reduce medical and societal costs (Lancet 2006; 367: 346-55).

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