Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Other Waste-Basket Diagnoses

Many people who suffer chronic pain and fatigue find little to no relief from conventional medicine. At best, they are given what we refer to as a “waste-basket diagnosis,” such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, or depression. Worse yet, the doctor runs numerous tests and explains that all the results came back normal — the implication being that the symptoms are all in the patient’s head. The problem with these waste-basket diagnoses is that they are unscientific. Conventional medicine has no test for chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or depression. Doctors arrive at these diagnoses in one of two ways: They look at a cluster of symptoms and assign it a label. If the patient complains primarily of pain, he or she is likely to be diagnosed as having fibromyalgia. If fatigue is the primary complaint, the patient is diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome. If the symptoms are mood-related, …

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