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Therapy Helps Kids With Chronic Fatigue

Cognitive behavior therapy eases symptoms, researchers find

THURSDAY, Dec. 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome showed improvement after receiving cognitive behavior therapy, says a Dutch study published online in the British Medical Journal.

Previous research found that cognitive behavior therapy is effective in adults. This is the first study to examine the impact of this form of psychological support in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome, which is characterized by debilitating unexplained fatigue that isn't eased by rest.

The study included 71 adolescents aged 10 to 17 with chronic fatigue syndrome; 36 received cognitive behavior therapy and 35 were put on a waiting list for the therapy.

Those in the therapy group received 10 individual cognitive therapy behavior sessions over five months. At that point, all the study subjects were assessed by the researchers.

The children in the therapy group reported a much greater decrease in fatigue severity and functional impairment and there was a significant increase in their school attendance. Those in the therapy group also reported a major decline in other symptoms, including muscle pain, headache and concentration problems.

"This study is the first randomized controlled trial to show that cognitive behavior therapy can successfully be used to treat adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome," the study authors wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases has more about chronic fatigue syndrome.

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, news release, December 2004
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