Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association does not assume any responsibility for the outcome of treatments or other self-care strategies described in any of the listed books, that might be undertaken by readers and we recommend individuals always consult with their healthcare providers before trying any new treatment, supplement, or healthcare product.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition by Erica F. Verrillo, 2012, E-book format

One of the many challenges of dealing with ME/CFS is the huge amount of sometimes conflicting information about the disease available from a large number of disparate sources. Sorting through the studies about, treatments for, and various approaches to the illness found on the Internet and elsewhere can be a challenge even for someone not dealing with effects of the disease.

For those of us looking for answers while living with ME/CFS or living with someone who suffers from it, the task can be especially daunting. For that reason alone, the recently published Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition by Erica F. Verrillo (only available in e-book format from Amazon) is an invaluable resource.

The ten well-written, well-researched and well-thought out chapters address all the important issues from definition to diagnosis to treatment. Each section is designed to be read as a whole, or in small "brain-fog" sized chunks. There is a summary of the topic at the beginning of each section and resources for in-depth research at the end.

The first three chapters present the various protocols for diagnosis, treatment approaches and a list of symptoms. There is a wealth of valuable information here. If you're like most patients though, you turn right to the treatment sections. If you have ME/CFS you want to know everything about anything that can help.

The author sums up her approach to treatment this way: "...CFS/ME [is] a form of systemic damage that must be gradually, methodically, and thoughtfully repaired. Or, to use an analogy, if CFS/ME is like falling into a hole...recovery is like climbing out of the hole, step by step, rung by rung."

The treatment sections follow this step-by-step approach. In the section on pharmaceuticals, each medication is described—what it is, and what it's supposed to do—the pros and cons of use are presented as well as protocols and patient reviews. The section on nutritional supplements and botanicals details their uses and includes further reading and research. In each of the chapters the treatments are not rated or critiqued. The latest comprehensive information is presented but it's up to the reader to determine what may be most useful to him or her.

As the author notes in her introduction, while much has changed since the first edition of this book was published in 1998, too much hasn't changed. There are still no diagnostic tests for ME/CFS and no cure. Controversy still rages over the very name of the illness. Verrillo's book is an essential, encyclopedic resource of approaches, possible causes, and helpful treatments as well as a guide to the latest thinking about this maddening, mysterious disease.

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.