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Evid Based Mental Health doi:10.1136/eb-2013-101652
  • Psychological interventions

Reports of recovery in chronic fatigue syndrome may present less than meets the eye

  1. Jenna Adamowicz
  1. Department of Psychiatry, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA; fred.friedberg@stonybrookmedicine.edu

What is already known on this topic?

The definitions of recovery in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are numerous, as are the amount of intervention and naturalistic studies designed to assess illness recovery.1 In a recent systematic review of 22 studies, recovery percentages ranged from 0% to 66%.1 White et al report a recovery rate of 22% to 23% in their active behavioural intervention conditions. This rate corresponds with findings of a previous intervention study in CFS that used similar recovery criteria.2

What this paper adds?

  • A controlled comparison of three recognised behavioural interventions for CFS incorporating an unusually large sample (thus, greater power) in comparison to previous clinical trials.

  • The use of multiple case definitions of CFS with varying criteria to assess clinical recovery. Thus, the percentage of patients who no longer met full illness criteria can be determined with reference to several definitions, rather than just one.

  • Operationalised criteria for recovery that include both symptom and functional changes as informed by population data. Such precise criteria make clear how recovery …

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