Fatigue and Stress:

The Role of Counselling

It doesn't take a genius to realise that circumstances may arise in which the individual is overloaded with responsibilities and worries, whether from work or personal relationships, and that it is then difficult to carry on with one's normal efficiency. We may begin to make mistakes. It is time to get help!

Rather different is the long-term sense of fatigue expressed by the terms Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic Encephalitis (ME). These are convenient terms to express or summarise the very real symptoms that quite a number of people suffer from. Many believe that they are due to a physical cause and in particular due to infection with a virus. After years of research, it is extremely unlikely now that a new specific virus will be found. (To compare: the brand-new SARS virus was identified and isolated in a fortnight.)

On the other hand it is true that long-lasting fatigue and depression can follow several kinds of already-known viral infections, including especially influenza, hepatitis, infective mononucleosis and dengue. This is the only background for believing that a viral infection might be the cause of CFS/ME, though it hardly matters what the cause is: what is more important is how we should deal with the consequences; what should be our response? We stand ready to help with whatever interventions are necessary, whether or not counselling is to play a part.