The limits of medicine and the social consequences for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome

Pinikahana, J., Holloway, G. and Millen, Neville 2002, The limits of medicine and the social consequences for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome, Australian journal of primary health, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 70-76.

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Title The limits of medicine and the social consequences for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome
Author(s) Pinikahana, J.
Holloway, G.
Millen, Neville
Journal name Australian journal of primary health
Volume number 8
Issue number 2
Start page 70
End page 76
Publisher Australian Journal of Primary Health, Australian Institute for Primary Care and School of Public Health, LaTrobe University
Place of publication Bundoora, Vic.
Publication date 2002
ISSN 1448-7527
Keyword(s) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
diagnosis and treatment
alternative therapies
social construction of illness
medical ambiguity
Summary Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) appears to be made up of several clusters of illness categories acting alone or in tandem to cause the decline of health through; fatigue/exhaustion, sensitivity/allergies, pain, general muscle and joint pains, cognitive impairment and gastrointestinal problems. This study investigated how patients interpret, evaluate and respond to the complex and varied symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Data were collected from persons with CFS using a survey (n=90) and an interview (n=45). The researchers investigated how chronic fatigue syndrome is diagnosed by medical practitioners, how the label of CFS is determined and the social consequences for the patient. The results confirm the limited ability of the biomedical paradigm to diagnose adequately and treat effectively 'socially constructed' and medically ambiguous illnesses like CFS. In the absence of a legitimated regime of medical treatment for CFS, a range of often expensive treatments are employed by CFS sufferers, from formal use of pharmaceutical drugs through to 'alternative' therapies, including herbal, vitamin, homeopathic, esoteric meditative techniques, spiritual healing and general counselling are taken in no particular order.
Language eng
Field of Research 111717 Primary Health Care
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
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