The medical condition I have chosen to focus on is chronic fatigue. The symptoms of chronic fatigue include loss of memory or concentration, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, muscle pain that has no explanation, joint pain that moves from one joint to the other, headaches, poor sleep quality, and extreme exhaustion, according to the Mayo Clinic Staff. Chronic fatigue is often treated through the use of medications and pharmaceuticals including antidepressants, sleeping pills, or therapy. Therapies can include exercise therapy or psychological counseling. Alternative approaches are sometimes used, usually revolving around relaxation techniques.
The illness experience in a patient with chronic fatigue can be influenced heavily by the people around them. For example, even with a diagnosis from a medical professional, I have a relative who suffers from chronic fatigue, and had a difficult time conveying to others how serious the affliction can be. The sick role includes being excused from regular responsibilities, which was very difficult for my relative to do. Having to tell someone you need time away from work due to fatigue is not something many superiors take easily. Our culture sees fatigue as a sign of weakness and encourages hard work. This in turn negatively affects the patient, making them feel worse about themselves, and also continue the cycle of working without time to relax and get proper help for the chronic fatigue.
There is a large connection between belief and healing, as seen in the “Placebo: Cracking the Code” video. The video had one example of a doctor who believed a patient would be able to be treated by placebo effect, not knowing that the patient had a congenital condition. Miraculously, the patient was cured of his condition. The doctor continued to try this treatment on other patients with similar conditions, and failed. The difference was that the doctor did not know the first patient had a congenital, “incurable” disease. Although I of course could not say for sure that the first case was not just some miracle, this example is just one of the many the video depicted of belief leading to healing. I think the connection exists, but to what extent, I am unsure.
“Chronic fatigue.” Mayo Clinic. Published July 1, 2014. Accessed July 29, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20022009