Long COVID/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Continues to Receive Criticism from Psychiatrists

According to a story from insidesources.com, many in the chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis community has been very grateful for the news that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has committed $1.15 billion to research long COVID, a chronic illness that affects as many as 35 percent of COVID-19 cases. This is because, in such cases, the symptoms appear to be essentially identical to myalgic encephalomyelitis, which in the past has previously been linked to infectious disease. Unfortunately, not all think this investment in research is worthwhile.

About Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a rare condition which is most characterized by long-term fatigue and other symptoms which severely impact a person’s ability to fulfill daily tasks. The exact cause of the syndrome is poorly understood. Risk factors may include family history, low physical fitness, old age, mental health problems, and allergies. Females are also more likely to get myalgic encephalomyelitis than males. The characteristic symptom is severe, persistent fatigue that has no definitive cause and is not resolved with rest; other symptoms include difficulty sleeping, worsening of symptoms following exercise, night sweats, sensitivities to certain foods, noise, or odors, muscle and joint pain, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and sore throat. Symptoms may appear gradually or suddenly, and in severe cases can leave a patient bedridden. Some treatments may include energy management strategies such as pacing and changes in diet. To learn more about myalgic encephalomyelitis, click here.

More Research is Needed

For the most part, there hasn’t been much research conducted on myalgic encephalomyelitis, and practically all of the progress that has been made so far has been funded through private donations. Diagnosis is very challenging as there are still no clear biomarkers in the tissue, urine, or blood that have been confirmed.

Meanwhile, there have been some in the psychiatry field that have become convinced that the condition is purely a mental one. Michael Sharpe and Sir Simon Wessely, both of the UK, have been leading proponents of this view, even though it flies in the face of scientific evidence and the experiences of millions of patients. Dr. Jeremy Devine, a psychiatrist at McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has recently criticized the decision to allocate funding towards myalgic encephalomyelitis in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

While it may seem like a comfortable explanation to some, there is simply too much evidence that refutes the idea of the condition being purely a mental phenomenon. Many esteemed scientists and researchers from universities across the US have uncovered definitive evidence of myalgic encephalomyelitis as a real, physical ailment. This new funding should help contribute to much-needed progress in the study of this condition that will hopefully help the millions of people around the world that suffer from it.

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