Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exercise Effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

HealthDay News — Cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy are among the best available treatments for extended relief of chronic fatigue syndrome, according to findings published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

For the study, patients were randomly divided into four groups. One group received standard medical care, while the others were given a combination of standard medical care plus either graded exercise therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or adaptive pacing therapy.

The follow-up questionnaires revealed that cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy provided greater relief than standard care or standard care plus adaptive pacing. Patients reported improved physical functioning, less overall fatigue after one year, and continued benefits for more than two years after treatment. In a small number of cases, patients said they experienced complete recovery, according to the researchers.

“The key to maximizing the chance that [these treatments] will work is to first achieve a stable, steady, and manageable level of activity, and only then make increases in activity, very slowly,” coauthor Michael Sharpe, MD, a professor of psychological medicine at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, told HealthDay.


  1. Sharpe M, Goldsmith KA, Johnson AL, et al. Rehabilitative treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome: long-term follow-up from the PACE trial. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015; doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00317-X.