Myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome

ME/CFS, myalgic encephalopathy, post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID)

What is ME /CFS?

ME /CFS is a long-term fluctuating condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems. Key symptoms include crushing exhaustion and a severe worsening of symptoms after minimal activity.

What causes ME /CFS?

While ME /CFS can affect anyone, it is more common in women aged 20-40. It is not known what causes ME /CFS, but it may be triggered by an infection.

What are the symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome?

Symptoms of ME /CFS can include:

  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Post-exertional malaise – a reduction in function and substantial worsening of symptoms following physical or mental exertion or exercise.
  • Unrefreshing /disturbed sleep
  • “Brain fog”
  • Feeling dizzy, nauseous or fainting upon standing or sitting up.
  • Loss of thermostatic control and “heightened sensitivities” (to temperature, light, sound, touch taste and smell)

The symptoms of ME /CFS are similar to many other conditions. Therefore, it is important to consult your GP for a diagnosis.

Are you affected by myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome?

If you’re affected by ME /CFS, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with chronic fatigue syndrome, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with chronic fatigue syndrome from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome

Living with myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome can be hard. The symptoms often make it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks. For this reason, those experiencing ME /CFS need reliable emotional support from friends and family.

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including ME /CFS, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The library at The Brain Charity has a range of resources on this condition and on a wide range of disability-related issues.

Support groups

Other charities

ACTION for M.E. (charity working to improve understanding of the illness and, one day, have effective treatment)

Tel: 0845 123 2314

M.E. Association (medical charity supporting people with ME/CFS through all stages of their illness)

Helpline: 0844 576 5326