Topic Overview

People who have chronic health problems, such as
myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), often benefit from
support groups. These groups can be a good source of information and tips for
managing your illness and a chance to share your frustrations and
problems with others who are in a similar situation.

Ask your doctor or contact a local hospital for the location of a
support group near you. Think about the following questions to help you evaluate a

  • Does the group focus on helping members lead
    fulfilling lives despite chronic illness? Choose a group that focuses on
    helping members locate resources, share coping strategies, and adjust to their
    circumstances so they can improve their functioning and their outlook. Avoid a
    group that encourages or reinforces the idea that there is nothing that can be
    done for the condition.
  • Do the group’s leaders help members
    evaluate new research about the illness? A good group will help members see the
    difference between facts and rumors, and will help members avoid misinformation
    about the condition. Avoid group leaders who present very preliminary results
    as facts.
  • Does the group encourage good communication and
    partnership with doctors? Avoid groups that use past bad experiences with the
    health care system to encourage “doctor shopping” or to suggest a
    confrontational relationship with doctors.
  • Does the group have a
    realistic, positive, and empowering approach? Avoid groups with a negative or
    discouraging attitude. Some groups can actually cause more harm than good if
    they don’t have a positive and empowering approach.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD – Internal Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017