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
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 ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD – Internal Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine