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Impairment focus: chronic fatigue syndrome

For many years, patients who went to their doctors complaining of severe fatigue, trouble concentrating, and memory problems were quickly dismissed by medical professionals. Called lazy, complainers, and hypochondriacs, medical professionals told patients that their illness was all in their head. More recently, physicians have diagnosed these patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, but only at the end of a long process of inconclusive medical tests. No one knew much about the disease, what caused it, or how to test for it or treat it, and patients simply continued to suffer.

However, in 2009, a groundbreaking study changed the game. The study found that the retrovirus XMRV was present in the majority of members of a group of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. With that news, doctors and researchers in California and throughout the country began a renewed focus on the disease.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis, affects between one and four million Americans. Symptoms of the disease include extreme fatigue, debilitating pain, and issues with concentration and memory. Although chronic fatigue syndrome is included on the Social Security Administration's listing of impairments, obtaining Social Security Disability benefits for it can be challenging simply because so little is known about it.

There is no test for chronic fatigue syndrome, mainly because the symptoms vary so much in severity and among patients. Therefore, several researchers have focused on developing a diagnostic test for the disease, in order to identify it earlier and with less strain on the patient.

In addition, researchers are simply trying to learn more about the disease, including what causes it and how best to treat it. Early results have shown some promising developments and the amount of research being done on the disease continues to increase. This means that it will likely become easier to obtain SSD benefits for the disease in the relatively near future.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Unlocking Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Amy Dockser Marcus, 22 March 2011


After years of paying many late fees, and not getting inportant things done because of the CFS/fibromyalgia fatigue, pain, and THAT PESKY LITTLE MEMORY PROBLEM, I now have a new favorite in my list of "not fair" things.
After the age of 62, and after years on Social Security Disability, I actually managed to work (part time) for 18 months. It was a struggle, even at first, but more hours were laid on me, and I started really falling apart in terms of what was needed to function properly for the job. Eventually, I was "downsized."
I had no idea that during this time I was earning too much money (it varied from week to week).
My Social Security monthly net was about $600 - barely enough to pay the heating bill through the winter months Forget food.
So I could have gone on welfare. But I chose to try to work.
Eventually, after a high-handed and possibly unfair interpretation of the laws about incme while on disability, Social Security paid themselves back for those 9 months, causing me an extreme hardship. You see, not only did they take the payment I would have gotten, they took the payment that would have gone to Medicare, thereby stripping me of both Medicare and TriCare coverage, leaving me medically destitute. So for 9 months I killed myself working too hard and too long, because there was nobody else, in order to donate $900 or so per month to the Social Security system, and to remove my medical coverage. I would have been much better off just going on the dole.
It's great to be punished by the government for trying too hard.
Oh yes - in figuring my earnings, Social Security refused to considere expenses that were inherent to the job against the gross earnings, so I also donated lots of gasoline at $4.00 per gallon, a major car repair, purchase of a used car, and the computer I had to get to be able to finish work at home. They say the only expenses that can be deducted are those to compensate for a disability. That's baloney. Try being a reporter in a rural area without transportation expenses. Can't be done.
To treat someone who earns $900 and has $300 in job expenses the same as someone who earns $900 and has no expenses is simply not fair. If the existing law indeed can be interpreted only in this way, it needs to be changed. Also, if you are not earning enough for Social Security Disability to live on, why is the (in this day and age) almost laughable amount of $900 the dividing line? And if you choose to try to work, thereby saving the government dole-out money, why are you punished? If you need to earn more than you're getting, you need to be able to actually earn it, not work harder than the average guy, only to lose money you were trying to supplement. If anything is done with payback, there should be a percentage formula of some kind, where earnings over a set limit may reduce the payment received from Social Security, ( but not below a certain level), rather than removing it entirely. Americans with disabilities are the ones who have to try harder to begin with. It's a pity that our government sees fit to punish them for doing so.

In most cases has been detected that chronic fatigue syndrome is due to the bad posture that young people have in their schools or the stress caused by the tension of the study or work. I remember that Findrxonline mentions that this is not very common because people suffering from this disease are adults between 45 and 60 years since acquiring this disease more easily by the pain they feel at that age. One of the alternatives by the doctors are prescription medications - vicodin, lortab, or oxycodone - because they control the pain severe or moderate, although they must be prevented by their side effects.

Interestingly, recent survey reveals that most of the addicted pain killer patients begun taking the medicines under medical supervision only. Pain killer addiction is mostly continues with the chronic pain patients. They feel need of the pain killers extremely whenever the pain is little more than tolerance. The quick action of pain relievers strike on the pain in the right manner. These are no doubt fast relief options by relaxing to patient considerably. While doctors believe any sort of addiction is more psychological, pain killer addiction is mostly for chronic pain management. FindRXonline in his blog mentions that doctors suggest the use of painkillers like vicodin, lortab, or hydrocodone, for pain although always indicated that we must be prepared for their side effects.

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