Article abstract:

Distress signals: Does cognitive behavioural therapy reduce or increase distress in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis?, by Keith R Laws in Journal of Health Psychology [First Published May 17, 2017]

Reducing the psychological distress associated with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is seen as a key aim of cognitive behavioural therapy. Although cognitive behavioural therapy is promoted precisely in this manner by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, the evidence base on distress reduction from randomised controlled trials is limited, equivocal and poor quality.

Crucially, data derived from multiple patient surveys point to worsening and increase distress; however, despite being invited, such data have been dismissed as second class by National Institute of Clinical Excellence.

Crucially, the claim by National Institute of Clinical Excellence that cognitive behavioural therapy reduces distress in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is not only at odds with what patients repeatedly report in surveys, but with their own gold-standard randomised controlled trial and meta-analytic data.

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