There have been a number of studies on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) for ME/CFS based on a treatment model where the disease is perpetuated by cognitive processes. Although the studies are flawed and the model lacks scientific support, the treatments are described as evidence based.
The studies are non-blinded and rely on subjective outcomes. There are no objective measures of adherence. The diagnostic criteria vary, and the participating patients often have one or several psychiatric diagnoses apart from suffering from chronic fatigue. The underlying model has no theoretical foundation and is at odds with physiological findings. Surveys suggest that the efficacy of CBT is no better than placebo and that GET is harmful. Therefore, cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy for ME/CFS are not evidence based.
This is a translation of an article published in Socialmedicinsk tidskrift, Stockholm, Sweden,by Assoc. Prof of Physics & Member of the Swedish ME Association, Sten Helmfrid on September 28th, 2016. http://socialmedicinsktidskrift.se
Download the article in English: Studies on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Graded Exercise Therapy for ME/CFS are misleading
Link to the original article in Swedish (vol. 93, issue 4, pp. 433 -44): http://socialmedicinsktidskrift.se/index.php/smt/article/view/1450/1255
Citation: Helmfrid S. Studier av kognitiv beteendeterapi och gradvis ökad träning vid ME/CFS är missvisande. Soc Med Tidskr. 2016;93(4):433–44.