Where do you go when your GP fails to understand you?

Although classified by the World Health Organization under Diseases of the nervous system, the cause or origin of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis (CFS/ME) remains unknown. NICE guidelines emphasise the role of the primary care team in the management of patients with CFS/ME and a key stage in effective management is making an accurate early diagnosis, supported by appropriate referral. This debilitating and complex disorder, characterized by profound fatigue, has many non-specific symptoms that include weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, insomnia, and post-exertion fatigue lasting more than 24 hours. Since many illnesses have incapacitating fatigue as a symptom, care must be taken to exclude other known and often treatable conditions before a diagnosis of CFS is made. Understandably, because there is no diagnostic laboratory test and no reliable or valid biomarker, diagnosis of CFS can sometimes be problematic for GPs.

But what if a GP fails to even recognise that you have an illness? It seems this is an obstacle that is still being encountered by many individuals. In fact, there is increasing literature highlighting the negative views and scepticism that some GPs have expressed towards people with CFS/ME, who, unsurprisingly, voice dissatisfaction with the medical care they receive. It seems that unless a GP accepts CFS/ME as a recognisable clinical entity, the patient is highly unlikely to receive the relevant and necessary diagnosis needed to obtain treatment. Whilst many individuals value the support of their GP, they generally view referral as offering a level of specialist expertise beyond that available in primary care. If therefore, CFS/ME is not addressed well by the medical community, then failure to diagnose leads to a lack of empathetic care, with consequential loss of the capacity of the doctor to act as a healer. Given that a GP often acts as the stepping-stone to specialist care, their interpersonal and informational skills are key to providing patients with the confidence that is needed to ensure they know the correct channels of treatment are being opened.

Not surprisingly, many individuals who feel let down by this simple first line to diagnosis and treatment are turning to private clinics for the support that they need. One such private clinic – The Academy of Nutritional Medicine (AONM) – combines the traditional orthodox approach with a nutritional and complementary approach to the treatment of illnesses and the prevention of ill health. Unlike many standard clinics, members of the Academy include experienced medical and complementary practitioners, scientists and nutrition experts who work together synergistically to build on their combined knowledge and experience for the well-being of clients.
Examples of diseases for which the AONM Clinic can advise include: fibromyalgia (FMS), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), obesity, anxiety disorders, phobias, depression, dyspraxia, hypertension and ADHD.

Given that many individuals with CFS/ME often struggle to adhere to conventional pharmaceutical treatments, due to the multiple and often extremely damaging side effects, seeking natural alternatives is becoming increasingly common. Individuals seeking private treatment with AONM can be assured that at the heart of the clinic are multidisciplinary expert teams that focus on holistic patient treatment, delivered with an encouragingly empathetic understanding.

The Academy of Nutritional Medicine (AONM) Clinic
The clinic is situated at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in London within easy reach of both Oxford Circus and Goodge Street tube stations (London, 41 Riding House Street, W1W 7BE)
If you would like further information on what the clinic can offer, please call 0845 505 1296, or email patientcare@aonm.org.

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