- Last Updated: 20 January 2016 20 January 2016
ME/CFS often appears similar to several different and distinct illnesses. The following section will assist patients and health care providers distinguish other illnesses from ME/CFS. It is critical not to misdiagnose ME/CFS as another illness, nor diagnose another illness as ME/CFS.
See pages 14-16 of the ME/CFS: A Primer for Clinical Practitioners for an overview of what clinicians should be considering as differential diagnoses. The most common conditions confused with ME/CFS are listed below, with descriptions in "patient" language.
ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia
ME/CFS and Multiple Sclerosis
ME/CFS and Chronic Lyme Disease
American Lyme Disease Foundation —ALDF is active in media outreach, education (medical and public) and research programs.
Lyme Disease Association (LDA)— Organization dedicated to Lyme Disease education, prevention, and the raising of research funds.Various educational brochures and primers available at their website.
Lyme Disease Network (LymeNET)—Comprehensive website offering online library, listing of national support groups, and a user forum.
ME/CFS and Chiari Malformation
ME/CFS and Psychiatric Disorders
See pages 16-17 of the ME/CFS: A Primer for Clinical Practitioners.
On the Morbid Fascination with Psychiatric Morbidity by Dr. Alan Gurwitt, a pioneer ME/CFS psychiatrist, who clearly explains the distinctions between ME/CFS and psychiatric illnesses.
ME/CFS and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
American Academy of Environmental Medicine—A physician's organization—you can search for members who practice environmental medicine in your area.
Chemical Injury Information Network—Provides information and referral to members; publishes a monthly newsletter. Maintains a library on chemical injury.
Human Ecology Action League, Inc.—Information clearinghouse with chapters and support groups around the country.
Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured (MACI)—Information, referral and support for people with MCS. Also holds monthly meetings and publishes a newsletter.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Referrals and Resources—A wealth of information for patients and health care providers.
National Center for Environmental Health Strategies—Focuses on initiating change and empowering the public with hard data, such as medical, legal, and policy information. Provides information on gaining accommodations at work and school.
ME/CFS and Mitochondrial Disease
ME/CFS and Sjögren's Syndrome
- Last Updated: 30 October 2021 30 October 2021
Since we focus primarily on Massachusetts we don't have any personal knowledge of doctors in other states.
These links list doctors (or links to lists of doctors) who are knowledgeable about both FM and ME/CFS that you might find helpful in finding a doctor near you. Please see:
http://ilads.org/ilads_media/physician-referral/ This is a contact form where you can request names of "Lyme-aware" physicians. We highly recommend this organization for information about Lyme disease.
We wish you the best on your journey toward better health.
- Last Updated: 03 January 2016 03 January 2016
Jain AK et al, "Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Canadian Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols—A Consensus Document," l Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 11, No. 4 (2003): 3-107. Co-published simultaneously in The Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition for Practitioners, pp. 3-108, 2004. Editor: I.. J. Russell. ISBN: 0-7890-2574-4. © Haworth Press Inc. This is the 2003 Canadian FM Definition Consensus Document.
FM Guide for Pharmacists, by Janice Sumpton, RPh, BSc.Phm, c 2008. Written by a pharmacist, but basically an overview of diagnosis, management, and treatment of the illness which could be helpful to any health care professional, also based on the Canadian Consensus Document. This was written before the newer drugs for FM were approved. Most of the treatment emphasis is on non-pharmaceuticals. FM-CFS Canada home page
"Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners, An Overview of the Canadian Consensus Document," by Bruce Carruthers, M.D. and M. I. van de Sande, c 2005-2006 (30 pp.) This is an excellent overview for physicians with practical guidelines for diagnosis and treatment, based on the 2003 Canadian FM Definition Consensus Document.
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Notice about names
The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, including the CDC, are currently using ME/CFS.
Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association changed its name in July, 2018, to reflect this consensus.