Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in War Veterans

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as CFS, is essentially an intense and persistent state of physical exhaustion that is not alleviated with rest.

 

Medical science has not yet determined a cause for CFS, and there is no definitive way of diagnosing the disorder. In many cases, your treating physician will diagnose you with CFS by first ruling out other health conditions that have similar symptoms.

 

Many veterans who served in the first Gulf War, in areas such as Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have developed CFS, though there is no clear reason why.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of CFS?

The main symptom of CFS is fatigue so extreme that many affected veterans describe it as painful. Frequently, veterans dealing with the disorder will find it extremely difficult to engage in daily activities.

 

Additionally, someone suffering from CFS may experience:

  • Muscle pain
  • Low-grade fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems

 

Besides extreme fatigue, symptoms of CFS can vary significantly from person to person.

 

How is CFS treated?

Both the cause and the cure for CFS are unknown. If your doctor gives you a CFS diagnosis, treatment will focus on alleviating the symptoms of the disorder. Usually, veterans will develop a personalized treatment program with a VA healthcare consultant. Programs can involve a full range of both traditional and alternative medicine techniques, such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Counseling
  • Acupuncture
  • Support groups
  • Relaxation and pain management techniques
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi

 

These options and others are available to veterans at many VA medical centers.

 

What benefits does the VA offer for CFS and how do you qualify?

Working with a Houston VA attorney can help veterans coping with CFS better understand the full extent of benefits they may be eligible from the VA.

 

VA disability benefits for CFS, including compensation and healthcare benefits, are available to veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. To qualify, CFS symptoms need to have emerged at any point from active duty to by December 31st, 2016.

 

Because the disorder is so difficult to diagnose and triggers have not yet been identified, Gulf War veterans who have been diagnosed do not need to establish a service-connection for CFS—however, it must be demonstrated with medical evidence that the disorder is at least 10% disabling.

 

To learn more about benefits available for Gulf War CFS, speak with one of the knowledgeable Houston VA benefits attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod today. Contact us by calling toll free 800-800-6353.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law