Yes, but, this guy took it upon himself to say, in Psychology Today where it has not been a popular position, that it is a physical illness and we are not crazy.
For him this may have been a bold move, a brave blog in our defense. Then he gets raked over the coals.
Hmm...I've re-read his article and I fear you may be right Koan, he does say some good things in the article, given the context you provide. I must admit that my own reaction was probably mainly to the word "psychology", and to the fact that CFS just doesn't belong there.
I think there are a few justifications for having a go:
1. He didn't say it is a physical illness, he said it is a "legitimate medical condition". If he wanted to say it is physical, he could have said so in more unambiguous terms. I think Wessely would be happy to say it is a "legitimate medical condition", that's why I attached no importance to that phrase.
2. He wants timely "therapy". In this context, what does "therapy" mean to his readers?
3. No mention whatsoever of XMRV, nor any citing of known biomarkers for CFS to back up the assertion that it is "real". That would be the case to make if you believe CFS is physical, surely?
4. Are you happy with the following recommendations he makes for treatments? He says some very good things actually, but the treatments he mentions (as CDC recommendations but he doesn't doubt them or suggest alternatives) include "aggressive attempts at maximizing sleep hygiene, through avoiding daytime naps, caffeine and large meals before bedtime. Exercise in moderation is helpful...Anti-inflammatory medications are helpful in taking the edge off the pain....". Has anybody here found these measures helpful?
I have to be fair: this is great: "psychological counseling can help with coping mechanisms", because he's perhaps saying something quite radical in the role he's giving psychological counselling here. And this is great too: "Always, working with the patient allows for wellness, improves the patient mood, and it is something we as doctors should know by now makes for better patient outlooks, and outcomes".
So overall, it seems to be true that we have attacked a good, well-meaning guy who, relative to the fields he works in, is probably one of those who's been on our side. The problem is, though, that he is still recommending harmful treatments, and at the end of the day, CFS doesn't belong in this magazine nor in the psychological field. The only articles we want to see in Psychology circles on CFS are ones explaining why and how they got it wrong, and explaining that it really is, after all, a physical illness. If he didn't express that message unambiguously to us, then I doubt whether he persuaded any of his readers that CFS is physical not psychological.
Still, I'm going to take this as a lesson and be a bit more cautious in future. Keep those google alerts coming though Kati, it's a very powerful tool we have in our hands here and it may be one of the most valuable jobs we can all do.