How stress exacerbates ME?

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If a patients ME is exacerbated or triggered by psychological stress then does that suggest that there is an immunological challenge or burden at the basis of their pathology?

Eg active viral infection, bacterial infection, fungal infection.

Stress suppresses the immune system which would mean the body then has less defence against an infection which could replicate more and spread further therefore altering the balance of things in the body unless the infection was dealt with, I think.

Psychological stress can also permanently fatigue our adrenals (at least until they are treated and recovered) although I’m not sure how exactly but adrenals are part of our energy metabolism systems and if they low functioning then we are likely to feel more fatigued, I think.

I’m not sure what the difference is biologically between a crash and a permanent (unless treated) exacerbation of condition. Lactic acid builds up in muscles and takes time (days) to clear, I think. So I can see how psychological stress can also cause a temporary crash/PEM because it can use a lot of energy. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of the things I’ve just stated are wrong or misunderstood and there’s probably more to it then that this.
 

hapl808

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I wouldn’t be surprised if half of the things I’ve just stated are wrong or misunderstood and there’s probably more to it then that this.
My own feeling is that could be wrong or could be right. No one truly understands how the body is working in this illness, otherwise we'd have more consistent and predictable treatments and prognoses.
 
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Psychological stress can also permanently fatigue our adrenals
we are examples of every day, you discover Your Still Sick. On a constant basis. For a few moments when I wake up, ME is not on the agenda. Then it raises its nasty head, the little reminder.

What kind of constant stressor is this constant reminder and circular spiral of on and off symptoms (with out enough off)

Stress suppresses the immune system
I had an official high stress event transpire, after decades of mild ME during which I faked a career and graduated from an Imposter program. And literally the six months later thing struck.

Its so STRANGE this six months later, I may never be the same.

The stress part is huge. Even if your not "consciously" stressed.
 
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If a patients ME is exacerbated or triggered by psychological stress then does that suggest that there is an immunological challenge or burden at the basis of their pathology?

Eg active viral infection, bacterial infection, fungal infection.

Stress suppresses the immune system which would mean the body then has less defence against an infection which could replicate more and spread further therefore altering the balance of things in the body unless the infection was dealt with, I think.
I was subjected to over 12 months of workplace (psychological) abuse by 2 of my seniors, which was questionably dismissed, so the likelihood of it happening again is there. This abuse also included illegal actions that violate Australian Commonwealth law, but in this workplace, if you can lie your way out of it then it (somehow) becomes less-illegal.

Roughly around that time I contracted an Aspergillus fungus infection (internally), which I have understood is something a functional immune system can easily repel.

The stress I experienced had me sleep away most of 2019 and I think there may be a link between the high stress levels and ME exacerbation, which most-likely opened me up to this infection that lasted a few years (and almost left me bed-bound) before a new doctor diagnosed and treated it.


Psychological stress can also permanently fatigue our adrenals ...
I'm cautious about talking about what happened as:
a) I have effectively been silenced by my workplace.
b) doctors will default this to a mental health issue and treat that instead of the ME.

In short, I have yet to make a full recovery, and this is not a psychological issue.

Needless to say I need to find a way to move on from this toxic 'cancel culture' that my workplace is, but it's hard to consider any move when your body is so triggered to crash at any challenge it may face, however minor or major it may be.
 
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Stress is the key to this disease, in my opinion.

Worries about money, relationships, career, our expectations, what other expect from us - all that consciously or subconsciously eventually lead to some major crash in dopamine-serotonine system which results in all kind of various combinations of symptoms.

We are just unlucky cohort of those who could not deal with the realities of life in any other way but ME/CFS.

In simple words, we are just way too sensitive and fragile than "normal" people. Also, at some point the sickness itself becomes the triggering stress-factor itself. And that is why it is very hard for us to break this vicious circle - once sick, we have to struggle both with the outer world stress and the illness-caused stress.
 
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And no, I do not think that ME is "in our heads". It is in our bodies which do not tolerate stress in a proper way for some reason - probably pure genetics, but most probably combination of environmental and genetic factors.
 
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evolutionary biology is fascinating...

we never lived like this...we lived in small groups and you'd rarely run into another small group. Then of course exceptions arose...more cities and urban type living...

we spread pathogens everywhere in great diversity and abundance. and now its how to we possible sustain the assault?
 

Wishful

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If a patients ME is exacerbated or triggered by psychological stress then does that suggest that there is an immunological challenge or burden at the basis of their pathology?
I think that isn't necessarily true. I think that an immune activation event triggers ME, and further immune activation during ME can exacerbate the symptoms, but that ME is an alteration to a feedback loop that shifts it to a positive feedback value: meaning that the end result of the loop feeds back to reinforce that state. Once triggered, the body remains in that ME state. Some things can temporarily shift the feedback into negative, or at least low enough that other inputs can push it out of the ME state, but it then usually shifts back. There may even be feedback loops that reinforce that altered ME bias.

Some people may have a low enough feedback value that eliminating some stressors (infections, etc) might be able to switch them out of the ME state; maybe temporarily, maybe longer. I don't believe that ME is itself an inflammatory state.
 

Wishful

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Worries about money, relationships, career, our expectations, what other expect from us - all that consciously or subconsciously eventually lead to some major crash in dopamine-serotonine system which results in all kind of various combinations of symptoms.
I was living a very low-stress lifestyle before I developed ME. I still live pretty low-stress (live in a cabin in the woods next to a nice creek, and my only visitors are furry or feathered (or slimy)). Stressful periods (moving) didn't worsen my ME. I seem to recall a discussion about this earlier, and a number of people also said that they weren't in a stressful state before developing ME.

And no, I do not think that ME is in heads.
I'm convinced that the core mechanism of my ME is in my head. I'm also fairly convinced that glial cells are involved. The rest of my body (gut microbiome, etc) may play a role in the severity of my symptoms, but isn't the cause of them.
 
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I'm convinced that the core mechanism of my ME is in my head. I'm also fairly convinced that glial cells are involved. The rest of my body (gut microbiome, etc) may play a role in the severity of my symptoms, but isn't the cause of them.
I added quotes to "in our heads". I mean, I do not think it is psychosomatic (well not 100%, at least).

I too think that the root of ME is physically located somewhere in our heads. More specifically, the physiology of how our bodies react to any kind of stress, no matter if it is physical or emotional. Our bodies translate the stress into a noticeable physiological reaction - digestion issues, neck spasm, brain fog etc.

Paradoxically, I think that at the same time we are (well, technically we were) very enduring - until ME comes we tend to be very active, highly functioning, ignoring all the small signals of stress that come to our bodies every day and pushing our nervous system over that limit where it cannot handle properly even a slightest stress anymore.

For some reason, when ME happens the body thinks that this is the new normal state and it must maintain it no matter what. This is why all of the treatments work just for a small period of time - very quickly our body adapts to the treatment and gets back to the state before - homeostasis they call it.
 
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I too think that the root of ME is physically located somewhere in our heads.
And because of this exact reason, I am not expecting a definitive physiological diagnostic criteria for ME in the near future.

When thinking about the cause of ME, I often compare it to schizophrenia - there is something wrong with our dopamine system, but instead of mental issues this wrongness does translate into physical ones.

ME often starts after an acute experience of a flu, big stress or something like that - something that overflows our homeostasis and its baselines so much that it cannot revert itself back to where it was before.
 
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Stress is the key to this disease, in my opinion.

Worries about money, relationships, career, our expectations, what other expect from us - all that consciously or subconsciously eventually lead to some major crash in dopamine-serotonine system which results in all kind of various combinations of symptoms.

We are just unlucky cohort of those who could not deal with the realities of life in any other way but ME/CFS.

In simple words, we are just way too sensitive and fragile than "normal" people. Also, at some point the sickness itself becomes the triggering stress-factor itself. And that is why it is very hard for us to break this vicious circle - once sick, we have to struggle both with the outer world stress and the illness-caused stress.
How can the dopamine and seretonin system be fixed? Lots of people with diagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD & Austism get ME. It could be a stressful way to live life not knowing that you are neurodivergent. Neurotransmitters also have an immunological function according to Steven Kotler.