A discourse analytic study of ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) sufferers' experiences of interactions with doctors
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The aetiology, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of ME/CFS are controversial. Doctors and sufferers often have opposing perspectives, leading to problematic clinical interactions. We use discourse analysis to explore ME/CFS sufferers’ descriptions of interactions with medical professionals taken from an asynchronous, online sufferers’ support group. Participants described themselves as experiencing limited medical care and attention but restricted criticisms to ‘legitimate’, pragmatic or ancillary matters such as a clinicians’ unwillingness to prescribe untested treatments. Participants also described themselves as active in seeking a resolution to their problems. They thus attended to possible negative attributions of being ‘complaining’ or unmotivated to seek recovery.