Management – Stress & How to handle it


In this leaflet we discuss stress and the understandable effects it can have on people who are living with M.E. – a chronic disabling illness. We consider the symptoms, self-management options, and the drugs and therapies that might help.


“In very simple terms, people feel stressed when they can no longer cope with the sort of physical, mental or emotional pressures that occur in normal everyday life. In other words, these stressors no longer help to keep you motivated and ‘on your toes’.

“They actually make you feel ill. So too much stress, or a failure to cope with what are normal levels of stress, can easily lead to major health problems…”

“We all react differently to stress. Some people actually thrive on stress and have a very high threshold when it comes to stress. They seem to be able to cope with almost everything that life throws at them.

“Others prefer a much more relaxed and stress-free way of life. And one of the concerns with any form of chronic debilitating illness like M.E. is that problems with doctors, benefits, employment, finances and family not only create new stresses; having a long term illness like this also tends to lower the body’s threshold for dealing with stressful events…”

Topics discussed in this leaflet, include:

  • What is stress?
  • How does the body cope with stress?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of stress?
  • How does stress affect M.E.?
  • Self-Help Stress Busting
  • Stress Management
  • Drugs that might help
  • Psychological Therapies
  • Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Telephone Helpline

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

Please note this leaflet is a download. You can read it on-screen and save to your computer, phone or other device and can attach it to any email you might need to send. But you will need access to a printer if you wish it printed.


0344 576 5326

Available every day of the week between these times: 10am - 12noon, 2pm - 4pm and 7pm - 9pm.

Calls cost the same as other standard landline numbers (starting 01 or 02). If you have a call package for your landline or mobile phone then calls will normally come out of your inclusive minutes.