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Last updated January 1, 2014

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Other Invisible Illnesses: The Comprehensive Guide

Katrina Berne PhD

Book review by Melissa Kaplan, February 2002

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Other Invisible Illnesses: The Comprehensive Guide
Katrina Berne Ph.D.
Hunter House Publishing 2002. 376 pages. ISBN 0-89793-280-3.
Also available in hardcover. Suggested Retail: US$15.95 / CAN$26.50

I strongly recommend Katrina Berne's new book not only for patients looking for comprehensive information, but also for family members and friends, physicians, and mental health providers. Add to that list divorce and disability attorneys, every Social Security Administration application reviewer, and long term disability claims examiners, whose jobs are to adjudicate CFS and FMS disability claims. Berne not only presents a concise overview of the history and politicization of these disorders, she graphically presents how they alter lives in every respect.

Part One, which describes CFS and FMS, not only helps validate patients' experiences, but puts their widespread symptoms into a larger context. For patients, this can be liberating as they find that they are not alone in what they are experiencing. For family and others, they may begin to understand that this isn't just a family member or friend who is "acting out", but one of a vast group of patients going through the same things they are, a group that is already larger than the public has been led to believe, and one that is clearly growing year by year.

The chapters in Part Two address the widespread systemic and neuropsychological effects of the diseases, with pages of symptoms and abnormal test results that make those health and disability professionals who continue in claiming these are mental disorders looking like they are the crazy ones, not their patients.

Part Three goes into practical aspects of living with the disease. Berne's experience, as a PWC (person with CFS) and as a clinical psychologist, comes through in her coverage of both the medical (traditional and alternative) treatments and protocols that may help as well as addressing the more practical aspects of being ill with an often capricious disease that affects every part of the body and brain.

In her book, Berne writes, "Just as a senseless death is a tragedy, so is a senseless life." With this book, she helps bring some sense into this life.

Dr. Berne's book is available online at,, Barnes & Noble, Buying her book through one of these links helps support this website.




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