Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 12:37 GMT


Health

ME sufferers 'treated as mentally ill'

ME is the most common cause of long-term sickness in British children

Children with chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME, are being prescribed psychiatric treatment even though the benefits are not proved, a BBC investigation reveals.

An exclusive survey conducted by Panorama reveals the extent to which GPs are recommending - or even forcing - psychiatric treatment for child ME patients.

ME affects 25,000 UK children and is the most common cause of long-term sickness in youngsters.

There is no definitive research into its causes or the best treatments.


[ image: Georgie Sheldon: Put in locked psychiatric unit]
Georgie Sheldon: Put in locked psychiatric unit
One 12-year-old girl who developed ME after brain surgery tells the programme she was placed in a locked psychiatric unit.

Georgie Sheldon says she became very confused as a result.

"I was traumatised by this place. It was just so different and so horrible," she says.

"It was just mean in there, very mean."


Georgie Sheldon, ME sufferer, speaking to the BBC's Panorama
Asked if she did anything to show how unhappy she was, she says: "Sometimes I hurt myself because I thought it was the only way I could let my anger out."

ME sufferers often develop flu-like symptoms, muscle and joint pain, gastro-intestinal problems, migraine, short-term memory loss and lack of concentration.

They may be confined to the house and in some cases may be so ill they cannot walk across the bedroom.

Panorama is on BBC One at 2200GMT on Monday.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

26 May 99 | Health
Scientists challenged to investigate ME

12 May 99 | Health
MPs call for action on ME

18 Nov 98 | Health
ME children need help with education

30 Sep 98 | Health
NHS is 'failing' ME patients

22 Jun 98 | Health
Immune system blamed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome





Internet Links


ME Association


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99