The Sensitivity Gene

(and its link to ME, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromylgia)

It has been discovered that a newly identified gene predisposes 15-20% of the population to fatigue related conditions due to a heightened reaction to stress.
Elaine Wilkins from The Chrysalis Effect, a pioneering organisation helping people recover from ME, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, believes that if practitioners recognise the existence of this gene, they will know how to intercept and prevent clients from tipping over into one of these long term chronic and debilitating conditions.

People with this sensitivity gene are 6 times more likely to develop Chronic Fatigue

The gene is responsible for regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin which directly influences our resilience to emotional trauma and distressing events and perhaps explains why some of us are more traumatised and less able to bounce back from negative events than the majority of people are.

In those with the sensitivity gene, a hair trigger response to stressors can develop and our body feels it is under constant treat. These stressors can be physical, emotional and environmental. Eventually the calming response to ‘fight or flight’ becomes desensitized and stops functioning properly.

People with the sensitivity gene are, as the name suggests, highly sensitive and will often employ behaviours to hide or suppress this trait, having been teased, bullied or hurt in the past. They can develop a tendency towards perfectionism and can be very driven and will often override the early signals they may be receiving from the body, such as overwhelming tiredness, migraines, insomnia and anxiety. They may start to self medicate with painkillers, alcohol, sugary foods and coffee to help them push on through their symptoms.

Eventually their adrenal glands may become exhausted and a tipping point will be reached. A virus may manifest, as adrenal exhaustion can result in lowered immunity. The virus is often mistaken for the cause of a chronic condition when in fact it is the final straw.

It is important that those who develop Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue, ME or Fibromyalgia to understand that although it is vital to address these conditions on a physical level, it is also crucial to develop an understanding of their sensitivity and the emotional reasons behind their ‘crash’. These may range from long buried loss and grief to bullying and being on the wrong career path.

The Chrysalis Effect are getting remarkable results in their holistic treatment of these fatigue related conditions. One of their tools is to use a Symptoms Impact Questionnaire to chart progress. The guidelines for use within the NHS set a marker of 14% as showing statistically significant improvement, whereas The Chrysalis Effect typically average 38% after 3 months and 78% or more after 6 months!

Most people instinctively know if they are highly sensitive and therefore likely to have the sensitivity gene and, if this is the case and assuming you’re currently well, what can you do to prevent a tipping point? Some of the best strategies include a good diet, stress relieving activities such as yoga, mindfulness or reiki, getting enough sleep, recognising your emotions, listening to your body if it’s telling you to slow down and accepting your natural sensitivity (which can be a good thing!)

If you would like further guidance on what you can do or if you feel you are close to that tipping point, then get in touch with me ( or The Chrysalis Effect who will appoint appropriate therapists best suited to helping you recover: