Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Abstract

Chronic fatigue syndrome represents an operationally defined condition with substantial, disabling and prolonged fatigue as its main symptom. It has a prevalence of about 1% and makes a substantial public health impact.

Keywords: CFS; myalgic encephalomyelitis; ME; postviral fatigue syndrome; chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS)

Figure 1.

Components of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and serotonergic input; sites of negative feedback are shown with the − sign. CRH, corticotrophin‐releasing hormone; ACTH, adrenocorticotrophic hormone; AVP, arginine vasopressin; MR, mineralocorticoid receptors; GR, glucocorticoid receptors; 5‐HT, 5‐hydroxytryptamine (serotonin); 5‐HIAA, 5‐hydroxyindoleacetic acid. Letters relate to the sites of proposed abnormalities in chronic fatigue syndrome, listed in Table .

Figure 2.

Predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating factors in the generation of acute, subacute and chronic fatigue. The model separates those considered to be risk factors or triggers, and those that may be responsible for fatigue perpetuation in chronic fatigue syndrome. Factors interact substantially and may be more important in some patients than in others (e.g. chronic fatigue after viral infections is more likely with previous psychological disorder and prolonged convalescence). EBV, Epstein–Barr virus; 5‐HT, 5‐hydroxytryptamine (serotonin).

Figure 3.

Time course of improvement in chronic fatigue syndrome during and after 13 sessions of either cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or relaxation therapy as a control intervention. (a) Disability, measured using the physical function subscale of the medical outcomes survey short form 36 (SF‐36) (0 = maximum disability; 100 = no disability). (b) Fatigue, scored on a 13‐item scale (13 = maximum fatigue; 0 = no fatigue). Pre, pretreatment; mid, midtreatment; post, posttreatment. Adapted from Deale A .

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References

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Further Reading

Demitrack M (1997) Neuroendocrine correlates of chronic fatigue syndrome: a brief review. Journal of Psycholosomatic Research 31: 69–82.

Fox R (1998) A Research Portfolio on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. London: Royal Society of Medicine Press.

Komaroff A and Fagioli L (1996) Medical assessment of fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. In: Demitrack M and Abbey S (eds) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: An Integrative Approach to Evaluation and Treatment, pp. 154–184. New York: Guildford Press.

Lloyd AR, Wakefield D and Hickie I (1993) Immunity and the pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome. In: Kleinman A and Straus S (eds) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, pp. 176–187. Chichester, UK: John Wiley.

Moss‐Morris R, Petrie K, Large R and Kydd R (1996) Neuropsychological deficits in chronic fatigue syndrome: artefact or reality? Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 60: 474–477.

Royal College of Physicians (1996) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Report of a Committee of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Psychiatrists and General Practitioners. London: RCP.

Wessely S (1995) The epidemiology of chronic fatigue syndrome. Epidemiologic Reviews 17: 139–151.

Wessely S, Hotopf M and Sharpe M (1998) Chronic Fatigue and its Syndromes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

White P (1997) The relationship between infection and fatigue. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 43: 346–350

Wright J and Beverley D (1998) Chronic fatigue syndrome. Archives of Disease in Childhood 79: 368–374.

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How to Cite close
Cleare, Anthony James, and Wessely, Simon(Apr 2001) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002207]