Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is considered a physical condition and not a psychological disorder.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition, and International Classification of Diseases-10 use the idea of psychological causation as part of the criteria to distinguish mental disorders from physical disorders.
There is no concrete evidence that CFS is caused by psychological factors. Therefore, CFS cannot be defined as a mental illness.
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), commonly called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a chronic, complex, and debilitating illness that impacts various systems in the body, including the neurological system and immune system.
Although the specific cause of CFS is still unknown, many people begin to experience symptoms after experiencing viral or other types of infection, surgery, physical trauma, or hormonal changes.
Signs and symptoms of CFS are probably brought on by an unusual immunological response, which typically occurs in response to an infection. The brain and other systems of the body may be affected, causing many to be unable to engage in their normal activities. Some may even be bedridden as a result of the disorder.
What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?
Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is the primary symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). It is characterized by an increase in symptoms and a decrease in function following light exercise or mental stimulation. The term “rash” or “payback” is used to describe this occasionally.
People with CFS can suffer a wide range of symptoms because it is a chronic, multisystem illness that is extremely complex. Not all people will exhibit all symptoms, and not all of them are necessary for diagnosis. Typical signs include:
- Disrupted sleep
- Changes in blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal changes, such as nausea, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Feeling dizzy or pale
- Urinary problems
- Pain or aches in the muscles, joints, or head
- Marked weight change, extreme loss or gain
- Neurocognitive difficulties, such as problems with thinking or concentrating, memory loss, eyesight, clumsiness, or tingling in the muscles
- Sore throat, tender lymph nodes, and a flu-like feeling
- Palpitations, increased heart rate, or shortness of breath with exertion or on standing
- Inability to cope with temperature changes
- Allergies or sensitivities to light, smells, touch, sound, foods, chemicals, and medications
What is living with chronic fatigue like?
According to studies, people with chronic fatigue syndrome CFS have different physical reactions to movement or exercise compared to healthy individuals. This includes unnatural fatigue following any type of physical or mental activity that would not have been problematic before acquiring ME/CFS.
The level of effort that triggers PEM varies with the severity of the illness and can change over time. It can be difficult to determine how much activity is too much because the response may not appear for 24 or 48 hours. PEM can last a few days or have major relapses that last weeks, months, or even years depending on the type and amount of exercise or activity.
Simple tasks, such as taking a quick stroll, going for coffee with a friend, or commuting to work may become extremely difficult or impossible to complete. Sometimes, one activity may be fine, but adding another may be too much and lead to PEM.
What is the root cause of chronic fatigue syndrome?
There is no known cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing the disorder, which is later brought on by various factors:
- Physical or emotional trauma: Some claim that just before their symptoms started, they experienced an injury, surgery, or substantial emotional stress.
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormone levels in the blood may be abnormal in people with CFS. It is not yet clear what these anomalies mean.
- Viral infections: Researchers have considered whether certain viruses could cause CFS because some people experience it after a viral infection. The Epstein-Barr virus and human herpes virus 6 are two suspect viruses. However, no concrete link has yet been discovered.
- Immune system problems: People with CFS seem to have modestly compromised immune systems, but it is not understood if this is enough to cause the condition.
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Chronic fatigue syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-cfs-me
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a physical, not psychological malady, study shows. https://blog.providence.org/blog-2/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-is-a-physical-not-psychological-malady-study-shows-2
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ("Chronic Fatigue Syndrome"). https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/conditions/me-cfs/
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. https://radiopaedia.org/articles/myalgic-encephalomyelitischronic-fatigue-syndrome
Patient education: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (Beyond the Basics). https://www.uptodate.com/contents/myalgic-encephalomyelitis-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-beyond-the-basics
Physical or mental? A perspective on chronic fatigue syndrome. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/physical-or-mental-a-perspective-on-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/1FEDEF89BB64D81B53BC97D19014DC6C
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Fatigue and Exhaustion
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
guaranaGuarana seeds, dried and powdered, are used as a dietary supplement for weight loss, to enhance athletic performance, as a stimulant similar to coffee, and for many other purposes. Guarana is available over the counter (OTC) as a powder, tablet, or capsule. Common side effects of guarana include headache, agitation, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, delirium, dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), muscle spasms, convulsions, increased respiration, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), rapid heart rate (tachycardia), high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia), and others. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Do You Fight Fatigue From COVID-19?You can fight COVID-19 fatigue by getting plenty of rest, practicing good sleep hygiene, napping when needed, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet.
How Long Could Fatigue Last After COVID-19 Infection?Fatigue usually lasts for 2-3 weeks after COVID-19 infection, although some people may experience fatigue for 12 weeks or more after the infection is gone.
What Can Cause Fatigue?Fatigue is a constant, lingering feeling of exhaustion. Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination including lifestyle factors, shift work, emotional factors, medications and chronic fatigue syndrome.
yerba mateYerba mate tea is used for many purposes including weight loss, fatigue, headache, and improving memory, thinking skills and athletic performance, however, there are no scientific studies to back these uses. Do not take yerba mate if you have high blood pressure (hypertension). Do not take yerba mate if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and do not give it to children. Common side effects of yerba mate include excess stimulation, insomnia, upset stomach, hypertension, increase in heart rate, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increased risk for esophageal and other cancers with excessive use.