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There is a growing support from research articles that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not a psychological illness but a combination of immunological, neurological and hormonal abnormalities. The disorder can last for years or a lifetime. Brain scans indicate that sufferers have altered blood flow to areas of the brain and patients have trouble thinking and processing information and are only able to focus on one mental task at a time. An overactive immune system is believed to be the root of the disorder by many. CFS is often suspected when unexplained fatigue lasts longer than 6 months. Other symptoms may include sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, poor sleep, lethargy after exercise and memory and concentration problems. Diagnosis is difficult as symptoms can mimic those of conditions such as depression, Gulf War Syndrome and fibromyalgia. Sufferers are frequently misdiagnosed with depression. However, depression drugs have no effect on CFS. Triggers for the condition are believed to include acute infections, head injury and major life stress but can also occur for no obvious reason. Most of the estimated 800,000 to 2.5 million patients in America are females. There is no effective treatment yet but low doses of depression drugs such as Elavil can improve sleep quality. Cognitive behavior therapy to reduce negative thoughts and behavior is also a benefit to some.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Detroit News
About: Research indicates that chronic fatigue syndrome is not a psychiatric disorder
Date: 4 October 2005
Source: The Detroit News
Author: Judy Foreman
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