Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Depression
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue syndrome is an illness that makes a person feels as though they are constantly tired and run down. There has been over two decades of research to find the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome and nothing has still been revealed. Chronic fatigue syndrome does not have a cure.
What are some of the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome?
Many of the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Having had it for a period of at least 6 months or longer
- Short term memory and/or concentration
- Swollen lymph nodes neck or throat
- Feeling as though you can never get enough rest
- Increased fatigue after physical exertion
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain without any redness or swelling
- Mild weight loss
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia)
- Low-grade fever
- Confusion, difficulty thinking
Because many of these symptoms are the same symptoms as so many other illnesses, chronic fatigue syndrome is extremely hard to diagnose and can take years to do so.
Why is depression often linked to chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue syndrome is believed to often times lead to depression, but depression is not the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome is often dismissed by many doctors as either a psychosomatic illness or a manifestation of clinical depression. This occurrence is reinforced by reports that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are more and more often overly emotional. With that said, research has found that two thirds of chronic fatigue syndrome patients have signs of major depression illness. Greater than half of chronic fatigue patients have experienced at least one episode of major depression. Lastly, some patients of chronic fatigue syndrome have feelings of guilt, decreased motivation classically seen in patients with depression.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers with depression treated?
Doctors can treat problems often linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, such as depression, with certain medication therapy, learning to change your behavior to reduce symptoms of a certain condition, or even a combination of the two. If you are depressed, medications such as tricyclic antidepressants and selective seretonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help. Some others that may be considered are Sedatives to help with anxiety and analgesics to ease and control the pain. Antidepressants may also help improve sleep and relieve pain. Furthermore, there are also some natural ways of coping with chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, these include:
- Exercise (limit as this can also make it worse)
- Support groups that specialize in chronic fatigue syndrome
- Your diet
- Vitamins and supplements
- Avoid alcohol intake
- Don't smoke
- Find a hobby or something that you enjoy doing
Finding the right medications and ways to cope with depression in those who are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome can often times decrease if not eliminate depression.
Photo Credit: K. Sawyer Photography