CHRONIC FATIGUE Syndrome: What it is, Symptoms, Grades and Treatment

  • Jul 26, 2021
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Chronic fatigue syndrome: what is it, symptoms, grades and treatment

Fatigue is a very common concept among people, surely you have experienced that feeling of fatigue or tiredness and lack of energy at some point in your life, but what about fatigue chronicle? Find out in this Psychology-Online article: Chronic fatigue syndrome: what is it, symptoms, grades and treatment.

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  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome: what is it
  2. Chronic fatigue syndrome: symptoms
  3. Chronic fatigue syndrome: grades
  4. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  5. Who Diagnoses Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
  6. Chronic fatigue syndrome: treatment

Chronic fatigue syndrome: what is it.

What is chronic fatigue syndrome? The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also called myaligic encephalomyelitis, is a disease characterized by the persistence of, with small efforts, a degree of fatigue so high that it becomes disabling for the person who suffers it. In addition, it is chronic fatigue when this high degree of fatigue is accompanied by a series of physical and psychological symptoms that will be discussed later.

We usually wonder how chronic fatigue syndrome differs from the feeling of fatigue, tiredness and lack of energy that we can feel at certain vital moments. Well, we refer to chronic fatigue syndrome when it is not a specific vital moment, but is a constant in the day to day, occupying most of the time. Therefore, chronic fatigue refers to a type of pathological fatigue, since it causes a high discomfort and suffering in the person, thus decreasing the quality of life of the individual.

Thus, it is a long-lasting syndrome that can affect different areas of life and body systems, reaching make it difficult to carry out daily activities usual.


The prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome is between 1% and 1 per thousand. Therefore, it is estimated that in Spain between 15,000 and 90,000 people suffer from this syndrome, although many are not diagnosed. [1]

Anyone can suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, but it is usually more common in women between 40 and 60 years. However, not meeting these characteristics does not exclude people from suffering from this syndrome.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: symptoms.

The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome they are symptoms of physical and mental exhaustion, cognitive symptoms, and neurological symptoms. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome fluctuate, that is, they are not constant, they can change as you time passes, they appear and disappear depending on the day or the vital moment in which the person. These changes are not always positive, sometimes they are changes that imply the improvement of the syndrome and at other times they can worsen them. Some of the symptoms are as follows:

  • Severe fatigue lasting more than six months.
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Acute fatigue that does not improve at times of rest and relaxation.
  • Sleep disorders: difficulty sleeping (falling or staying asleep).
  • General body pain.
  • Another symptom of chronic fatigue is the presence of dizziness.
  • Concentration difficulties.
  • Loss of immediate memory.
  • Difficulty thinking clearly.
  • Intolerance to physical activity.
  • Malaise or a feeling of fatigue after exertion.
  • Worsening of symptoms after physical or mental activities.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: degrees.

Fatigue can be classified by different degrees depending on its duration:

  • Acute fatigue: this degree of fatigue refers to a duration of less than one week.
  • Transient fatigue: fatigue is considered transitory when its degree of duration is less than a month but greater than a week.
  • Prolonged fatigue: When fatigue lasts for more than a month, it is prolonged fatigue.
  • Chronic fatigue: finally, we speak of chronic fatigue, when its duration is greater than six months.

However, chronic fatigue syndrome can also be categorized according to the degree of involvement, Well, not all people who suffer from it have the same affects them in the same way and in the same way. intensity:

  • Mild: the activity that the person would carry out in a healthy state is reduced by half.
  • Moderate: the moderate degree refers to the limitation of the day-to-day life of the people within their home, with a significant reduction in its activity, specifically a reduction of one third of its activity in a state of healthy.
  • Serious: this is the highest degree of chronic fatigue syndrome. This is such a great limitation that the patient is reduced to remaining in bed predominantly. You can not do a minimum of activity that involves little effort.
Chronic fatigue syndrome: what it is, symptoms, degrees and treatment - Chronic fatigue syndrome: degrees

Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

Since we already know about chronic fatigue syndrome, we now focus on explaining fibromyalgia in an introductory way. Well, fibromyalgia is a pathology characterized by a extreme pain-focused sensitivity. It is a generalized pain, due to an altered sensitivity by the system that regulates the sensation of pain. In this way, it is understood that, as a metaphor, a hug for a healthy person is a sincere gesture of love, on the other hand, for a person suffering from fibromyalgia is torture, as if all the bones of the body were broken in the same instant.

Although they are two different pathologies, both have a great impact on society, since 40% of the population suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome suffer at the same time fibromyalgia. In addition, both pathologies share a series of characteristics to be highlighted: they are more recurrent in women than in men, share some symptoms (body pain, tiredness, sleep problems, fatigue, anxiety ...) and doctors recommend resort to multidisciplinary treatment in both diseases in order to provide comprehensive care to the patient. In the following article you will find more information: Fibromyalgia: what is it, causes and symptoms.

Who Diagnoses Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome It can be complicated, since it shares symptoms with other pathologies, such as fibromyalgia, but also other medical complications such as: deterioration of the heart and lungs, sleep disorders and other diseases that cause tiredness. Furthermore, there are no standardized tests that evaluate this syndrome.

Thus, the specialists who are in charge of diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome are all those specialized in internal medicineAlthough it is estimated that any general practitioner or specialist who is familiar with the disease can diagnose it.

In order to make a proper diagnosis, a diagnosis must be made by exclusion, that is, excluding other pathologies with related symptoms. For this, it is essential take a medical history or anamnesis, where the specialist must record a series of questions related to: form and time of onset of fatigue, rest, physical activity, degree to which the activities are limited, characteristic symptoms of the syndrome, triggers (other diseases that may develop due to fatigue), among others. Within the anamnesis it is also essential to know the personal and family history of the patient, in order to know the in / existence of a previous history of mental disorders (anxiety, depression ...). Since, for example, stress and anxiety they can also cause excessive tiredness and muscle aches.

Leaving aside the anamnesis or medical history, it is also useful, for the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, to perform a general physical examination in order to be able to rule out other pathologies, taking into account the differential diagnosis.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: treatment.

There is no specific treatment that ensures a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, but it is important to treat its symptoms. Despite everything, internal medicine professionals recommend offering a comprehensive treatment to the patient, in a multidisciplinary way, taking into account the psychological treatment and drug treatment.

  • Pharmacotherapy: The efficacy of a group of drugs focused on alleviating the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome is known. Furthermore, pharmacological administration can be individual (only one drug) or, by means of a combination of drugs. The specialist professional decides which drugs are suitable for each patient based on each specific situation.
  • Psychological treatment: on the other hand, psychological support or treatment is also of utmost importance. Well, with the help of the psychology professional, the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome that the patient presents should be treated, for what is essential to find out what symptoms the person shows and which ones are the most negatively affected cause. The order in which each of the symptoms presented should be treated is based on their affectation, Thus, the symptom that has the most negative connotations on the patient will be the first to be treaty.
  • Finally, it should be noted that performing small physical activities controlled, in a moderate and gradual way, can be beneficial for improving the health status of patients. So the best way to get started is to go for a walk.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Chronic fatigue syndrome: what is it, symptoms, grades and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Clinical psychology.


  1. Solà, J. F. (2002). Chronic fatigue syndrome. Med Integral., 40, 56-63.


  • Barbado, F.J., Gómez, J., López, M., and Vázquez, J.J. (2006). Chronic fatigue syndrome and its diagnosis in internal medicine. Annals of Internal Medicine, 23 (5).
  • MedlinePlus. (2019). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • Sandín, B. (2005). Chronic fatigue syndrome: psychological characteristics and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychology, 10 (1), 85-94.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: what is it, symptoms, grades and treatment

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