Monday, December 19, 2011

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs. Depression: One Doctor's View

Note: Confusion ensues sometimes when people confuse depression, which
is a psychiatric disorder, with a symptom of a disease. Disorders can
be concurrent with any disease, but they are not a symptom. A symptom
is any morbid phenomenon or departure from the normal in structure,
function, or sensation, experienced by the patient and indicative of
disease. Depression for example, can be experienced separately from

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs. Depression: One Doctor's View
By Adrienne Dellwo, Guide   December 17, 2011

For decades,  people with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) have
battled the misconception that they were "just depressed." Many
doctors and a large chunk of the general public believe that myth - in
spite of a wealth of research showing numerous physiological
abnormalities across multiple systems.

In a recent comment here, a doctor (obviously one of the good ones!)
left a comment that really rung true with me and I think is the best
description I've ever seen of the difference in mentality between
depression and ME/CFS:

"In my years of practice I have seen hundreds of pain sufferers with
depressed mood, but only a couple of patients with true clinical
depression. One of the features of true depression is anergy or the
lack of desire to do anything (it is very difficult to put this in
words). Another feature of clinical depression is "social apathy" or
having no desire to participate in social activities. These features
are exceedingly rare in people suffering from all types of chronic
pain and/or ME. Indeed, ME sufferers uniformly have an unabashed
yearning to be able to DO things, to participate in life!" - Doc

I really think the doctor summed it up perfectly. In the 4 years I've
been hearing personal stories about ME/CFS, I've come across a lot of
people who say they miss the things they used to do, that it hurts
them to stay home when everyone else is off having fun, or perhaps
that they've given up trying to participate because they pay so dearly
afterward. However, I just don't hear people say that they don't want
to do things anymore.

Certainly, some people with ME/CFS become depressed. That's true of
every single chronic, debilitating illness out there. When illness
hits you out of the blue, derails your life, takes away myriad things
that you love and that provide you with a sense of worth, and leaves
you miserable and disabled ... um, yeah. It's depressing! Depression
is a major issue in cancer and no one blames the tumors on depression.
Likewise, it's being falsely implicated in ME/CFS. The same logic
applies to fibromyalgia.

I've seen the difference first hand...

Read the entire article here:


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Fatigue care said...


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CFS Facts said...

If you need to know more about fatigue, then read the ENTIRE blog. There are hundreds of articles about the biologic causes of fatigue/post-exertion relapse, the biochemical abnormalities seen in patients, pacing, testing that should be abnormal, etc.