chapter  Thirty Six
6 Pages

Chronic fatigue syndrome

WithQuentin Spender, Niki Salt, Judith Dawkins, Tony Kendrick, Peter Hill, David Hall, Jackie Carnell

Chronic fatigue syndrome is the preferred name for a condition of uncertain aetiology and debated status. Possible differential diagnoses may include occult inflammatory bowel disease, thyroid disorders, eating disorders, substance misuse and depression. Depression is interesting in relation to chronic fatigue syndrome, as it shares many of the same diagnostic features, which can sometimes make it extremely difficult to decide whether a young person has one or both conditions. The Royal Colleges jointly recommend management in primary care whenever possible. Professionals involved with education, such as the school nurse, the class teacher in primary school or the head of year in secondary school, may be needed to help to negotiate attendance details. Medication is of no proven benefit. Clinical experience suggests that antidepressants are usually ineffective. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is of proven benefit in adults, at least when provided by highly trained therapists in specialist centres.