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Is 'Fatigue' Adequate?

Fatigue - Does It Really Describe This Illness Well Enough?

The term fatigue features in three of the five most commonly used names for this illness:

- Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

But does it really describe this illness well enough? Read more below...


Many sufferers do not think that the term ‘fatigue’ represents the illness adequately:

Firstly, when you have this illness, your 'fatigue ' is a shattering exhaustion and weakness that is so profound that the word fatigue does not come even close to describing its severity...


"the disabling weakness and exhaustion a patient with ME / ICD-CFS experiences is so profound that “fatigue ” is probably an insult."

-- Cuozzo, 'Chronic Fatigue' [ref 20] --


"One thing that we all seem to agree on is that the word "fatigue " needs to be removed from the name of the illness we call "chronic fatigue syndrome." Just tell somebody that you have chronic fatigue syndrome, and the first retort is, "Oh I have that too, I'm just so tired."

The term 'chronic fatigue', while descriptive of the most common symptom of this illness is so vague and banal that it seems derisive and derogatory. The fatigue of this illness is so much more than 'just tiredness '.

In fact there is no word in the English lexicon that describes the lack of stamina, the paucity of energy, the absolute malaise and turpitude that accompanies this illness."

-- Dr. Charles Lapp, board member of the American Association of Chronic Fatigue syndrome (AACFS) and member of a federal HHS CFS advisory committee, [ref 21] --


Second, although profound fatigue and exhaustion (for lack of a better phrase) is one of the more prominent symptoms of the illness, it most certainly isn’t the only symptom. In fact, it’s only the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Click here for more about ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms …


Third, the use of the word ‘fatigue’ could well be contributing to the mistaken belief that PVFS/ ME/CFS is ‘all in the mind’. This is because fatigue is often associated with psychological illnesses such as ‘fatigue syndrome’, a mental and behavioral disorder…

…which coincidentally is very different to ME / Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You can read more about the difference between Chronic Fatigue and CFS/ME /PVFS here…

When writing about the use of the word Fatigue in the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Jill McLaughlin writes:

"This has led to the trivialization of the illness as little more than a manageable, unexplained fatigue state (rather than the prominent more specific—and debilitating—neurological features of ME, and the misperception that it may be treatable by little more than counseling, OTC medications, antidepressants and lifestyle changes."

-- Jill McLaughlin, Information on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) --

Read more on the psychological / biological debate over ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome here…

And find out why ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is NOT all in your head here…



Category: Fatigue

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