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CBT is often used to assist those who suffer from mental disorders, behavior disorders, and those on the Autistic Spectrum. However, the underlying basis of CBT involves changing thinking to overcome medical issues.

A complicated disorder, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is where the person has severe fatigue all the time, and it isn’t related to any other medical problem. No matter how much rest the person gets, the fatigue is still present, unlike those without the syndrome. There is no definitive cause for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but theories have included stress and viral infections.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can affect anyone, but if you are female you are 3 times more likely to develop the syndrome than men. It is estimated that in the UK approximately 1 in 300 persons will have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It can also affect children, usually between the ages of 13-15, and in adults, the symptoms usually appear between the early 20s to the mid-40s.

Symptoms

As well as the chronic fatigue, there are 8 other main symptoms that are recognized as part of the syndrome. These include:

  • Lack of concentration or loss of memory
  • Sore throats
  • Muscle pain that can’t be explained
  • Lymph node enlargement in the armpit or neck
  • Pain in joints
  • Headaches
  • Sleep that doesn’t result in feeling refreshed
  • Exhaustion that lasts longer than 24 hours following mental or physical exercise

There are 3 levels of severity that are identified in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Most cases are mild to moderate, but some people do fall into the severe category. With mild forms of the syndrome, you can generally attend to daily tasks and take care of yourself, but it may be a little more difficult. Often sufferers can attend a job, but they are likely to need time off regularly.

With moderate cases, mobility can be restricted and daily tasks are much more difficult to manage. Those who fall into the moderate category generally are unable to work, and will need regular rest during the day, yet will often sleep poorly at night.

For a case to be considered severe, the person is unable to do the majority of daily tasks. Mobility could be so restricted that a wheelchair may be necessary, and many people on this level become housebound, unable to leave their homes. Sensitivity to light and noise may occur, and many people will spend the majority of their time in their beds.

As there is no formal test for diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, doctors will normally rule out any other possible medical causes for the fatigue in the first instance. If the symptoms have lasted for more than 4 months, and the other diagnostic criteria has been met, a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be made.
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