How to Recognize Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating condition that involves ongoing fatigue and tiredness. In CFS, fatigue symptoms may not improve with bed rest, and may worsen with physical or mental activity. Persons with CFS may be unable to perform activities they have grown accustomed to.

Because many diseases and conditions involve fatigue as a symptom, CFS can be difficult to diagnose. However, the following symptoms may help you recognize CFS.


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    Look for severe, debilitating fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
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    Watch for the following common symptoms, occurring for at least 6 months:

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    Watch for the following additional symptoms, which may also occur in CFS:

    • Visual disturbances (light sensitivity, blurring, eye pain)
    • Feeling like you are in a mental fog
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    • Allergies, or unusual sensitivity to odors, foods, medicines, chemicals, or noise
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    • Psychological problems such as depression, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, and irritability
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    • Irritable bowel
    • Night sweats and chills
    • Dizziness, problems with balance, difficulty staying upright, or fainting
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    Seek professional help for a proper diagnosis.


  • Work closely with your doctor or health care provider in creating an individualized program that works just for you. This may include a number of different therapists, counselors, and specialists in specific fields. Some of the symptoms that may require special attention include:

    • A decrease of energy or enthusiasm that interferes with normal daily activities
    • Loss of livelihood, independence, and economic security
    • Feelings of anxiety, anger, or guilt
    • Memory and concentration problems
    • Difficulties with intimacy and sexual relationships
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy has been known to help those who suffer from CFS.
  • Treating CFS can be difficult. Symptoms vary over time, there is no known cure, and no drugs have been created specifically for CFS. Fortunately there are steps that can be taken to lessen or improve the symptoms of CFS. Seek them out.
  • Always discuss new and alternative therapies with your health care provider. Many so-called "quick cure" therapies may do more harm than good.
  • There are also alternative therapies that have helped relieve anxiety and promote a sense of well-being among those who suffer from CFS. One of the following may work for you:

    • Muscle relaxation techniques and deep breathing
    • Stretching exercises
    • Yoga
    • Tai-chi


  • CFS can be a severe, life-changing illness. There are some who suffer from CFS who may become homebound or bedridden.
  • CFS often occurs in cycles, meaning that periods of severe disability may be balanced with periods of relative well-being. For this reason, CFS can be difficult to manage. If you believe you may be suffering from CFS, talk to your doctor.

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Categories: Neurological Disorders