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Chronic Fatigue (Depression) - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Chronic fatigue is defined as extreme and seemingly unfounded fatigue. It may be due to a disease affecting the body, but it is sometimes linked to mental fatigue, particularly in the context of depression.

It is unclear whether chronic fatigue is one of the factors responsible for depression or if it is a consequence. Rest does not usually bring much improvement.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue

In this context, chronic fatigue manifests itself through difficulty or inability to perform an action due to excessive tiredness; difficulty tolerating stress; psychological fatigue, called neurasthenia; a decrease in muscle tone, coupled with mental and motor retardation; tiredness and fatigue, mainly present at the beginning of the day but gradually improving as the day goes on.

Additionally, many signs of depression are conventionally found, including sadness, loss of desire and interest, self-depreciation, pessimism, behavioral disorders, and anxiety.

Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue

An interview is done to determine the presence of depression and its intensity. An accurate examination, like a Hamilton test, assesses depressive symptoms and can determine whether fatigue originates from depression. But, as chronic fatigue may also be associated with many diseases, further investigation is necessary in case of doubt. Diagnosis of depression-related chronic fatigue is done by elimination.

Treatment of Chronic Fatigue

When depression-related chronic fatigue is accompanied by pain, the treatment is based, in part, on painkillers. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers (i.e. mood regulators), sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, or tranquilizers help the depressed person to regain energy, vitality and quality sleep. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) may also provide good results. Finally, a stimulus for a gradual resumption of activities helps to improve the condition of patients.

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