A man is fatigued

Chronic Fatigue: 10 Terms to Know

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a medical condition characterized by extreme exhaust and other symptoms that do not get better after rest.  The fatigue is not caused by an underlying medical condition and cannot be explained. Physical or mental activity can also worsen fatigue. Here are 10 terms you should know for better understanding of this complex disorder.

  1. Chronic: This term refers to something, such as an illness, that persists for a long time or that is constantly recurring. Chronic fatigue is a long-term syndrome that has no cure or specific treatment.
  2.  Fatigue: This is a physical symptom recognized as extreme tiredness that usually is the result of mental or physical exertion or illness. Continuing, debilitating fatigue is the primary symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  3. Idiopathic: This is a medical term that is used when a disease or condition occurs spontaneously or has no known cause. Chronic fatigue syndrome is considered idiopathic, although some believe the condition may be caused by viral infection, psychological stress, or a combination of factors.
  4. Malaise: A common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is malaise, which is characterized as a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or being unwell.
  5. Myalgia:  Another symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is myalgia which is the medical term for muscle pain.
  6. Arthralgia: This term is used medically to refer to joint pain, another symptom that can occur with chronic fatigue syndrome. Arthralgia is used to describe joint pain in non-inflammatory conditions.
  7. Brain fog: Chronic fatigue syndrome can also cause brain fog, which is recognized as feelings of confusion or an inability to think clearly. It can cause your to be forgetful, detached and depressed. 
  8. Antidepressants: There is no specific treatment for chronic fatigue, but symptoms of the syndrome, such as depression, can be treated. Therefore, antidepressants are the main treatment option. Antidepressants help relieve depression and elevate mood. Low doses, depending on the type of antidepressant, can also improve sleep and offer pain relief.
  9. Graded exercise: This is another possible treatment that involves working with a physical therapist who will design an exercise plan for you and then gradually increase the intensity of your exercise. It is believed that the gradual increase over time will improve your strength and endurance.  
  10. Cognitive behavioral therapy: This form of treatment involves talking with a therapist who can help you learn how to better cope and work with the limitations that chronic fatigue can cause. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you feel more in control of your life and diagnosis.
Last Updated: November 15, 2016