Chronic Fatigue in the Context of Pediatric Physical and Mental Illness
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“Fatigue” describes an overwhelming sense of exhaustion or extreme tiredness, and a lack of energy or depletion of reserves. Fatigue is inherently subjective; this means that one person may experience fatigue in a different way to the next. Fatigue can be thought of as being on a continuum from normal fatigue, which arises after exertion and remits with rest, to problematic fatigue, which does not necessarily arise from exertion, does not remit with rest, and interferes significantly with functioning. At the extreme end of the continuum is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is diagnosed in a child or adolescent who has experienced substantial and disabling fatigue for at least 3 months, for which there is no alternative medical explanation (NICE 2007). Fatigue is often associated with chronic diseases. Nevertheless management strategies which regularise activity and sleep can help reduce fatigue and improve quality of life.
KeywordsChronic fatigue Children and adolescents Management
ML receives salary support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme. TC acknowledges the financial support of the Department of Health via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Specialist Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health award to the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. This chapter represents independent work funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.
Conflicts of Interest
TC is the author of several self-help books on chronic fatigue for which she has received royalties.
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