Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CSF)

Acronyms Medical

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CSF), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome known is a chronic disease with a varied clinical picture. The main symptoms show up in a persistent mental and physical exhaustion, which does not go away even with rest and protection.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CSF)?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease in which even today much is still in the realm of the unknown. In terms of both the causes and the appropriate therapy, no generally applicable standards have yet been established.

With chronic fatigue syndrome (CSF), permanent mental and physical exhaustion occurs, which is associated with fatigue and other physical complaints. Even with sufficient rest and rest, the symptoms cannot be eliminated. The many and persistent symptoms are in most cases accompanied by, in some cases, severe depression.

Much of this disease has not yet been scientifically clarified. It is estimated that around one in three hundred people in Germany suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome.


To date, the exact causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are unknown. So far, neither clear nor provable causes have been found. The scientists do not agree on whether immune deficiencies or malfunctions, hormonal disorders or viruses could trigger the syndrome.

Fungi, psychological factors, persistent stress and even environmental toxins are also discussed as possible causes. The researchers suspect that the tiredness that occurs in chronic fatigue syndrome could be triggered by a weakening or chronic activation of the immune system, as well as an imbalance in the brain neurotransmitters.

A malfunction of the autonomic nervous system is also suspected to be the trigger for the chronic fatigue syndrome.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

The problem with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is that the symptoms that occur initially appear unspecific and are therefore not related. They could indicate other medical conditions as well. What is striking, however, is that the symptoms of CFS appear suddenly.

Massively reduced performance and a severe drop in the previously experienced energy potential are the main characteristics of CFS. This key symptom can persist for years. It can be distinguished from ordinary exhaustion by its persistent massiveness. This key symptom must have persisted for more than six months for a reliable diagnosis.

It must have occurred suddenly and must not be due to acute overexertion. In addition, the exhaustion must be disproportionate to what the person concerned has previously done. Furthermore, typical but unspecific accompanying symptoms must have occurred for an equally long time.

A chronic fatigue syndrome leads not only to overwhelming exhaustion but also to [[concentration disorders | concentration problems] and memory disorders. Sore throat, muscle and joint pain, increased sensitivity to pressure in the lymph nodes under the armpits and in the neck area, as well as headaches and sleep that no longer provides recovery are other accompanying symptoms. If at least four of the above symptoms are present in addition to exhaustion, CFS is considered confirmed.

Nevertheless, a careful differential diagnosis can rule out that the present symptom situation is due to diseases other than chronic fatigue syndrome.

Diagnosis & course

Chronic fatigue syndrome is extremely difficult to diagnose. In many cases it is not recognized because there are no specific tests that could determine the condition.

Neither laboratory tests nor other conventional medical tests can confirm a diagnosis. A definitive suspicion of CFS only arises when the person concerned has suffered from the symptoms for at least six months without another cause being found.

In order to be able to diagnose CFS at all, it is important to rule out all other diseases that might be responsible for the symptoms shown. In any case, a precise anamnesis, i.e. the determination of the symptoms, is necessary. In addition to assessing the mucous membranes and examining muscle tension and reflexes, blood tests and, if necessary, ultrasound examinations are also carried out.

A burnout syndrome and depressive moods must be excluded because they could come in the differential diagnosis into consideration. All of these tests are done to rule out other causes of the symptoms. If no other causes are found, the suspicion of chronic fatigue syndrome is reinforced.


Chronic fatigue syndrome leads to a multitude of complications that can affect everyday life and work. Concentration and memory problems often impair performance. This makes conflicts in the workplace possible; in some cases, chronic fatigue syndrome leads to temporary incapacity for work.

Without a correct diagnosis, there is also the risk that the employer will fire the person concerned if the symptoms are incorrectly attributed to personal failure. Schoolchildren, trainees, and college students also run the risk of failing exams or receiving a poorer grade if symptoms are not treated.

Without treatment or without a doctor’s diagnosis, there is also the risk that the chronic fatigue syndrome will not be recognized. Self-diagnoses are very critical in this case, as the symptoms of the syndrome can also be traced back to another disease.

Another potential complication is insomnia. These often arise when people with chronic fatigue syndrome rest during the day and are not sufficiently tired when they actually sleep. Difficulty falling asleep as well as sleeping through the night are possible. These sleep disorders go beyond non-restful sleep, which in itself is also part of the chronic fatigue syndrome.

Various complications can arise even with treatment. Many problems in therapy often arise because the chronic fatigue syndrome is not properly recognized. The way to diagnosis is therefore often very difficult for those affected.

When should you go to the doctor?

A chronic fatigue syndrome is mentioned after a period of 6 months if the symptoms do not improve. If you experience the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, you can first try to help yourself. This is particularly useful if the complaints can be assigned to a specific event and the exhaustion is the result of a current stress. It is then advisable to treat yourself to some rest and relaxation, possibly to pursue a hobby or other activities that bring joy.

However, anyone who constantly suffers from exhaustion for no apparent reason should think about a visit to the doctor. Even if it is difficult to switch off, there is no inner calm and no activity is fun anymore, a visit to the doctor is advisable. The same applies to massive memory and concentration problems and physical symptoms such as sore throats, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and joint pain, headaches and unrefreshing sleep. Anyone who needs a disproportionately long time to recover from an exertion should also be prudent.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome is also proving to be extremely difficult. For many of those affected, psychotherapy can alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. With so much puzzling over the causes of the disease, general treatment for CFS is extremely difficult.

Behavioral therapy that is long enough and tailored specifically to people with chronic fatigue syndrome is the only treatment that has been more or less secure so far. Basically, in every treatment of CFS, the motto is to prescribe the patient as much activity and stress as possible, but as much rest and rest as necessary.

In addition to psychotherapeutic treatment, attempts are made to treat the main accompanying symptoms with appropriate medication. If, for example, joint or headaches occur, these are fought with appropriate painkillers. In patients with depression may antidepressants are used. The combination of the individual treatment options always depends on the specific case of the patient suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Outlook & forecast

The prognosis of chronic fatigue syndrome is individual and cannot be assessed in advance. Spontaneous healing is possible at any time. In many patients, the disease occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. So it happens that the person concerned can no longer leave the house and his daily duties can no longer be fulfilled.

The increased occurrence of CSF after an infection has been statistically proven. Still, it is not the only cause. To make matters worse, the exact reasons are unclear. The disease can continue unabated for months to years after it has broken out. Although the disease can be completely cured, the disease can relapse at any time. The relapse rate is very high.

There is a particular risk in the event of a renewed infection or an increased experience of stress in everyday life. Due to the circumstances, the course of the disease and thus also the prospect of a cure for CSF cannot be predicted. They are not directly related to the age of the patient, his state of health or the general way of life.

In the case of a cure, medical professionals cannot say with certainty whether it was triggered by therapeutic measures taken, a change in cognitive attitudes or medical treatment. The lack of knowledge makes it difficult to select the necessary treatment steps if it occurs again.


The extent to which preventive measures can be taken against chronic fatigue syndrome is largely unclear as long as the actual causes are not clearly clarified. In general, however, care should be taken to ensure sufficient exercise and other activities, as well as sufficient rest and relaxation phases in everyday life.

It is also important to avoid stress as much as possible. However, it is still unclear whether these measures are actually sufficient. A balanced and balanced lifestyle is, at least for now, the only way to protect yourself from chronic fatigue syndrome as much as possible.


Those who have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CSF) will usually not experience any follow-up care. However, it would make sense. As a rule, conventional medicine treats this multi-system disease rather half-heartedly. The reason is that so far no clear triggers for their outbreak have been found. In addition, women are often affected. On the part of the doctor, this often leads to assumptions about their psychological instability. Treatment is therefore often carried out in psychosomatic clinics. It usually starts from wrong premises and remains ineffective.

According to current knowledge, this multi-system disease can be cured by means of a combined therapy. A sensible treatment and follow-up treatment of the chronic fatigue syndrome is at best provided by alternative practitioners and specialized clinics in which the fatigue syndrome is treated.

However, it is unlikely that all patients will receive the optimal treatment. It must therefore be assumed that the aftercare will also be inadequate. From the point of view of some specialists, it is a chronic multi-infection. This requires interdisciplinary treatment concepts. As the disease disrupts and affects various vital systems in the organism, follow-up care is useful.

Possible consequential damage from CFS should be ruled out through regular follow-up examinations. It may also be advisable to keep part of the treatment for life once it improves. Without medical follow-up there is a risk that further infections will restore the state of exhaustion.

You can do that yourself

It is helpful for your own well-being if the person concerned knows his own emotional and physical needs. In addition, he should know about his limits and be able to assess them in good time. Stressful situations cannot always be assessed well in advance and it is often only noticed afterwards that they have been overwhelmed. Therefore, good self-reflection and the courage to give up tasks are helpful in order to experience relief for yourself.

If depressive moods persist and rest and sleep do not bring about any improvement, it is advisable to seek the support of a therapist. The sleeping conditions must be checked and optimized. Your own way of life should also be viewed critically and restructured if necessary. Sometimes the courage to leave a stressful situation is lacking. In these situations, the person affected can seek help to find alternatives.

The exhaustion syndrome can appear in phases of lack of perspective. It takes effort to try out changes or to implement them. However, changing your own behavior can be perceived as very helpful and strengthening your own self-esteem. In addition, side effects should be checked when taking medication and a doctor should be consulted. Some can have an influence on the driving force and joy of life.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome