This article is part of the supplement: Chronic fatigue syndrome: aetiology, diagnosis and treatment

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Chronic fatigue syndrome: aetiology, diagnosis and treatment

Alfredo Avellaneda Fernández1*, Álvaro Pérez Martín2, Maravillas Izquierdo Martínez3, Mar Arruti Bustillo4, Francisco Javier Barbado Hernández5, Javier de la Cruz Labrado6, Rafael Díaz-Delgado Peñas7, Eduardo Gutiérrez Rivas8, Cecilia Palacín Delgado9, Javier Rivera Redondo10 and José Ramón Ramón Giménez11

Author Affiliations

1 Carlos III Health Institute. Sinesio Delgado, n° 6, 28029, Madrid. Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians. Narváez, 15 1° Izda, 28009, Madrid, Spain

2 Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine. Portaferrissa 8 pral., 08002, Barcelona, Spain

3 Public Health and Health Management Chair, European University of Madrid. Tajo s/n., Urb. El Bosque, 28670, Villaviciosa de Odón, Madrid, Spain

4 Coordinating Institution for the National Associations of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. Rafael Bonilla 19, local, 28028, Madrid, Spain

5 Spanish Society of Internal Medicine. Pintor Ribera 3, 28016, Madrid, Spain

6 Spanish Society of Psychosomatic Medicine and Medical Psychology. Avda. de los Angeles, 14 Portal 2 - 2° C, 28223, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain

7 Spanish Association of Paediatrics. Aguirre 1, bajo derecha, 28009, Madrid, Spain

8 Spanish Society of Neurology. Via Laietana, 23, entlo A-D, 08003, Barcelona, Spain

9 Spanish Society of Physiotherapy. Calle Rodriguez Marín 69, bajo D, 28016, Madrid, Spain

10 Spanish Society of Rheumatology. Marqués de Duero,5, 1°, Madrid, 28001, Spain

11 Carlos III Health Institute. Sinesio Delgado, n° 6, 28029, Madrid, Spain

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BMC Psychiatry 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S1  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-9-S1-S1

Published: 23 October 2009


Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by intense fatigue, with duration of over six months and associated to other related symptoms. The latter include asthenia and easily induced tiredness that is not recovered after a night's sleep. The fatigue becomes so severe that it forces a 50% reduction in daily activities. Given its unknown aetiology, different hypotheses have been considered to explain the origin of the condition (from immunological disorders to the presence of post-traumatic oxidative stress), although there are no conclusive diagnostic tests. Diagnosis is established through the exclusion of other diseases causing fatigue. This syndrome is rare in childhood and adolescence, although the fatigue symptom per se is quite common in paediatric patients. Currently, no curative treatment exists for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. The therapeutic approach to this syndrome requires a combination of different therapeutic modalities. The specific characteristics of the symptomatology of patients with chronic fatigue require a rapid adaptation of the educational, healthcare and social systems to prevent the problems derived from current systems. Such patients require multidisciplinary management due to the multiple and different issues affecting them. This document was realized by one of the Interdisciplinary Work Groups from the Institute for Rare Diseases, and its aim is to point out the main social and care needs for people affected with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For this, it includes not only the view of representatives for different scientific societies, but also the patient associations view, because they know the true history of their social and sanitary needs. In an interdisciplinary approach, this work also reviews the principal scientific, medical, socio-sanitary and psychological aspects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.