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Psychiatric adjustment in adolescents with a history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 100 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • December 15, 1999


OBJECTIVE: To ascertain psychiatric adjustment in youngsters
with a history of childhood chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

METHOD: Subjects were 25 children and adolescents with CFS who
were seen in tertiary pediatric/psychiatric clinics (mean age
15.6 years, seen a mean of 45.5 months after illness onset; 17
subjects had recovered and 8 were still ill) and 15 healthy
matched controls. Youngsters and their parents (usually
mothers) were interviewed and completed questionnaires.
Instruments used included the Schedule for Affective Disorders
and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS), the Child
Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and the Harter Self-Esteem
Questionnaire.

RESULTS: At assessment, psychiatric disorders
(mainly anxiety and depressive disorders) were present in half
the subjects with a history of CFS, a rate significantly
higher than in healthy controls. On the CBCL youngsters with a
history of CFS had an excess of psychological symptoms and
decreased social competence. On the Harter Self-Esteem
Questionnaire they reported reduced self-esteem, especially in
social competence. Anxiety disorders were significantly more
common in recovered subjects than in those with active CFS
illness status.

CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatric disorders were found
to be increased in adolescents with a history of severe CFS;
CFS may enhance the risk for or share common predisposing
factors with anxiety disorders.

Garralda E, Rangel L, Levin M, Roberts H, Ukoumunne O




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