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Abstract: Illness experience, depression, and anxiety in chronic fatigue syndrome

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www.ProHealth.com • July 16, 2002


Source: J Psychosom Res 2002 Jun;52(6):461-5  Lehman AM, Lehman DR, Hemphill KJ, Mandel DR, Cooper LM.  Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

OBJECTIVE: Given the high rate of psychiatric comorbidity with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), we considered two possible correlates of anxiety and depression: lack of illness legitimization and beliefs about limiting physical activity.

METHOD: A total of 105 people diagnosed with CFS reported on their experiences with medical professionals and their beliefs about recovery and completed the depression and anxiety subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory.

RESULTS: Those who said that their physician did not legitimize their illness (36%) had higher depression and anxiety scores (P's<.05) than their counterparts. Those who believed that limiting their physical exertion was the path to recovery (55%) had lower depression and anxiety scores (P's<.01) than their counterparts.

CONCLUSION: Lack of illness legitimization ranked high as a source of dissatisfaction for CFS patients, and it may aggravate psychiatric morbidity. Many CFS patients believed that staying within what they felt to be their physical limits would improve their condition. This belief, and possibly an accompanying sense of control over their symptoms, may alleviate psychiatric morbidity.

PMID: 12069870 [PubMed - in process]




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