Childhood Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and School Phobia in Junior High Students in Japan – Source: Bulletin of the IACFS/ME, Autumn 2009

[Note: the full text of this article is available free on the IACFS/ME website.]

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology reported in 2007 that 105,000 junior high school students (2.91% of all students) had “school phobia”. Over the last 15 years, a considerable number of students diagnosed with school phobia have been found to fulfill diagnostic criteria for childhood chronic fatigue syndrome (CCFS).

Symptoms of CCFS are similar to those seen in adult chronic fatigue syndrome. In this study, 128 junior high school students with the chief complaint of school non-attendance were presented to the Department of Child Development Outpatient Clinic at Kumamoto University (Jan.-Dec. 2008). They were medically examined using the 2007 international CCFS case definition, and given a Performance Status Score, a measure of functional status.

Results showed that:

• 72 (56.3%) students fulfilled CCFS criteria for severe or moderate illness, and

• 35 students (27.3%) were diagnosed with atypical CCFS or CCFS- like disorder.

• 21  patients (16.4%) either met criteria for other conditions including hyperthyroidism, major depression and narcolepsy or were without clear diagnosis.

The results suggest that a diagnosis of CCFS is often associated with school non-attendance or school phobia in Japan.

Source: Bulletin of the IACFS/ME, Autumn 2009. 17(3). Johdoi T, Kawatani  J, Shiraish S, Tomota A, Miike T. Department of Child Development, Faculty of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University Graduate School, Kumamoto; Hyogo Children’s Sleep and Development Medical Research Center, Hyogo, Japan.

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