Generalized anxiety disorder in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

A structured psychiatric interview, forming part of a global
psychopathological approach, revealed higher prevalence rates
of current and lifetime psychiatric disorders and a higher
degree of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS) than in a medical control group. In
contrast to previous studies, a very high prevalence of
generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) was found in CFS,
characterized by an early onset and a high rate of psychiatric
comorbidity.

It is postulated that GAD represents a susceptibility factor
for the development of CFS. A significantly higher
prevalence was also observed for the somatization
disorder (SD) in the CFS group. Apart from a higher
female-to-male ratio in fibromyalgia, no marked
differences were observed in sociodemographic or
illness-related features, or in psychiatric morbidity, between
CFS patients with and without fibromyalgia. CFS patients with
SD have a longer illness duration and a higher rate of
psychiatric comorbidity. These findings are consistent with
the suggestion of Hickie et al. (1) that chronic fatigued
subjects with SD should be distinguished from subjects with
CFS.

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