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A comparison of cognitive behavioral treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & primary depression

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To evaluate the effect of cognitive behavioral intervention on

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), we studied three patient

groups: a CFS-treatment group (n = 22), a primary

depression-treatment group (n = 20), and a no-treatment

control group of subjects with CFS (n = 22). For the

CFS-treatment group, a trend toward reduced depression-symptom

scores was noted, but there were no significant changes in

stress-related symptoms or fatigue severity. For the most

depressed treated subjects with CFS, significant score

reductions were observed in measures of depression, stress,

fatigue severity, and fatigue-related thinking. In the

depression group, significant reductions in depression,

stress, and fatigue severity scores were found. No significant

changes in any measure were observed in the CFS control group.

A new fatigue-related cognitions scale, developed to assess

cognitive and emotional reactions to fatigue, showed a

significant reduction in such reactions in the CFS-treatment

group, a finding suggesting that depression in this group was

mediated by maladaptive thinking. The results suggest that a

subset of CFS patients with cognition-related depressive

symptomatology may respond to short-term behavioral


Friedberg F, Krupp LB

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