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The Difference Between Chronic Fatigue and its Syndrome

Woman with chronic fatigue syndrome sleeping at her desk

Published on

September 4, 2020

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Given most of society’s hectic lifestyles these days, it’s no wonder that many people feel exhausted and stressed all the time. However, these busy schedules have led to many health problems, particularly chronic fatigue syndrome.

Detecting this particular syndrome may be difficult, as it resembles symptoms that many people experience daily. Chronic fatigue is also present in many conditions, such as lupus and fibromyalgia. However, understanding the difference between chronic fatigue and its more severe manifestation in the syndrome is essential to seek appropriate treatment.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome:

The Definition of Fatigue

Most people experience fatigue, which is tiredness that occurs after the completion of regular activities. Sometimes, it manifests as the absence of energy to even start these activities. Fatigue happens for a multitude of reasons: lack of sleep, illnesses, and overexertion. Doing a certain exercise routine can leave you feeling exhausted for the rest of the day.

It’s important to note that fatigue in these cases is not a severe sensation, nor is it persistent. It usually resolves itself by getting plenty of rest and by recovering from illnesses.

The Definition of Chronic Fatigue

Meanwhile, chronic fatigue is a more severe, drawn-out form of fatigue. This occurs when feelings of exhaustion or lack of energy go well over six months and do not go away even with rest. The exact cause of chronic fatigue is unknown, but many elements can lead to it, such as stress and sickness.

Sleep issues and chronic pain and depression usually contribute to chronic fatigue. Other factors, such as a lack of physical activity, an unhealthy diet, and certain medications can contribute to chronic fatigue symptoms. This condition can negatively impact regular functioning and even the quality of life for people.

The Definition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome occurs when a patient experiences severe chronic fatigue for over six months that cannot be explained by any other medical condition. Although feelings of fatigue worsen with any physical or mental activity, like walking or thinking, it doesn’t get better with rest.

A sore throat and/or tender/sensitive lymph nodes are just some of the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Apart from chronic fatigue symptoms, a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome experiences four or more of these symptoms:

  • Tender or sensitive lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Sore throat
  • Significant impairment in short-term memory or focus
  • Joint pain in several joins without redness or swelling
  • Headaches of a new severity, type, or pattern
  • Discomfort after physical activity that exceeds twenty-four hours

These symptoms must have continued or reoccur during this period and must have happened during the fatigue, not before it. Although there may not be a clear explanation or cause of chronic fatigue, the syndrome diagnosis may still be given. However, it is best to consult a medical professional to have this accurately diagnosed, as many other conditions overlap or occur with the syndrome while having similar symptoms.


Chronic fatigue and syndrome can often cause anxiety, depression, and insomnia in patients. Seeking immediate treatment is imperative to prevent these complications, as they can rapidly impact your day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life. If you think that you may be suffering from chronic fatigue or the syndrome, consult a medical professional to find the best treatment possible.

If you’re looking to supplement your anxiety treatment in Surrey, let us know at Health Optimizing Langley. We use state-of-the-art technology to help support the treatment of anxiety, depression and other conditions while working to improve your overall wellness. Book your next appointment with us to see how we can help!

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