Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a very misunderstood illness and this is perhaps why there are so many myths about it. Perhaps the most common myth about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is that it is effectively a mental condition, and another name for depression.
But these two conditions are very different!
And when you label a condition incorrectly it can cause no end of problems when trying to diagnose and treat it. So it's extremely important to make the distinction between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and depression - because they are completely different illnesses.
For one, depression can be a symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but there are many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers out there who do not suffer from depression at all.
Second, research has shown that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers have an abnormality in their 'deep sleep' brainwave patterns. In contrast, depression sufferers do not have this abnormality.
In addition, depression sufferers tend to feel tired all the time, whereas Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers' exhaustion increases notably after mental or physical exertion.
There are also symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that are not shared by depression sufferers. Nasty flu-like symptoms, headaches, reversal of sleeping patterns, painful muscles and joints, Restless Legs Syndrome, and an increase in colds and viruses all are just a few symptoms that can play a part in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
These are just a few of the differences between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and depression!
Another myth about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is that all Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers need to do is to 'pull themselves together' - and they'd be cured...
... if only it were that simple!
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is actually a bio-physical condition and was (finally) accepted as such by the UK government in 2001. But no cure has yet been found.
Unfortunately there are still many people out there (including some medical professionals) who still think that the condition is 'all in the sufferer's head'.
It is because of this misunderstanding that the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome community has fought so hard against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome being wrongly labelled as a mental illness. And it is perhaps because of this battle that depression amongst Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers has often sadly been overlooked...
Yet for many, depression can be a very real symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If you suffer from depression as a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferer, then it's vital that you take it very seriously and that you try to address it as soon as possible.
If you don't deal with your depression, you are unlikely to be able to recover from any chronic illness...
...and recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is no exception.
It is possible to recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So if you do experience depression as a symptom of your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, make it a priority to deal with it. Only that way can you get yourself on the road to recovery.
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Claire Williams is editor of sleepydust.net and has suffered from Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 1995.
She created 'sleepydust.net' to help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia sufferers to deal with the condition - from handling their money worries, to recovering from their illness....
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