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June/July 2021 (vol. 18/1)

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From fatigue to chronic fatigue syndrome

Implications for work and occupational health professionals

Summary:

Chronic fatigue is a major cost to individuals and society. Sharon Stevelink and Trudie Chalder consider the continuum between fatigue and a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, and discuss what can be done to improve outcomes, including to help the worker remain in or return to work.

Many people report feeling tired, but for most people this only lasts for short and intermittent periods. For some people chronic fatigue is problematic but not to such an extent that it interferes profoundly with everyday functioning. However, others have persistent or relapsing symptoms of unexplained fatigue, lasting for at least six months, meeting the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It is clear that fatigue is not a dichotomous outcome. Rather it is best viewed on a continuum…

Trudie Chalder is professor of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy at King’s College London, director of the Persistent Physical Symptoms Research and Treatment Unit at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, and a former president of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.

Dr Sharon Stevelink is a lecturer in epidemiology at King’s College London with an interest in mental health in the workplace.

Author: Chalder T, Stevelink S

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Occupational Health at Work June/July 2021 (vol. 18/1) pp26-30

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