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Chronic Fatigue (The Symptom) vs. Chronic Fatigue (The Syndrome) from About.com


senior member
Concord, NH
Wednesday August 4, 2010

It's pretty common to see the "syndrome" left off of chronic fatigue syndrome -- it's a long term, so that's understandable -- but it's important to watch out for websites that intentionally use the confusion between "chronic fatigue" and "chronic fatigue syndrome" to take advantage of you.

Chronic fatigue, the symptom, is a really common thing. Its causes include cancer, multiple sclerosis, just about any other disease, sleep disorders, high stress levels, shift work, a lumpy mattress or staying up too late on a regular basis. These people may be tired all the time, but they don't have the wide-ranging symptoms and dysfunctions of chronic fatigue syndrome. "I'm tired all the time" is one of the most common complaints doctors get, from sick and healthy patients alike.

All too often, I come across websites promising to "cure your chronic fatigue!" They hock all sorts of things -- usually supplements that help the body produce energy and regulate the serotonin/melatonin balance to help you sleep, in a "patented blend" that's typically far more expensive than buying the same supplements individually. They can get away with it, in part, because they're not claiming to cure or treat a medical condition; they're just talking about being tired. However, a lot of them do seem to go out of their way to make it seem like they're talking about chronic fatigue syndrome. They know you're desperate for help, and they're more than happy to take your money on false pretenses.

Here's what I recommend:

Be alert for sites using just "chronic fatigue" instead of "chronic fatigue syndrome" or common abbreviations (CFS, ME/CFS, CFS/ME, CFIDS.)

Ignore patient testimonials on commercial sites.

When considering a supplement formula, research each ingredient separately using reputable sources.

If the supplements sound like something you want to try, buy them individually and try them one at a time. That way, if you have side effects you'll know what they're from. You can also see how effective each one is, and adjust individual dosages.

Remember that we're all different and no treatment works for everyone.

To help you or other people in your life understand the difference between the symptom and syndrome, read this: Chronic Fatigue vs. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Have you come across some of the sites trying to profit from the confusion between CF and CFS? Have you spent lots of money on things that didn't work? What's your advice for people tempted to try these kinds of treatments? Leave your comments below!

Learn more or join the conversation!


Senior Member
On the BBC website they say chronic fatigue is another name for cfs. I made a complaint about this a few days ago.


Senior Member
Sth Australia
On the BBC website they say chronic fatigue is another name for cfs. I made a complaint about this a few days ago.

V99 .. did you have the address of the page you are refering too? Could you please post the link to it... as i'd like to complain too if i see the page.