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Postgrad Med. 1998 Jan;103(1):175-6, 179-84.

Chronic fatigue syndrome. Helping patients cope with this enigmatic illness.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Tennessee, College of Medicine, Memphis 38103, USA.


Chronic fatigue syndrome is a recurring, debilitating illness complicated by the fact that its diagnosis is largely based on subjective complaints and the absence of reproducibly reliable tests. There is no known "cure" for this illness; however, in general, the prognosis for patients is good. Some physicians accept the existence of chronic fatigue syndrome, while others are convinced that it exists only in the minds of its "victims." The majority of physicians, however, are skeptical but open-minded and wish to help their chronically fatigued patients. As more information comes to light, it is likely that modern medicine will have to rethink its views on this elusive illness. In the interim, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome need the support and reassurance of their physicians to help them cope with their symptoms and resume normal, productive lives.

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