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A Clinical Study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

M. F. Shanks*
Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen
D. O. Ho-Yen
Raigmore Hospital NHS Trust, Inverness
Dr M. F. Shanks, Royal Cornhill Hospital, 26 Cornhill Avenue, Aberdeen AB9 2ZH



This study examines the hypothesis that more recently ill patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) might have different characteristics from more chronic patients in tertiary referral centres.


Sixty-four patients who fulfilled strict diagnostic criteria for CFS had detailed medical, viral, immunological and psychiatric assessment. Patients were advised to remain within their energy limits. Patient and doctor monitored progress using a scoring system.


Using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, patients were placed into four groups: group A (no psychiatric disorder, 35 patients), group B (psychiatric disorder before onset of CFS, 7 patients), group C (coincident psychiatric disorder and CFS, 11 patients), and group D (psychiatric disorder after onset of CFS, 11 patients). There were no viral or immunological differences between the groups. Patients in groups B, C and D had more severe illness than those in group A (P< 0.05), but patients in group A had more muscle pain (P< 0.05) than patients in group C. Counselling resulted in 52 patients becoming better; nine remained the same and three became worse.


A lower incidence of psychiatric disorder may characterise patients who are more recently ill, as may the type of associated emotional disorder and better outcome.

Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1995 

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