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Chronic fatigue syndrome – mostly unrecognized and unfortunately ridiculed disease

An irreducible disease "chronic fatigue syndrome" (myalgic encephalomyelitis) affects 17 million people worldwide, including up to 240,000 people in Germany. Chronic fatigue as a symptom of many illnesses is not identical with this separate syndrome.


Unlike the perception of outsiders, fatigue has nothing to do with exhaustion. Affected are not tired, but their body can hardly develop more energy. It has nothing to do with fatigue.

Chronic fatigue has nothing to do with fatigue, but the body can hardly generate energy. (Picture: pressmaster /

Myalgic encephalomyelitis

Often years after, correct diagnosis: Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

What are the symptoms?

Patients are extremely exhausted – all the time. They suffer from increased sensitivity to light and have difficulty concentrating. Fatigue, irritability, and cognitive disorders are not among the main symptoms, unlike other fatigue-related disorders. Just as small patients suffer from mental disorders, accompanying symptoms include fatigue – for example, depression.

Pain and convulsions

Many patients suffer from severe headaches, muscles and joints. There are also seizures and convulsions in the muscles, sleep disturbances and neurocognitive symptoms. Sensitivity to light is sometimes so great that the disability must remain in dark rooms.

Germany's ME / CFS warns on its home page: "In professional circles and institutions, ME / CFS is often misconceived as psychologically conditioned and considered in the context of obsolete research results." Sometimes it takes years for those affected to take a reliable diagnosis. Few doctors in Germany are well informed about this condition, and those who are affected have extreme difficulty in obtaining adequate medical care. "

Regulated everyday life is not possible

Aalborg University found in 2015 that the quality of life of the affected person is often even lower than in patients with lung cancer or in patients with stroke. For example, up to a quarter of people affected could not leave home, many would need care, and about 60% would be unable to work.
(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

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