Chronic fatigue and drowsiness: causes, symptoms and diagnosis

Sad statistics show that every second inhabitant of our country suffers from constant fatigue and no longer remembers the last time he felt rested. But can this condition be called a disease? For a long time, clinicians could not talk about this disease as a pathology. Even today, the causes of chronic fatigue are still in question and a mystery to doctors. Nevertheless, it takes its rightful place in the list of the international classification of diseases.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease that can be caused by both mental and somatic factors. However, the sick do not always know that they are in a pathological condition, taking it for their own laziness. And the feeling of constant fatigue in men is often taken for granted (he is a breadwinner, he works hard). However, it can signal serious disorders at the cellular level.

Etiology of chronic fatigue

To explain the causes of this disease, doctors offer a number of hypothetical theories. The disease can be caused by the following factors:

  • Viral infection. The appearance of chronic fatigue syndrome due to an infectious disease or acute respiratory diseases is expressed in the fact that a person cannot get into the rut of his normal life for a long time. He constantly strives for peace, he wants to sleep, to close himself from the world. His immune system is being destroyed at the cellular level. This is how the destructive effect of the virus on the central nervous system manifests itself. Basically, experts diagnose herpetic group viruses in the blood of patients. However, other viruses can also act as infectious agents:
  1. Epstein-Barr virus;
  2. cytomegalovirus;
  3. hepatitis C;
  4. enterovirus;
  5. retrovirus;
  6. coxsackie virus.
  • psychosomatic nature. Environmental factors require a person to manifest the so-called. adaptive stress. This stress allows the body to enter the appropriate state for more productive work. If these factors in his life are repeated too often and adaptive stress is not implemented properly, a person enters a state of permanent inadequate tension of the nervous system. This provokes an increase in fatigue, which manifests itself regardless of the presence or absence of any load. Psychologists characterize this syndrome as a dysfunction of the nervous system, which has forgotten how to get out of a state of tension and return to a state of rest.
  • Other factors that can cause this syndrome include macro- and micronutrient deficiencies, food allergies, and excessive strenuous exercise.

Leak mechanism

If we talk about the viral nature of the disease, then the above viruses are able to exist in the body in a dormant, latent state, being activated only under various adverse factors. Almost every one of us is a haven for herpes, but it does not begin its destructive activity immediately, but only after certain negative influences on the body from the outside. Often, stress or harmless colds become catalysts. A genetic predisposition can also work into the hands of an infectious agent.

Some researchers see chronic fatigue syndrome as similar to the course of an allergic reaction. Others have proven that the syndrome is caused by disorders in the central nervous system (the temporo-limbic region suffers). Herpes, indeed, strikes precisely there. In addition, it is the limbic system that is responsible for our emotional state and the work of the autonomic nervous system.

Risk factors

The causes of chronic fatigue are still controversial among doctors. Confidently, experts can only talk about the risk factors for this disease. These include:

  • sleep deficit;
  • chronic stress;
  • poor environmental conditions;
  • chronic diseases;
  • weak immunity.

Most often, this disease occurs in residents of large cities with poor sanitary and environmental conditions. These may include people with jobs that require increased responsibility: entrepreneurs, doctors, firefighters, aviation and railway workers. At risk and people with weakened immune systems.

Chronic fatigue syndrome in women is diagnosed more often than in men. Workaholics, people with unresolved childhood traumas, energetic and successful young people are also at risk.

Now let’s look at chronic fatigue syndrome in symptoms and diagnosis.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue

It is necessary to distinguish a simply tired person from a patient in whom this condition has taken on a pathological character. Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome may vary depending on the etiology of the disease:

  • increased fatigue from both physical and intellectual stress;
  • rest does not bring recovery;
  • the simplest actions require strong-willed efforts;
  • inability to concentrate;
  • unstable emotional state, irritability, depression;
  • fatigue and drowsiness;
  • polymyalgia or morning muscle pain;
  • immunodeficiency syndrome;
  • unstable body temperature;
  • drastic weight loss.

The onset of the disease is symptomatically similar to the onset of the common cold. A runny nose may begin, the person will be depressed.

The mechanism of the development of the disease affects the central nervous system, disrupting its work. Therefore, a person faces a number of cognitive and emotional problems:

  • decrease in working capacity;
  • memory impairment;
  • sleep mode failure;
  • the appearance of feelings of anxiety and longing.

Signs of chronic fatigue at the micro level include a violation of cellular metabolism (deficiency of L-carnitine), intestinal dysbacteriosis, an increase in lactic acid in muscle tissue, a violation of oxygen supply to the brain, etc.


Most often, the disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows the presence of a viral infection or antibodies to it. The statement that a person has chronic fatigue syndrome implies symptoms and diagnosis. Combining the obtained data of anamnesis with clinical symptoms gives a clearer picture of what the patient is ill with. During diagnostics, viruses in the body are often found in a latent state, which indicates certain risks for the patient.

When the tests do not show any signs of disorders or the presence of viruses, then fatigue acquires the status of a disease if it lasts more than 6 months.

Prevention and treatment

If you suspect chronic fatigue syndrome, doctors advise you to contact a narrow specialist – a neuroimmunologist . If there is no such doctor in the clinic, it makes sense to contact a general practitioner. The treatment of chronic fatigue takes place depending on the cause of its occurrence and has its own characteristics:

  1. The infectious nature of the disease requires a pharmacological approach. In this case, neurologists or therapists prescribe immunomodulators ( reaferon ), stimulating antidepressants (serotonin), antiviral drugs (acyclovir). Immunologists prescribe a newly synthesized drug from the adamantane group – bromantane and kemantane . Physiologists are able to alleviate the syndrome by electrical stimulation of the brain.
  2. Therapists supplement the medicinal antiviral complex with the appointment of a diet, sleep and wakefulness, massage, exercise therapy. Specialists may refer the patient to a sports trainer to overcome the painful condition. The healing effect is provided by monotonous aerobic exercises (running, swimming) with a load of 60% of the maximum. Thanks to this, all tissues of the body are better supplied with oxygen, which leads to an improvement in the patient’s condition.
  3. Psychotherapists who deal with the disease from the point of view of a psychosomatic nature recommend vitamin therapy (vitamins B and C, magnesium), the use of nootropics and antidepressants. Carry out courses of auto-training, hypnosis with the patient.
  4. A beneficial effect in the treatment is the placebo effect, alternative medicine (acupuncture).

You can strengthen your health and protect yourself from the recurrence of the syndrome as follows:

  • take walks;
  • take healthy supplements (L-carnitine, magnesium);
  • limit yourself in smoking and drinking alcohol;
  • do physical education;
  • arrange unloading meditations;
  • organize a diet (eat nuts and bran);
  • refuse power loads;
  • avoid stressful situations.

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