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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been the subject of intense media debate over recent years. Such interest has been partially due to the scarcity of professional and scientific explorations of the topic - what is it, and what causes it? One school of thought argues that there is no medical basis to chronic fatigue and hence any such investigation is fruitless. An alternative view is that we should look at CFS purely as a physical problem, and that to attempt any psychological perspective is to trivialize the illness in the eyes of the sufferers. Chronic fatigue and its syndromes presents a comprehensive review of the problem of chronic fatigue, mixing medical, psychological, social, and historical perspectives. The book examines the historical origins of CFS, considering the epidemiology, and the various aetiological theories for the condition - viral, immunological, psychological, psychiatric, and neurological. The book concludes with a clinical section discussing the assessment and treatment of CFS. Throughout, the authors argue that chronic fatigue and its various syndromes cannot easily be pigeon holed into physical or psychological categories, and that the ambiguous nature of the illness actually provides us with a valuable chance to explore contemporary attitudes to sickness and health, one not offered by better defined or classified disorders.
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Simon Wessely is at King's College School of Medicine, London. Matthew Hotopf is at Institute of Psychiatry, London.Review:
"This is a unique addition to the psychiatric literature because of its exhaustive literature review of fatigue, as well as its multi-faceted approach to etiology."--Doody's Journal
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