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Jonnybunch 02-01-2013 12:42 AM

15 yr old son with chronic fatigue
My 15 yr old son has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome which developed around 14 months ago following a nasty viral infection. He was very active, into competitive sports and academically very bright,however, now he has no energy, desire to do anything and has withdrawn from any meaningful interaction with people. He sleeps for around 15-16 hours a day and is unrousable during that time. He has been reluctant to engage with either mental health services or the general paediatric services and just wants to be left alone. We have tried various strategies to help him to be motivated to get better but he has just totally withdrawn from society. Would be interested to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience.

Sensitivo 02-11-2013 02:46 PM

Re: 15 yr old son with chronic fatigue
Hello Jonnybunch,

I, too, was diagnosed with CFS after a nasty viral infection -- in my case, almost 25 years ago. Being considerably older than your son at the time, I was working full-time in a professional capacity, and extremely active in endurance sports during my leisure time.

Was your son was diagnosed by a doctor qualified to differentiate between a person who is fatigued for some other reason, and someone with "CFS"? If yes, I find your references to his lack of desire and motivation concerning, as if his failure to return to his previously-active lifestyle is a matter of choice. If he truly has CFS, it is likely not a matter that he "won't", but rather that he "can't".

CFS is a serious illness that includes neurological, immune, gastro-intestinal, energy metabolism, cardiovascular and autonomic impairments.

Medical research has repeatedly demonstrated that CFS patients who obtain the rest they need soon after illness onset are more likely to recover, or at least improve. So, assuming your son has been accurately diagnosed, rest and sleep are probably what he needs for now. Also, CFS is not a mental illness, although the resultant inability to engage in one's previous lifestyle can cause secondary depression.

After 25 years, have I returned to my previous "over-achiever" lifestyle? Not even close. But, with all the information currently known about CFS (vs when I became ill), your son has a much better chance of improvement/recovery. Please do your homework before recommending any course of action to him. Most of all, he needs your assistance and respect, based on an accurate understanding of what ails him.

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