Depression VS CFS

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by NotSureCFS, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. NotSureCFS

    NotSureCFS New Member

    Hello All,

    Does anyone think that their diagnosis of CFS is really depression?

    I get confused about the 2 different diagnosis because my symptoms seem to be relevant to each diagnosis.

    I went to the Fibro and Fatigue Center and they were quick to diagnose me with CFS. My bloodwork seems to be slightly off indicating CFS. Honestly, I think Im wasting lots of money on all of the vitamins and supplements that are not working. (It has been 6 months).

    Any suggestons would be greatly appreciated!!!

  2. MsE

    MsE New Member

    The same questions crossed my mind often in the past, so I finally went to a psychologist and asked if it were possible the problem was actually depression.

    She assured me that "You aren't depressed; you're sick." She said I didn't "present" with any of the usual depression symptoms, but I sure was typical of the CFS patients she had worked with.

    I have chosen to believe her.
  3. Febricula

    Febricula New Member

    Well, it's entirely possible that you have both depression *and* CFS! It's not fun, I know.

    But here's what I've learned about the differences between depression and CFS.

    1. Post-exertional fatigue. When you force yourself to exercise, do you feel more energetic afterwards? Or do you feel even more exhausted? Exercise is great for depression. Not for CFS.

    2. Alcohol intolerance. Not everyone with CFS has it, but another thing that (in hindsight!) was a clue that my CFS was something more than my normal depression was my sudden inability to metabolize alcohol. This has lasted for years.

    3. Disturbed sleep. Have you had a sleep study? Both people with depression and people with CFS have disturbed sleep, but they are disturbed in different ways. (Depression = too much REM sleep. CFS = too much alpha sleep, not enough delta).

    4. Interest in life. If you felt well again, do you know what you would do? People with chronic illnesses tend to have long lists of things they would love to do when/if they're feeling better. People with depression, on the other hand, find it more difficult to come up with anything to look forward to.

    5. Response to antidepressants. Have you tried antidepressants? Did they help? For me, antidepressants actually made me much worse, because the CFS made me extra-sensitive to medications.


    In my case, it took years to figure out that I had CFS which was exacerbating pre-existing depression. Everyone assumed that my physical symptoms were a sign of mental problems, when unfortunately the reverse turned out to be true.

    I lost years of my life and nearly died. Oh well!

    Anyway, there are some things that you can do that help both depression and CFS. Like B12 (most people don't absorb it well orally, so if you have a deficiency, you may need injections as I do) and Omega-3. I also take SAM-e, which while expensive has been a miracle drug for my mood.

    I'm sorry the vitamins and supplements aren't working. It seems to be a crapshoot, unfortunately. Are there other things the people at the FFC are suggesting you try?

    -febricula[This Message was Edited on 03/07/2007]
  4. Lichu3

    Lichu3 New Member

    Your question is a good one and is one that causes CFS researchers a great amount of distress as well. Part of the inconsistency in lab results and response to treatments like CBT or other psychiatric therapies may be because past studies probably included people with depression and no CFS. (You can have BOTH CFS and depression though.)

    Other than post-exertional malaise and flu-like feeling (I don't think the fatigue in depression is flu-like - i.e. I freqeuntly have a feeling of achiness/heaviness in my upper back similar to when I was healthy and had a short-term flu coming), other symptoms you can see in CFS and not often in depression:

    a. achy joints
    b. sore throat
    c. low-grade fever or fluctuating body temperatures (hot flash, chills)
    d. swollen lymph nodes
    e. blurred vision
    f. muscle twitches

    and many others which I did not list here.

    Depression and it symptoms are also more likely to be gradual; my symptoms came on after two flu-like episodes. Never had insomnia in my life and developed it within 1-2 weeks of getting sick.

    I'm in the medical field and my cousin is a psychiatrist so we talked about the differences between depression and this illness occasionally.
    [This Message was Edited on 03/07/2007]
  5. terrilynnb

    terrilynnb New Member

    For me this is huge because if I hear one more doctor or well meaning friend say that CFS is just depression, I will scream!! When I first got sick, I actually thought I was having a nervous breakdown and went to a pshyciatrist friend who made me go to an infectious deisease person. the shrink said to me:
    "if this were depression, exercise would help not make you worse. People don't get fevers and swollen lymphnodes from depression, and depressed people don't ahve a list a mile long of all the things they wish they could do. You have a zest for life and do TOO MUCH-depressed people don't tend to overdo-they don't have the desire to do at all." Of course, I didn't believe him because being sick and unable to function was making me feel depressed. But, if you were an active person up until the time you got sick, and the minute you fell a tiny reprieve, you overdo again, or if you just keep pushing through it, you are not depressed-crazy maybe, like me, to keep making yourself sicker by overdoing, but not depressed.
  6. brokenblonde

    brokenblonde New Member

    I got chronic fatigue 2 years ago (ever since I had glandular fever during my A levels) a result of this I got depression which I was diagnosed with as a result of the chronic fatigue and the impact it had on my life (or lack of it). I have both chronic fatigue and depression and they both make each other worse in an unbreakable circle. I believe the 2 are closely linked, but I do not believe that CFS can be confused with depression as from personal experience I have found them both to affect me in completely different and contradictory ways.

    Jen x
  7. GigglePoet

    GigglePoet New Member

    Hey Girl..I have both..Major Depression and CFS
  8. moab341

    moab341 New Member

    I have no joy....I don't speak to anyone at work, I don't laugh with anyone except my boyfriend who is very supportive, but I have no interest in anything.

    I forced myself to call my PCP today to reccomend a psychiatrist for me.
    This is terrible and it only akes your symptoms worse.

    I have major anxiety and right now I am so anxious about my health maybe that's what's causing the depression.

    I have to do something......I only barely go through the motions of daily living.

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