Many people would tend to mix up Depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. First, the two conditions manifest more or less the same signs and symptoms. Second, they share relatively similar etiologies and scope in the medical history. When you try to do research on the two diseases, you will find a lot of blogs that talk about their experiences on having been misdiagnosed as a case of depression rather that the more complicated counterpart which is CFS.
This article will try to enumerate the similarities between CFS and Depression and then differentiate the two as the most distinctive features present in each of them. It is only through this thorough investigation that allows people to come up with an exact diagnosis and to be able to completely understand what they are going through..
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Depression are both triggered by stress. They share similar symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety, palpitations, uncontrolled emotional breakdown and social withdrawal. The two conditions can also be a result of diseases that destroys the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis that cause hormonal imbalance. Both conditions are linked to neurological suppression of the brain. They are both acquired and not congenital in nature. Lastly, they usually affect people with a common factor which is the way a person reacts with stress.
However, most cases of depression are triggered by massive emotional stress or life-turning experiences. It is clinically caused by the excessive accumulation of Serotonin in the brain. The hormone in pharmacologic amounts induces sleep and relaxation in the apneustic center of the brain, the center for sleep. In depression, mental changes are more predominant that the physical changes. Suicidal tendencies are most often seen in depression rather than in CFS.
In CFS, metabolic changes coexist with the other symptoms. In depression there is mild to absent evidence of metabolic changes. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is consists of a number of conditions which includes depression. Hormonal abnormalities are clearly manifested in this syndrome and more often it is precipitated by autoimmune diseases or neuroendocrine tumors. Diagnostic tests are critical in confirming CFS. More commonly tested is the Thyroid panel, ACTH saliva determination and the Dexamethasone suppression test. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would favor a more Medical Etiology rather than Psychiatric.
The management of the two conditions also differs. It is very important to be précised in the medications to be given because giving the wrong drugs or hormonal replacements will result into severity or even mortality. Management of CFS is pointed towards correcting the root of the hormonal and metabolic imbalance. Hormonal replacement and hormonal inhibition would be best. In the management of Depression, the treatment is directed towards repairing and minimizing the damage that the brain acquired. Antidepressant medications together with a strong peer and social support will be helpful in the treatment. Patients suffering from Depression should have regular counseling and talks about the wonderful things in life to give them a more positive outlook about life. They must be always given the assurance that they are not alone and they are being cared for.