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The study also found that a disproportionately large number of chronic fatigue victims had personality disorders, or maladaptive behavior patterns.
This emotional burden might, in turn, lead to higher neuroticism scores.
Study participants diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome had to have experienced medically unexplainable fatigue that limited their daily activities for at least six months with four of the following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, joint pain, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, significant impairment of memory or concentration, unrefreshing sleep, and unusual postexertional malaise.
The study, published in , found that chronic fatigue syndrome victims scored higher in neuroticism, a measure of vulnerability to negative emotional states such as anxiety or depression, than both people without fatigue and people with medically unexplainable fatigue.
These problems can manifest as either over-controlled or under-controlled impulses.
(Under-controlled impulse control is commonly called a "lack of impulse control".
Maladaptive behavior patterns thus may be risk factors for both chronic fatigue and multiple sclerosis.
Although about a quarter of people with chronic fatigue syndrome are disabled enough that they are either unemployed or receiving disability compensation, only about half of people with this disorder actually consult a physician about their illness.
Studies suggest that chronic fatigue may not only have the power to change a person’s personality but that certain personality traits may also put a person at higher risk of developing chronic fatigue.
One recent study, in particular, examined the personalities of both people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and victims of medically unexplainable chronic fatigue not meeting criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.
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People with personality disorders tend to exhibit problems with impulse control.
Chronic fatigue could alse cause or be the result of an impaired physiological response to stress.