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Prevalence of Prolonged Fatigue 3 Percent in U.S. Teens

THURSDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of prolonged fatigue is 3.0 percent among U.S. adolescents, and often occurs with comorbid depressive or anxiety disorders, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Femke Lamers, Ph.D., from the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues examined the prevalence and correlates of fatigue in a sample of 10,123 U.S. adolescents aged 13 to 18 years from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement who were interviewed about prolonged fatigue.

The researchers found the prevalence of prolonged fatigue to be 3.0 percent, with a prevalence of 1.4 percent for prolonged fatigue alone and 1.6 percent for prolonged fatigue together with a depressive or anxiety disorder. Most of those with prolonged fatigue only (almost 60 percent) had severe or very severe disability, with rates of poor physical and mental health similar to those of adolescents with mood or anxiety disorders only. Significantly greater disability, poorer mental health, and more mental health service use were seen for those with prolonged fatigue and comorbid anxiety or depression, compared with those with either condition alone.

"This study demonstrates that prolonged fatigue is a disabling condition in U.S. adolescents and is often accompanied by substantial psychiatric comorbidity," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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