Fatigue has been defined in a variety of ways. (D Here, however, we are concerned with fatigue as a subjective feeling of weariness, lack of energy, and exhaustion. Fatigue should be distinguished from sleepiness and anhedonia. The feeling of fatigue is a common human experience and subjective ratings of its severity are continuously distributed in the population. Approximately 20 per cent of the general population report a symptom of significant and persistent fatigue, although relatively few of those people will regard themselves as ill and only a small minority seek a medical opinion. Even so, a complaint of fatigue is a very common clinical presentation in primary care.
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