Objectives: To determine the prevalence and sociodemographic and psychiatric correlates of prolonged fatigue syndromes among patients in primary care.
Design: Prospective questionnaire survey.
Patients and setting: Adults over 18 years attending three general practices in metropolitan Sydney and one on the Central Coast, north of Sydney.
Results: Of 1593 patients, 25% had prolonged fatigue, while 37% had psychological disorder. Of the patients with fatigue, 70% had both fatigue and psychological disorder, while 30% had fatigue only. The factors associated with prolonged fatigue were concurrent psychological disorder, female gender, lower socioeconomic status and fewer total years of education. Patients with fatigue were more likely to have a current depressive disorder.
Conclusions: Prolonged fatigue/neurasthenia syndromes are common in Australian primary care settings, and are commonly associated with current depressive disorders. Such syndromes, however, do not fit readily into current international psychiatric classification systems.