HIV with Fatigue and Depression

Fatigue is another type of neruocognitive complaint, however it more general than others. Fatigue is physical and/or mental tiredness that occurs because of many reason. These reasons include stress, improper diet, medications, overload of work, and illnesses whether it is physical or mental illness. As with other neurocognitive complaints, fatigue has tests to detect it, however these tests are specific for fatigue and not for general aspects. This test will give the doctor a more accurate interpretation of the patient’s fatigue and its severity. From this the patient will see just how badly they are fatigued and the doctor can give them a treatment they can follow.

The test that is used for the identification of fatigue and its severity is called the Fatigue Severity Scale, otherwise known as the FSS. This test is a 9-item scale that measures they level of fatigue and its impact on a patient’s everyday functioning. In this test, the patient is shown a statement and then the patient must then rate the statement using a 7-point scale on how much they agree with the statement, 7 being they totally agree with the statement and 1 being they totally disagree. An example of a statement would be “My motivation is lower when I am fatigued.”

Depression is also a neurocognitive complaint, however it is not directly correlated with AIDS, seeing as how a lot of people have depression. Depression is a clinical illness in which a person shows signs of extreme sadness, inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, and feelings of death, and urge of suicide. As with fatigue, there is a specific test that is used to test for depression and its severity. This test is known as The Beck Depression Inventory, otherwise knows ad BDI. This test is a 2-item instrument that talks about cognitive effect symptoms such as sadness and guilt. It also reflects on somatic or vegetative symptoms such as sleep or appetite disturbance. If the patient receives a score of above 16, then they are diagnosed with clinical depression.

There is a very obvious relationship between fatigue and depression. People who are more depressed have a higher fatigue levels than other patients and vice versa. If you are depressed, then you become emotionally unstable and lose your ability to control your mind, thus leading to exhaustion and fatigue. It also works the other way around, where fatigue causes depression. When you are fatigued, you are so tired that you feel sad and then all of that sadness leads to a point in which you become depressed. Both of these states of mind have serious complications and they both influence each other. This is a very serious matter because both of these cause many diseases and neurocognitive complaints.

Both fatigue and depression can also be correlated with AIDS and neurocognitive complaints. For instance, we can establish a clear relationship between fatigue, depression, and AIDS. AIDS, is not directly connected with depression, however it is directly connected with fatigue, which is directly connected with depression. AIDS patients tend to have higher fatigue levels and since they have high fatigue levels, they have higher depression levels. There is also the clear connection between fatigue, depression, and neurocognitive complaints. A person with higher fatigue levels and higher depression levels will most likely have more neurocognitive complaints than if it is a normal patient. This is easily explained by saying that the more fatigued and depressed you are, the more unstable your mind becomes, and when you become mentally unstable, something will go wrong in your body, leading to a neurocognitive complaint.



-Rourke, Sean B., Mark H. Halman, and Chris Bassel. "Neurocognitive Complaints in HIV-Infection and Their Relationship to Depressive Symptoms and Neuropsychological Functioning." Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 21 (1999): 736-749

-Millikin, Colleen P., Sean B. Rourke, Mark H. Halman, and Christopher Power. "Fatigue in HIV/AIDS is Associated with Depression and Subjective Neurocognitive Complaints But Not Neuropsychological Functioning." Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 25 (2003): 200-215

-Sadek, Joseph R., Vigil Ofilio, Igor Grant, and Robert K. Heaton. "The Impact of Neuropsychological Functiong and Depressed Mood on Functional Complaints in HIV-1 Infection and Methamphetamine." Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 29 (2007): 265-276