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DS 17 - is something wrong or is this normal?

(36 Posts)
Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 20:37:00

This is long but I want to give a full picture: DS is 17 and since last December has had episodes lasting a few weeks at a time where he is just completely physically exhausted. We initially thought he had had a virus over winter that was taking a while to get over but this is still happening.

He has been to the GP surgery 3 times but keeps being told that it is most likely down to 'an emotional issue'. DS is adamant that he doesn't feel down or sad and has completed one of the GP's forms that assesses mood and scored in the lowest band - ie not depressed. GP still only suggests counselling though.

He has had blood tests done for full blood count, thyroid, glucose & glandular fever plus few other things I can't remember right now & everything is normal.

Even school noticed the change in him & he saw a counsellor in school before the exams in May/June but didn't want to go back as he felt they were assuming he was depressed & found the questions a bit intrusive.

He has attended two of the GP appointments on his own & DH went along to one for a bit of moral support but we still don't know what is causing this or what to do next. DS doesn't want to go back to GP as thinks he'll just be told it's an emotional issue again.

His appetite is good & he hasn't lost any weight. He takes a multivitamin every day & an extra Vit D tablet. I asked him about alcohol/drugs & he told me that he has alcohol at parties but no drugs (I realise this may not be the full truth but I've never seen him drunk or stoned when he comes home from a party)

From my conversations with him he says he feels physically achy & just wants to sleep. He doesn't feel sad & has interests & hobbies but feels frustrated that he doesn't always have the energy to do them. He has also cancelled out of some social events with friends because he doesn't have the energy. If he does have a busy/energetic day it seems to wipe him out for the next couple of days.

So, does this all sound familiar to other parents of 17yr old sons? Is this just normal teenage tiredness? If so, how long does it last? I've run out of ideas on how to help him. It was a struggle for him to get through his exams so I don't know how he'll cope with Yr13 if this isn't sorted out.

ImperialBlether Tue 04-Aug-15 20:43:28

Has he been ill in the last few months? I was like this after I had shingles, but it started long after the spots had gone. Has he had flu or anything like that?

BettyCatKitten Tue 04-Aug-15 20:46:21

ME? I was at college with a girl who had it and sounds similar to your DS.

Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 20:51:59

Thanks for your reply Imperial - hope you are fully recovered now.

He was off school twice in the winter for 3 days at a time with a viral type thing which is what made us think he might have had Glandular Fever (I took over a year to fully recover from that) but his blood test was ok.

It does seem like a post-viral type thing to me as just when he seems to be getting better he gets completely exhausted again.

bestguess23 Tue 04-Aug-15 20:54:07

I have CFS which started as post-viral fatigue. It's worth monitoring it and pushing for further investigation if it continues.

Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 20:56:03

Yes BettyCat, I think this is possible but GPs don't think so. I don't know what to do next as he doesn't want to go back to the GP. It can't be much fun to be told 3 times that you're depressed when you're not.

Tinfoiled Tue 04-Aug-15 20:57:10

I agree with the possibility of it being CFS/ME. It sounds a bit like he's going through a boom and bust cycle of using all his energy then 'crashing' for weeks afterwards.

Tinfoiled Tue 04-Aug-15 20:57:59

Different GP?

Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 20:59:42

Thanks for your reply bestguess & sorry to hear that your are dealing with CFS. Do you know what further investigations could he have?

Tinfoiled Tue 04-Aug-15 20:59:47

Tell him to google how to pace and grade activity.

bestguess23 Tue 04-Aug-15 21:01:30

A different GP is a good idea but the reality is that a CFS diagnosis can be a long process. You can do some of the things that a CFS consultant will suggest before diagnosis. Try to get plenty of good quality sleep, eat properly. Don't over exert as you crash afterwards. Try to minimise physically and mentally/emotionally stressful experiences.

BettyCatKitten Tue 04-Aug-15 21:03:20

Yes, second opinion. The poor lad must be very frustrated.

bestguess23 Tue 04-Aug-15 21:04:12

Sorry, missed your last post. CFS is an exclusion diagnosis so they rule everything else out. There are few doctors or even consultants who are well informed about CFS. Dr Amolak Bansal at Sutton Hospital and St Helier is incredible so keep an eye out for the patient publications he has released. There is a checklist that they use at the final stage to diagnose CFS, you can find it online if you want to see the criteria.

Seriouslyffs Tue 04-Aug-15 21:04:24

This sounds completely left field but can you change where he sleeps?!
DS15 was desperate to move to his sister's room which can be completely dark and has a bigger bed, but when he did so it completely sapped him. Can you change his bedroom, make it airier and dark, but not too dark, experiment with pillows etc.
It's also possible that even if he had something viral which now doesn't show, he's still below par because the less you do, the less you do!

Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 21:05:49

That sounds interesting Tinfoiled. I've never heard of it before but I just googled it & got a joinery company, an engineering firm and some university websites grin

Do you know of a particular website that would be useful?

switchitoff Tue 04-Aug-15 21:08:21

My teens do get physically exhausted for days at a time (I put it down to the growing, combined with raging hormones) but not for months like you say your DS has had.

Lyme disease? It can lay dormant in your system for years, so if he has ever been bitten by ticks you'll need a specific blood test to rule it out.

Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 21:13:50

Hmmm, you've got me thinking Seriouslyffs. We moved into this house late last year so there could be something in what you suggest.

SewButtons Tue 04-Aug-15 21:13:53

My immediate thought would be CFS as well. I have fibromyalgia and a lot of the symptoms overlap, I'd see about getting a second opinion (or even a third- I saw 3 rheumatologists before I was finally given a diagnosis).
In my experience if you go in saying I think I have xyz then the Dr will decide you definitely dont.
As for tests I had many many blood tests,3 MRI's , and two rounds of physio along with multiple doctors visits and a lot of filling out that depression questionnaire.

ancientbuchanan Tue 04-Aug-15 21:15:34


Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 21:18:51

I wondered if it was a growing/hormone thing switchitoff as he does have gaps between the episodes of tiredness where he seems to be ok for a couple of weeks & we think he's getting better & then he seems to back to exhaustion again.

He had seemed better since school broke up but last week was very busy & he seems to have crashed again.

Rivercam Tue 04-Aug-15 21:19:21

My first thought was diabetes, followed by ME/chronic fatigue syndrome. It's defiantly worth more investigation.

ME internet sites can be scary, so be warned.

Tinfoiled Tue 04-Aug-15 21:21:08 smile

GailTheFish Tue 04-Aug-15 21:23:20

Possibly a bit off track, but have you ruled out any sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea? Would explain why it's not showing up in any blood tests, though I realise it might not explain the sporadic nature of his tiredness.

Tinfoiled Tue 04-Aug-15 21:23:58

Another one

Sottosopra Tue 04-Aug-15 21:28:16

He tried a gluten free week a few months ago ancientbuchanan but struggled with the restrictions (Subway is the meeting point for teens around here). He said a few weeks ago that he would try again - a sure sign to me of how fed up he is with feeling so bad. I'll have a chat to him about trying again. I can't tolerate gluten and these things can run in families can't they.

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