Medicine: Stealthy Epidemic of Exhaustion

Doctors are perplexed by the mysterious "yuppie disease"

Gerald Kennedy, a high school teacher in Truckee, Calif., first attributed his flagging energies to the extra stress at the end of the school year. Then he developed more severe symptoms, including blinding headaches and painful sensitivity to light. He found it increasingly difficult to stay awake. Says Kennedy: "It was all I could do to get up to go to the bathroom." He was not alone. In the nearby Lake Tahoe area, about 150 others reported similar complaints. Two years later Kennedy has yet to return to work. Says he: "If you push yourself, you pay for it."

Like Kennedy,...