Overcoming Fatigue


1Fatigue is not simply being tired or drowsy, and it is separate from apathy, although these can accompany each other.  Fatigue includes having reduced or no energy, physical and/or mental exhaustion, as well as a lack of motivation.  There can be psychological reasons for fatigue, such as stress, anxiety, and depression; physical reasons such as anemia, diabetes, glandular fever, and cancer; and physiological reasons such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, inadequate rest or sleep, and excessive exercise.

Things that can lead to fatigue that are not necessarily a medical problem include physical activity, emotional stress, boredom, and lack of sleep.  Habits that can lead to fatigue include staying up too late, having too much caffeine, drinking too much alcohol, and eating too much junk food.  If your fatigue is bad enough that you need to see a doctor, Medical News Today has a list of questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • Have you felt drowsy, or has the fatigue been more a feeling of weakness?
  • During the past month have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • During the past month have you often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • Has your fatigue developed gradually or suddenly?
  • Does your tiredness come in cycles?
  • What are your concerns about the fatigue?
  • What do you think may be the cause?
  • How much sleep do you get each night?
  • Do you have trouble getting to sleep or do you wake up in the night?
  • Has anyone told you that you snore?
  • Has anyone noticed that you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep?

The main way to treat fatigue is to treat the underlying cause.  If your fatigue isn’t due to a medical condition, some tips to help include:

  • Improving your sleep habits and getting enough sleep
  • Exercising regularly and balancing periods of rest with periods of activity
  • Cutting out caffeine and drinking plenty of water
  • Eating healthy to avoid becoming either overweight or underweight
  • Setting realistic expectations for yourself for your workload and schedule
  • Taking time to relax, possibly with some meditation or yoga
  • Identifying and dealing with stressors, such as taking some time off work or resolving relationship problems
  • Avoiding alcohol, nicotine and drug use

Some doctors may refer fatigue patients to counselling or cognitive behavioral therapy.  There are also doctors who specialize in chronic fatigue syndrome, and who may provide patients with alternate approaches to managing their fatigue.  The main thing to remember is that there needs to be a good dialogue between you and your doctor to get to the bottom of why your fatigue is happening.  You’ll need to be as specific as possible to get answers as to what could be causing it.  Visit http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8877.php for more possible causes and treatments of fatigue.