What is Fatigue and How to Combat It

Everyone struggles with being overtired or overworked. There are instances of temporary fatigue and these have identifiable causes.   There is also chronic fatigue that lasts longer and is more health-alarming. Chronic fatigue is a constant state of weariness that creeps up over time and takes away your mental capacity and energy. If you are constantly fatigued, you will find your psychological and emotional wellbeing is also impacted.

Fatigue is not sleepiness. You will want to sleep, but you also experience a lack of motivation for any activity that you normally do. If you are fatigued you can also be exhausted, tired, languid or listless. Fatigue can have physical or mental causes. Physical fatigue is the inability of a muscle to maintain optimal performance. Mental fatigue causes a decrease in cognitive performance. If you are fatigued you can be diagnosed as somnolent, lethargic or have directed attention fatigue.

Fatigue can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue and you may need medical treatments.   Simple fatigue can also be traced to your everyday habits; or lack of habits.

Causes of Fatigue

Obvious causes of fatigue include:

Medications including antihistamines, cough medicines and cold remedies.

Unhealthy eating habits

Lack of sleep is a treatable condition related to fatigue. Disrupted sleep is a definite contributor to fatigue and a diagnostic evaluation always considers the quality of sleep plus the emotional state of the patient, sleep patterns and stress levels. To rule out a sleep disorder, a sleep study may be necessary.

Inactivity or just sitting and doing nothing can cause fatigue. It is important to get a minimal amount of physical exercise every day. If you do not exercise or simply move, your fatigue levels are highly increased. Lack of movement and or exercise also contributes to poor healing of underlying conditions.

Caffeine use is recognized as a morning pick-up and an afternoon jolt. Caffeine improves attention and focus, but caffeine is detrimental in the hours after caffeine is finished coursing through the bloodstream. To find balance and get rid of fatigue you end up consuming more and more caffeine to get that push through the day. Caffeine has a tendency to reduce natural vitamins and nutrients so eating a healthy meal with caffeine consumption can help balance your body and prevent fatigue.

Alcohol or abuse causes severe fatigue. If you are a heavy drinker your exhaustion and fatigue can be due to alcohol withdrawal. The heavier a person drinks the more they will develop symptoms when the stop drinking. Withdrawal from alcohol consumption includes insomnia, fatigue and cravings. The symptoms do lessen as time goes on.

Medical causes can be listed as:



Chronic Fatigue syndrome


Acute liver failure

Heart Disease


Over or under active thyroid

Prescription medications including heart medications, pain relievers and some antidepressants


Restless legs syndrome

Sleep apnea

Type 1 or 2 Diabetes


Psychological contributors are:


Depression (including major depression)



Chemical fatigue can be caused by:


Mineral deficiencies

Lack of proper vitamins

If you have fatigue symptoms that persist for over two weeks, make an appointment to see your physician. Before your appointment try every effort to get enough sleep, reduce your stress levels and begin eating a healthy diet. Drink plenty of fluids and make water one of those fluids.

If you are feeling fatigued and your symptoms are accompanied by abnormal bleeding, vomiting, pelvic or back pain and severe headache get to an emergency room. Chest pain shortness of breath, irregular or fat heartbeats and feeling dizzy is also alarming. You need to have someone drive you to the emergency room for a complete analysis of your symptoms.

Studies have concluded that about half of those who have fatigued diagnosis 19.4% are musculoskeletal problems or physically exhaustions. Psychological problems account for 16.5% of all fatigue diagnosed issues and actual physical conditions were only 8.2%.

Fatigue Prevention

Eat regular meals and healthy snacks every three to four hours. This will help set your energy levels on high. Try exercising. If you take a fifteen minute walk around the office building or your block you will have an energy boost. Just start small and don”t be over-aggressive. When you reach your peak, just keep going.

Lost weight and gain energy. If you have excess weight, just carrying it around can be exhausting. You also put extra strain on your heart which makes you feel tired. Lose weight by being active and eating better.

Try talking therapies to help fight fatigue. You might want to visit with your doctor for referrals with a therapist who can talk you through anxieties and stress.

Tired all the time? Drink more water. You may feel fatigued due to being mildly dehydrated. Take a short walk; drink a glass of water, and stretch. You will feel much better.


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