Fatigue – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment, usually accompanied by a feeling of weariness and tiredness. Fatigue can be acute and come on suddenly or chronic and persist.


Fatigue is different from drowsiness . In general, drowsiness is feeling the need to sleep, while fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation. Drowsiness and apathy (a feeling of indifference or not caring about what happens) can be symptoms of fatigue.

Fatigue Causes

While no one knows what causes chronic fatigue syndrome, for more than a century, doctors have reported seeing illnesses similar to it. In the l860s, Dr. George Beard named the syndrome neurasthenia because he thought it was a nervous disorder with weakness and fatigue. Since then, health experts have suggested other explanations for this baffling illness.

There are many possible physical and psychological causes of fatigue. Some of the more common are:

An allergy that leads to hay fever or asthma

Anemia (including iron deficiency anemia)

Depression or grief

Persistent pain

The sense of fatigue is believed to originate in the reticular activating system of the lower brain. Musculoskeletal structures may have co-evolved with appropriate brain structures so that the complete unit functions together in a constructive and adaptive fashion.[4] The entire systems of muscles, joints, and proprioceptive and kinesthetic functions plus parts of the brain evolve and function together in a unitary way.


You can easily become tired if you are depressed or experiencing emotional stress. Depression that requires medical help often shows itself through heavy fatigue.

Fatigue Symptoms

Symptoms of fatigue include the following:

Weakness, lack of energy, tiredness, exhaustion

Passing out or feeling as if you are going to pass out

Palpitations (feeling your heart beating)

Reduced immune system function

Blurry vision

Short term memory problems

Poor concentration


Reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Low motivation.

Treating fatigue

Symptoms of fatigue are often caused by more than one problem. Treating a specific problem, such as anemia, may make you feel better, but other things may still need to be done. That is why many different approaches are considered. These approaches may or may not include medicines. Treating cancer-related fatigue often involves many health professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists, and a number of others.

Behaviour therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling, relaxation therapy, and graded exercise may help. Reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, rest periods, pacing and support groups also help many people with CFS.

Anxiety or anxiolytic agents: Anxiolytic agents are used to treat panic disorder in CFS patients. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam ( Klonopin), and lorazepam (Ativan). Common adverse reactions include sedation, amnesia, and withdrawal symptoms (insomnia, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, tremors, and convulsions).

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