Month: February 2018

Chronically Tired? Signs that Anxiety Might be Causing Your Fatigue

Do you remember the last time you actually watched a prime-time show without fighting the urge to fall asleep?

If you continuously lack energy because of an ongoing feeling of tiredness, you might be suffering from fatigue. Unlike the feeling of tiredness that comes with regular colds or some other viral infection, chronic fatigue is lingering, constant, and limiting. It can hinder your ability to be productive at work or to function at home. The constant feeling of exhaustion may render you unable to manage your daily affairs.

The usual culprits behind fatigue include anemia, allergic rhinitis, and fibromyalgia, among other medical reasons. Anxiety, however, can cause you to feel exceptionally tired all the time.

Sympathetic System Overdrive

The Web radio show host and clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow says anxiety drives the body’s sympathetic nervous system into overdrive.

Anxiety elevates blood pressure and increases the heart rate, it makes muscles tense, and it releases toxins into the system, causing inflammation. The way your body reacts to anxiety, therefore, is enough to make you feel fatigue and malaise.

Normal Tiredness vs. Anxiety

If you are otherwise healthy but still feel tired all the time, here are some signs to look out for to tell the difference between normal tiredness and fatigue induced by anxiety:

  1. You feel too tired all the time, even after a night’s sleep.

According to therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, if you are getting at least seven hours of sleep daily and still feel tired, it’s likely that something else is going on.

Gladys Frankel, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, says feeling drained all the time may mean that your body is constantly on “high alert,” as anxiety causes an intense surge of cortisol rushing through the body. It’s like your body is always preparing for something dangerous to happen, and that can be exhausting.

In addition, the author of Misdiagnosed: The Adrenal Fatigue Link, Dr. Steven Zodkoy, says tiredness, anxiety, and a hectic lifestyle are definitely connected. The problem is today’s stressors may be low-grade, but they are continuous. Take the constant buzzing of phones and being on social media 24/7. These are low-grade yet constant, which means they never give the body’s fight or flight pathway a chance to turn off or rebuild.

  1. You feel tired before a social event

If you feel “sleepy” right before a major gathering, you might have social anxiety. People who don’t have social anxiety tend to feel energized by human interaction. Meanwhile, those who have social anxiety may feel physically or mentally drained before, during or after being around a large group.

  1. You experience a host of other malaise.

Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with many symptoms, so any weird issues your body might be experiencing could be a result of anxiety. Hershenson says that people struggling with anxiety are likely to encounter symptoms such as migraines, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and even simple stomach pains, on top of chronic fatigue.

If you suspect that anxiety is causing your chronic fatigue, check with a reputable psychiatrist in Westport. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health is home to experienced professionals providing comprehensive, tailored mental health services to individuals and families.

To learn more or to set an appointment, call toll-free at 1-888-745-3372 or fill out the form today.

Learning How to Manage Your Emotions Leads to a Happier Life

Mental and behavioral disorders have links to a person’s emotional sphere. Even when they’re not the main cause of distress, it’s still inevitable that the conditions will affect how a person feels about themselves and other people.

This is why at The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health we focus on helping children, teens, and adults learn how to manage their emotions through dialectic behavior therapy or DBT. Our facility at Westport, Connecticut is equipped with adequate rooms and materials for DBT sessions. We hope that through these interventions, you can learn to be the master of your emotions.

A Focus of Dialectic Behavior Therapy

DBT is therapeutic in nature. Although its first purpose was to treat borderline personality disorder, psychiatrists soon realized its effectiveness for other types of mental and behavioral disorders, like depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and PTSD.

In our DBT sessions, you will experience one-on-one therapy or group learning activities, depending on which program you choose. Regardless of the type, though, our entire DBT Program has one goal: to teach practical skills that will make you constantly mindful of your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

Strengthen your Mind and Be “Present”

Being a cognitive-behavioral treatment, the key areas that DBT develops in patients is mindfulness. It refers to a person’s awareness of his or her thoughts, emotions, urges, and actions. It is the set of answers to the questions, “What?” and “How?” Think of it as the “collection of data” stage.

Learning this skill enables you to take a step back and look at your circumstance with a clearer eye. Without awareness, it’s not possible to manage — even change — emotions.

Notice that the principle of mindfulness aligns with the rehabilitation process of people dealing with addictions. Before they can do something about their problem, they need to be aware and acknowledge that there is, indeed, an issue to address.

Avoiding Distress is Not the Answer

Psychiatrists and therapists will tell you that the best way to deal with emotions is to accept and tolerate, not avoid them. Tolerance in this respect, however, doesn’t mean letting emotions cloud your decisions. It’s more about accepting that you’re currently in a challenging situation and then choosing to do something about it.

This is distress tolerance, a common approach to mental health treatments. Through DBT, you will learn how to bear negative emotions skillfully.

Managing Emotions: How Do You Do This?

There is a generic answer to this question: when you experience a negative emotion, and you feel the urge to succumb to certain behaviors or addictions, stop and take the opposite action. This is the active and practical application of mindfulness, distress tolerance, and changing emotions. If you master it, you’ll be able to choose the path to happiness over depression, anxiety, anger, and so forth.

It’s not quick or easy to learn how to manage or change emotions. The unwavering support of family and friends, as well as the guidance of experienced therapists who care about you overcoming your disorders, will be of great help.

Allow us to help you succeed in this journey. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health offers four modes of treatment to accommodate different levels of need. To learn more about these programs, contact us today.