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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.