Diagnosing Depression And Fatigue
To make a depression diagnosis, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and give you a questionnaire that assesses depression. They may use other methods, such as blood tests or X-rays, to make sure another disorder isnt causing your symptoms.
Before diagnosing you with chronic fatigue syndrome, your doctor will run several tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These may include restless leg syndrome, diabetes, or depression.
How To Fight Depression Fatigue
Fatigue may linger even after other depression symptoms improve. These strategies can help you boost your energy and conquer depression fatigue.
Living with major depression can be challenging when you’re also dealing with fatigue, a common depression symptom. Not only can fatigue disrupt your daily routine, it can also make it harder to take the steps needed to get depression under control.
Major depression causes a total lack of energy that doctors call anergia, says Stephen Geisler, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Hofstra North ShoreLIJ School of Medicine in Long Island, N.Y. This lack of energy can lead to mental, emotional, and physical fatigue thats difficult to treat.
Left untreated, fatigue can contribute to longer and more severe depression, according to a research review published in 2014 in the journal Depression and Anxiety. Its also one of the main causes of disability in depression, says Dr. Geisler. For these reasons, taking steps to conquer fatigue is an important aspect of depression treatment.
How Is Depression Fatigue Treated?
Depression fatigue may be linked to poor sleep, lack of activity, or commonly used antidepressant medications called SSRIs and SNRIs. Even after other depression symptoms have responded to treatment, fatigue is likely to linger.
Helpful Lifestyle Changes Can Fight Depression Fatigue
You can also make healthy lifestyle choices that may help reduce fatigue:
Exercise Can Boost Energy
Certain types of easy exercise, such as gardening and yoga , have been shown to boost energy levels, reduce stress, improve joint range of motion, help manage spasticity, and increase strength. Because of its natural buoyancy, water allows many men and women with MS to perform exercises they cannot do outside of the pool. Water exercise helps increase flexibility, strengthen the upper and lower extremities and trunk, improve ambulatory skills, increase coordination and balance, and condition the overall body to raise endurance levels and lessen fatigue.
For more information on the benefits of aquatic therapy and aquatic exercise for individuals with MS, please see the Health and Wellness column from the Summer/Fall 2012 issue of The Motivator. This may be found on MSAAs website at mymsaa.org/publications/motivator/summer-fall12/health
How Do You Assess The Symptoms Of Fatigue In Mdd
Dr. Fava: First, I want to confirm that the patient actually has a diagnosis of MDD. There may be some patients who complain of many symptoms of fatigue but do not have MDD, or there may be some patients with comorbid illnesses that include some depressive symptoms and fatigue, but are not truly MDD. Second, it is really important to differentiate between symptoms of fatigue that have been caused by the drugs we are using to treat the MDD in contrast to symptoms that are present as residual symptoms of MDD.
I begin my assessment by obtaining a careful, detailed history of all of the symptoms that existed prior to the initiation of treatment, followed by identifying any symptoms that have persisted despite treatment, and then I ask about any new symptoms that have emerged during treatment. Treatment-emergent symptoms may or may not be caused by the medications we are using, but it is important to differentiate whether these symptom are new or were preexisting to the treatment. Obviously, it is also important to explore whether the residual symptoms are more or less severe than they were before treatment commenced.
patients with residual fatigue are more likely to get depressed again despite continued prophylactic treatment. There is a much greater likelihood that patients with MDD who have residual symptoms like fatigue will also have work, school, and/or social difficulties.
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Try Increasing Your Activities
It can be hard to find the motivation to do pretty much anything when youre depressed. And when your activity level drops, you might feel even less motivated and more tired. This leads to a vicious cycle.
With physical tiredness, you need to rest. But with depression, its the opposite. Sleeping and sitting around often make you feel more tired and also gives you time to sit with depressive thoughts, which can make you feel worse.
One way to break this cycle is to start gently increasing your activities. This is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique known as behavioral activation. The theory is that doing things will help give you the energy to do more things.
Again, start small, and prioritize manageable, reasonable activities that bring some enjoyment, or activities that provide a sense of achievement.
Here are some ideas for gentle activities to try:
- Go for a small walk, and smell the flowers that you pass on the way.
- Watch birds in your local park.
- Make a playlist of upbeat music.
- Move your body in a way that feels good.
- Research a topic that youre interested in.
- Do a jigsaw or a crossword puzzle.
- Make a warm drink.
- Rewatch a favorite movie.
- Have a spontaneous picnic.
For more ideas and for a worksheet to help you monitor your activities and mood changes, you can check out the Behavioural Strategies for Managing Depression worksheet from the Center for Clinical Interventions in Australia.
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Practice Good Sleep Habits
Depression often disrupts sleeping patterns, causing you to sleep too much or too little. Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule youll feel better.
Avoid the urge to nap during the day or to lounge in bed too long after you wake up. If you cant fall asleep or stay asleep, limit your caffeine intake and screen time before bed.
Why Depression Makes You Tired And How To Deal With Fatigue
- Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression.
- If you are depressed, it’s likely that you will lack energy and feel tired physically, emotionally, and cognitively.
- Depression can also make sleep less restful and restorative here’s how to get better sleep and feel less tired.
- This article was medically reviewed by David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Brain Health Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
- This story is part of Insider’s guide to Depression.
With depression, energy levels dip, and many of the symptoms, such as profound sadness and loneliness, can further exacerbate fatigue. Here’s why depression makes you tired, how to tell if it’s the cause of your fatigue, and how you can feel more refreshed and well-rested.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
You may like to unwind after a long day with a beer or glass of wine, but now isnt the time. Depression and alcohol dont mix.
As a depressant, alcohol will worsen your mood and wreak havoc on your sleep. And when done to excess, drinking creates all kinds of problems on its own.
Youll feel better if you resist the urge to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances.
Essential Ways To Manage Fatigue
The key to reclaiming your energy is striking a balance between doing enough to alleviate fatigue and doing so much that you exacerbate it, says Jason J. Sico, MD, FAAN, associate professor of neurology and internal medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. Where that line falls varies from one person to the next, so it’s important to find where it falls for you. Here are other strategies to ease fatigue.
All Icons By Adrien Couquet from the Noun Project
Assess your medications. Fatigue and drowsiness are side effects of many drugs used to treat neurologic disorders and can also be caused by taking multiple medications. Your doctor may alter your medication or even prescribe medications off-label to reduce fatigue, says Barbara S. Giesser, MD, FAAN, professor of clinical neurology at the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine. For example, modafinil and armodafinil which are medications for narcolepsycan help with MS-related fatigue, she says. Doctors may also prescribe stimulants such as amphetamine but would do so cautiously because of the potential for developing a tolerance to them, she adds.
Tend to your mood. In some instances, “fatigue can mask mood issues,” Dr. Yadav says. “People who are depressed often complain of fatigue.” If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor about whether antidepressants or counseling could help, she advises.
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Anxious Meditation Can Help You ‘relax Into The Uncertainty’ Of The Pandemic
The rise in symptoms of anxiety and depression, which include exhaustion, is a predictable response to the trauma of the pandemic, says Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of the School of Public Health at Boston University.
“The definition of a trauma is an event that threatens people’s sense of safety and stability,” which this pandemic is, he adds.
Nearly all of us are grieving the loss of life as we knew it, says Dr. Jennifer Payne, director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins. “We’re just in a completely different world right now,” she says. “A lot of things are not going to go back to the way they were. And so that causes grief and is a normal reaction to a big change.”
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Dont skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
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Men Are Taking Action
Fortunately, more and more men, including professional athletes, musicians, actors, lawyers, businessmen, writers, tradesmen, teachers, men in the military, and everyone in between, are going public about depression and taking control of their health.
The myths are breaking down, freeing guys to talk about and tackle their depression.
Small Steps Big Impact
Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
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Eat Foods That Help Your Brain
Depression can affect your diet. For example, you may experience loss of appetite and be inclined to skip meals, which may lower your energy levels.
While eating healthfully is important, its less important to follow the food pyramid precisely than it is to eat foods that help your brains messaging along, and avoid those that may worsen symptoms.
Research shows that even though following a low-quality diet doesnt necessarily worsen symptoms of depression, following a healthier diet may help improve depression symptoms. Here are some foods that can help boost your energy.
Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being depressed.
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending ones life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
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How Can I Best Take Care Of Myself If I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder
Talk to your healthcare provider. By planning ahead, you can manage your symptoms and feel your best.
- Stick to your treatment plan: If you have medications or a lamp for SAD, use them as directed. Follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont see an improvement in your symptoms.
- Care for yourself: Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Try to manage stress, perhaps by talking to a counselor or therapist.
- Plan ahead: Make a plan for what youll do if your symptoms get worse. If you notice signs of depression, take action. It might help to plan a lot of activities during these months. Having a busy schedule keeps you from hunkering down at home.
- Start treatment early: Talk to your healthcare provider about preventive treatment. If you know your symptoms start in October, consider starting treatment in September.
- Isolate yourself: Being alone can make your symptoms worse. Even though you may not feel like going out or being social, try to reach out to friends and loved ones.
- Use alcohol or drugs: They might make symptoms worse. And they can interact negatively with antidepressants.
What You Eat And Drink Can Also Affect How You Feel
Theres no magic diet that will treat depression. But what you put into your body can have a real and significant impact on the way you feel.
Eating a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, and grains may be a great place to start. Try to limit stimulants like caffeine, coffee, and soda, and depressants like alcohol.
Some people also and have more energy when they avoid sugar, preservatives, and processed foods.
If you have the means, consider meeting with a doctor or registered dietitian for guidance.
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Tips For Coping With Mental Fatigue
Sometimes, you can remove the source of your mental fatigue altogether. For example, changing jobs can fix brain fog caused by a high-stress work environment.
Other situations, like living with an illness, are not so straightforward. In these cases, mental fatigue can be managed. Here are six simple ways to cope with mental fatigue and improve your mental health:
Assess The Parts Instead Of Generalizing The Whole
Depression can tinge recollections with negative emotions. You may find yourself focusing on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went right.
Try to stop this overgeneralization. Push yourself to recognize the good. If it helps, write down what was happy about the event or day. Then write down what went wrong.
Seeing the weight youre giving to one thing may help you direct your thoughts away from the whole and to the individual pieces that were positive.
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Find Someone To Talk To
Its understandable that you might not want to tell everyone you know that you are feeling depressed. Its a sensitive issue and, like other health conditions, its something you may want to keep private.
But this doesnt mean you need to keep it a secret under lock and key. In fact, research has found that having social support can protect against symptoms of depression.
How much you decide to share depends on your personal comfort level, but having someone to talk to is important. A confidant who can offer support might include:
- A friend
- An online friend
- A mental health professional
If you feel like you need someone to talk to but arent sure who to share with, consider reaching out to a depression helpline. You can talk to a trained counselor who can listen, offer advice, give you helpful information, and connect you with treatment options in your area.
How To Fight Depression And Fatigue
When youre utterly exhausted and experience other symptoms of depression, it is hard to muster the energy to turn things around. It makes sense to need to wait for depression to lift before making changes. However, depression fatigue wont stop on its own.
You can, however, work with your energy level. Think of this as a gradual, yet powerful, process. Below, youll find proven strategies to help both depression and fatigue. You dont have to do everything at once. Start with one or two items that feel possible , do them consistently, and add onto them over time.
These strategies help end depression fatigue. Where do you want to begin?
Depression fatigue is crushing. You dont have to let it keep you down, though. Use strategies to deal with both fatigue and depression, and youll recover energy and improve your mood.
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