Fatigue: Facts & Tips

Have you asked yourself:

Am I just tired?
What is the difference between being tired and having “fatigue”?
Is there something physically wrong with my body to cause me to feel tired or is this stress?

“Being tired all the time” is quickly rising to the top of the list of complaints to medical doctors who have the difficult task of trying to identify whether a patient is tired (AKA chronically sleepy) or fatigued (AKA chronically lacking energy). Hard to tell the difference, right?

There are actually three different forms of fatigue:

  • Physical fatigue – which may occur at the end of a long, busy day
  • Pathological fatigue – refers to tiredness brought on by overworking the body’s defense system (the “stress-fatigue” connection)
  • Psychological fatigue – result from constant worry, excessive productivity, depression, boredom, and isolation

Medical doctors may refer to clinical health psychologists to evaluate and treat fatigue brought on by stress and emotional factors. Psychologists also consider the behavioral and cognitive elements that often accompany the physical feeling of having very little energy, such as:

  • the inability to initiate activity (how hard it is to start something)
  • reduced capacity to maintain activity (how long one can do something before burning out, “stamina”); and
  • difficulty with concentration, memory, and emotional stability (“brain fog”-type symptoms).

Seeing your medical doctor is a great first place to start if you’re concerned about these issues. It is important to rule out medical causes for diminished energy and potential sleep disorders. If you would like to meet with a clinical health psychologist to discuss, call the scheduling department at 732-988-3441 to set up a consultation appointment.

Lauren Gashlin, PsyD
Clinical Health Psychologist