Mental Exhaustion: Can It Be Caused by Mental Issues?
The definition of mental exhaustion is a state in which prolonged mental tiredness makes an individual’s cognitive functioning worse.
If someone is constantly alert or under a lot of stress, they may experience mental exhaustion. Unsurprisingly, 36% of US workers reported feeling mental weariness. Cognitive tiredness is also a common symptom of depression, otherwise known as depression fatigue.
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What Is Fatigue?
Fatigue happens when a person is always tired, feels drained of energy and strength, is worn out, or requires rest after a workout. Its causes include overexertion, insomnia, anxiety, boredom, and inactivity. Fatigue symptoms involve:
- Muscle weakness
Medication for certain illnesses and treatments like chemotherapy can also contribute to this feeling. There is also a link between mood disorders like anxiety and ADHD with fatigue.
What Is Depression Fatigue?
Does depression make you tired? It is a very common effect of this mood disorder. Fatigue is more prevalent in depressed individuals (over 90% of them experience such a symptom), and chronic fatigue may raise the risk of depression. The relationship between depression and fatigue creates a loop that might be difficult to break.
But why does depression make you tired? Disturbance in the neurotransmitters in the brain is one of the associated mechanisms of fatigue. Low norepinephrine and dopamine levels are linked to decreased energy in depressed patients. Additionally, fatigue in depressed patients may also occur due to low neural activity in the prefrontal cortex area of the brain. Also, depression indirectly affects a patient’s lifestyle like sleep, diet, and exercise. Poor sleep quality, low-calorie food, and lack of exercise can drain your energy.
Difference between Physical and Mental Exhaustion
Individuals can tell the difference between mental and physical exhaustion by comparing how they feel before and after a workout. Like mental exhaustion results from chronic stress, the body’s stress response can cause physical exhaustion. This can result from a lack of rest, sickness, or excessive strenuous activity.
Causes of Mental Exhaustion
It is common for people to experience mental exhaustion after prolonged stressful situations. Although there are many causes of mental exhaustion, here are some of the most common ones:
- Chronic stress
- Poor self-care
- Job pressure
- Emotional stress
- Lack of proper work-life balance
- Anxiety from uncertainties
Mental Exhaustion Symptoms
Feeling tired all the time could be one of the mental exhaustion signs. However, a person may find that the warning signs of mental exhaustion develop more rapidly when they experience highly stressful conditions that require their brain to work harder than usual.
- Headaches and migraines
- Weight loss
- Physical fatigue
- Stomach issues
- Irritability and anger issues
- Change in appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Severe anxiety
- Feeling unmotivated
- Tendency to overthink
- Constant overwhelming feeling
- Cynicism and pessimism
- Difficulty concentrating
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty relaxing
- Using alcohol and other substances to deal with mental exhaustion
- Poor work performance
Consult a therapist to find the root causes of your exhaustion and receive a personalized treatment plan.
How to Overcome Mental Exhaustion
Stress can wear anyone down, leaving them mentally exhausted if it builds up with nowhere to vent and recover. It depletes someone’s emotional reserves to a point where a person can’t even complete a basic task. The following are rock-solid tips for helping patients overcome mental exhaustion:
1. Remove the stressor
The best way to fight mental fatigue is to get to the bottom of what is causing it. Think about all the things that a person always does that might be mentally exhausting and try to change or avoid them.
2. Take regular breaks
People need breaks from focused efforts to rejuvenate their minds, body, and eyes. They should at least take a few minutes of time off from their desk or project and go for a walk to avoid burnout.
Utilizing this strategy deals with mental exhaustion effectively. Patients should stop whatever they are doing regardless of how many urgent tasks demand their attention.
3. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is beneficial for an individual’s mental health. It is crucial for cognitive and emotional wellness. Sleeping the required seven to eight hours can help alleviate mental weariness.
When a person is mentally and physically exhausted, it might be difficult to muster the motivation to exercise. However, physical activity improves mental health, fitness, and sleep quality when practiced regularly. They don’t have to do something difficult or strenuous to notice positive effects, just a simple walk or run will work well.
5. Talk to a therapist
Patients should get in touch with their therapist if they feel excessively mentally and emotionally exhausted yet don’t know how to get better. It is essential to seek treatment early enough to avoid severe consequences.
A sign that a person may benefit from professional help if their distress impedes their ability to go about their day job and lowers their quality of life. The therapist will test and treat them appropriately.
People may find it tough to get anything done or care for themselves when they experience extreme mental exhaustion. However, a patient can easily win the fight against mental fatigue with help from loved ones or therapists.
If a person experiences extreme cognitive weariness, they should seek medical attention to find suitable remedies that work for them.