Depression is a serious medical condition, so it’s important to seek help. If you have thoughts of self-harm or feel like you’re in a crisis, seek emergency medical attention or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Or you could be dealing with anxiety.
Depression isn’t the only mental health issue that can lead to feeling tired all the time. Things like everyday stress and worry can also contribute, but clinical anxiety is persistent and can lead to more prolonged fatigue. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it can leave you exhausted and plagued with sleep disturbances.
Think about it: All of your energy is being channeled into feeling on-edge, which can really take a toll on your overall well-being. “Anxiety in particular can be draining,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy. D., tells SELF. If you suspect that you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional if you can, as they will help you develop coping methods that can help you feel better.
Sleep can also be an issue if you have an adjustment disorder, which basically means you feel 10 times the amount of stress as other people when experiencing difficult situations, like divorce, having a baby, or losing a job.
You might have an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases, conditions in which your own immune system mistakenly attacks parts of your body, can create a whole host of wildly different symptoms. One of the common ones, though, is fatigue, according to a 2019 study published in Frontiers of Immunology.8 These conditions can include but are not limited to:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
It could be a GI disorder.
So, technically these are also autoimmune diseases, but they specifically affect your digestive system and can also cause constant exhaustion. Celiac disease is one possibility, where the immune system attacks the small intestine when you eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley (basically all the bread).
Some studies suggest as many as 100% of all people with celiac disease name fatigue as one of their main symptoms.7 You probably already know that people with celiac disease can get diarrhea, gas, and vomiting if they ingest gluten, but it can also cause people to feel weak or fatigued even without gastrointestinal issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you notice you don’t feel great after having wheat, barley, or rye products, talk to your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease.
Another possibility is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These affect the GI tract, causing open sores. Fatigue is a very common symptom of both conditions, according to the National Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and could be due to a number of factors, including inflammation in the body.
You could have another chronic condition.
Autoimmune diseases aren’t the only suspects when it comes to your health and feelings of exhaustion. Other types of chronic health conditions can also cause varying levels of fatigue. Things like fibromyalgia (a condition that causes muscle pain and tenderness), type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and COPD can also be filed under energy-zapping conditions.
It could be chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that affects up to an estimated 2.5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, this condition causes severe instances of fatigue and exhaustion, especially after physical activity, that cannot otherwise be explained. Unfortunately, doctors don’t have a definitive test or treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, meaning there’s still lots to be learned about diagnosing and treating this condition.
You could have a thyroid condition.
Your thyroid helps impact several important functions of your body, including how fast or slow your heart beats and how well your bodily movements flow, Piper says. Having an underactive thyroid, a condition known as hypothyroidism, can slow down your bodily functions and leave you feeling tired, she says. On the flip side, hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid is overactive, speeds everything up and can cause insomnia and an inner restlessness that makes it tough to relax—leaving you wiped out as a result.
It might be anemia.
Anemia happens when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. The result can be shortness of breath, dizziness, pale-appearing skin, problems tolerating exercise, and—you guessed it—fatigue. People with uteruses are especially vulnerable to anemia because of additional blood loss from their period.9
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