A lot of people wonder if there is a connection between these two: depression and fatigue. How are they linked and what are the natural cures for it?
In this article I will discuss:
- Depression and Fatigue (how they are connected)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- The Difference between both of those
- Natural Cures for Depression and Fatigue
How are depression and fatigue connected?
Depression and fatigue can definitely be connected and exist together or they can be two separate things. When they are two different identities, depression exists as a mental disorder while chronic fatigue syndrome exists as a physical, medical condition.
I will decipher the two. While both can make a person feel extremely tired with a lack of energy or motivation to do anything such as daily tasks, it is important to recognize that they differ.
Depression occurs when a person has constant feelings of sadness either in spurts of time spontaneously over long periods of time, or majorly where the depressed feeling can last months or even years constantly. With depression comes other symptoms and side-effects.
This can include many such as:
- appetite loss or over-eating
- sleep schedule fluctuations, insomnia, over-sleeping
- continuous feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, hopelessness, sadness
- isolation from family and friends
- suicidal thoughts or tendencies
Fortunately, there are natural cures for depression that you can take advantage of such as natural supplementation that serves to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, life-style changes such as implementing exercise and a healthy diet, as well as talk therapy with a counselor or psychiatrist.
Depression is completely treatable and curable. However, it is important to know that it is not cured over night. It takes time. Depression needs constant attention, awareness, and respect. It is a disease and needs proper addressing.
Now to get back on track with the difference between depression and fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. Constant fatigue exists in a medical condition called chronic fatigue syndrome. This is a condition that causes someone to have continuous feelings of tiredness without any underlying cause even if someone has had a full night’s rest. It is easy to mix up the two as both can feel similar.
On the other hand, depression can cause fatigue while constant fatigue can cause depression. Thus, a feeling of depression and fatigue can result. They can exist together or separately. It is important to recognize the differences for treatment options.
The Main Difference Between Depression and Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The main difference between the two is that depression is considered a mental illness/disorder with fatigue being a main cause or symptom of it while chronic fatigue is classified primarily as a physical disorder that entails that a person has continuous feelings of tiredness. Of course, there can be some overlap between the two.
Those with chronic fatigue syndrome can suffer from physical symptoms that usually do not come with depression. These can include:
- tender lymph nodes
- joint pain
- sore throat
- muscle pain
To further differentiate the two, you should think mentally about it. Do you feel depressed? Are you having constant feelings of hopelessness and sadness? Does your depression make you feel constantly tired? If so, then you are experiencing depression and with your depression comes the symptom of constant fatigue.
On the other hand, are you not depressed and merely just always feel tired? Do you still want to do things during the day? Do you want to engage in activities but just feel too tired to do so? The keyword is want here.
Those with depression usually do not want to engage in daily activities and find staying in their room isolated from any social or physical activities is best. But those with chronic fatigue actually want to get out and about but feel too tired to do so.
It is important to remember that if you just have chronic fatigue syndrome, then it is possible to develop depression from this. This could be because your fatigue is causing you stress or health problems. These health problems can induce depression. It is important to treat both in any case.
To diagnose either condition, your doctor if you feel comfortable at this stage to see one, should be capable of ruling out certain conditions and narrowing down to your illness if you are having difficulty. Again, sometimes it is difficult to assess if you are clinically depressed until it hits you at its darkest moments. This could come across as someone just being chronically fatigued but truthfully, it could be the depression. If you have difficulty deciphering your condition, then I would urge you to see you doctor and if that still does not help, then possibly seeing a mental health expert could do the trick.
Again, I would like to emphasize that those who have chronic fatigue syndrome can develop depression. Likewise, those with depression will not develop chronic fatigue syndrome, but can certainly become increasingly fatigued.
For example, those with chronic fatigue syndrome relatively have sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. These conditions are dangerous because a proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours) is essential for the body and mind to be fully operative during the day. Without this amount of sleep, you are unfocused and inattentive, thereby making it harder for you to carry out daily tasks such as cleaning, cooking, school work, and exercise. When people are tired, it is hard to gain motivation to do these things (things that may actually be enjoyable if your mind and body were working fully).
This insomnia or sleep apnea and its side-effects can in turn cause depression as there is a lot of strain on the mind and body to carry out certain functions during the day.
On the other hand, those who have depression can constantly be fatigued which is just as bad. Fatigue needs to be beat in order to start beating your depression up front. Get a good night’s sleep. You will notice that your mood elevation will go up, your motivation will increase, your dedication will increase, and your overall efficiency will increase. Then with a famished brain, you can start taking measures to beat your depression.
Treating Depression and Fatigue
Now I am talking to those who are depressed and fatigued, those who do not have chronic fatigue syndrome. I believe fatigue is evident when it comes to depression. Those with depression and the negative impulses and thoughts that come with it keep us up at night. It makes up not fall asleep. When we do, it could be 4,5, or 6 in the morning. Then it makes it almost impossible to wake up as we are dead tired. How do we beat this? Like I said, our sleep schedule needs to be fixed.
There are many cures for depression and fatigue. Some I love and some I do not. Of course, therapy or counseling can help to treat depression which in turn would help treat the fatigue. Sometimes, this option is to expensive or you may not feel comfortable talking to someone about your mental illness face to face.
I do not want to stress taking antidepressants for a couple of reasons. Yes in time, your sleep schedule would be fixed but I strongly believe the negatives out-weight the positives. With antidepressants comes major side effects and major adjustment to the product. You could experience more severe fatigue than before and more fluctuated sleep during the beginning of your journey to finding the right medication. You could also be having severe anxiety once you start taking the medication and other side effects.
Furthermore, it generally takes a long time for the anti-depressants to start working as your brain is being adjusted to the new uptake of chemicals. This could take from weeks to months depending if you find your right fit the first attempt. As of now, unless majorly needed, I would stay away from prescribed antidepressant medication. Always consult your doctor in a lengthy conversation before proceeding with antidepressants.
Natural Cures for Depression and Fatigue
- deep-breathing exercises
- exercising daily (cardio, weight-lifting) – allows your body and mind to be tired which makes it easier to rest and sleep
- Melatonin – This product helps those having difficulty with their sleep schedules. It helps to adjust sleep-wake cycles and establishes a daily and nightly routine. It is used for insomnia patients as this natural supplement helps those with sleep disorders. Read my full Melatonin Review.
- Those with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) should also take this supplement. Those whose mood are affected by sunlight or seasonal changes should take this product. It is made from serotonin (happy chemical in the brain), hence why people take it to not only adjust sleep schedule but to help elevate their entire mood and decrease depression symptoms. I find it has a great affect of adjusting my sleep schedule and enlightening my mood. This allows me to have a fully productive day.
Ultimately, it is important whether if you’re a victim of depression or a victim of chronic fatigue syndrome, to develop good sleeping habits. Try these:
- Avoid exercising before bed (4 hours before bedtime)
- Avoid taking lengthy naps (limit to 30 minutes)
- Create a healthy sleeping atmosphere (dark, quiet, cool)
- Go to bed at the same time throughout your week
- Avoid drinking and eating things that do not promote sleep (caffeine, sugar, alcohol)
I hope this information has helped. If you find it is difficult for you to adjust your sleep patterns and difficult to fight the depression that is taking the life out of you, thereby making you extremely fatigue, then I strongly encourage you to take melatonin.
It has similar anti-depressant properties without side effects and will immediately help you adjust your sleep schedule as well as enlighten your mood through serotonin enhancement. It is an all-natural supplement and non-habit forming, meaning you will not need to depend on it.
Do you suffer from depression and fatigue? Are you a chronic fatigue syndrome patient? I would love to hear from you. Comment below!