Severe fatigue is more than just being tired often; people who suffer from extreme fatigue experience debilitating exhaustion everyday over a period of months, despite sleeping regularly, avoiding stress, and not engaging in excessive physical exertion. Extreme fatigue interferes with your quality of life, restricting your ability to work, run simple errands, manage household chores, and socialize.
In severe cases, extreme fatigue causes emotional problems like depression and anxiety, in addition to cognitive disorders like memory loss or "brain fog" (disorientation).
Extreme fatigue, or just tired?
How do you know if you're suffering from extreme fatigue, or if you're just tired? One factor of extreme fatigue is constant, debilitating weariness that doesn't go away. Unlike ordinary tiredness, which can last for several days, extreme fatigue occurs for months, or even years, if untreated. You feel exhausted from the moment you wake up, and by noon, you're already wiped out and ready to call it quits.
Healthy individuals may feel tired as a result of stress, physical injury, or illness, but people with extreme fatigue experience daily exhaustion without any noticeable cause.
You're likely to feel tired all day if you don't get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night, and that's a normal response. But because extreme fatigue diminished your quality of sleep, you wake up feeling sluggish and drowsy each morning, even after getting a full night's sleep, instead of waking up wide-eyed, refreshed and well-rested.
Other symptoms common with extreme fatigue are headaches, muscle pain, depression, anxiety, moodiness, digestive problems, frequent colds or viruses, and autoimmune disorders.
Diagnosing extreme fatigue
How do you know if you're suffering from extreme fatigue? If the following complaints sound familiar, then you should visit a doctor:
"I'm so tired I can barely drag myself from the bed to the couch in the morning."
"I never go out with my friends; I'm just too tired."
"Some days I'm so tired I can't even shower."
"By the time I go on my lunch break at work, I'm too tired to go back to my desk."
If diagnosed with extreme fatigue, your doctor may recommend certain medications, such as antidepressants. He may also suggest incorporating a gentle exercise regimen, in order to improve sleep, life the mood, and ease muscular pain.
Another helpful tactic for managing extreme fatigue involves changing your diet to include more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and fewer processed, salty, or fatty foods. Many have also found relief by following a gluten-free or dairy-free diet.
Because vitamin B12 deficiency often correlates with extreme fatigue cases, dieticians also recommend supplementing with non-edible forms of vitamin B12, such as vitamin B12 shots, sublingual tablets, or other easily-absorbed types of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for boosting energy production, supporting healthy cognitive functioning, and enhancing your body's response to inflammation.