Nearly everyone struggles with being overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances of temporary fatigue usually have an identifiable cause and a likely remedy.
Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, lasts longer and is more profound. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and diminishes your energy and mental capacity. Fatigue at this level impacts your emotional and psychological well-being, too.
Fatigue isn't the same thing as sleepiness, although it's often accompanied by a desire to sleep — and a lack of motivation to do anything else.
In some cases, fatigue is a symptom of an underlying medical problem that requires medical treatment. Most of the time, however, fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines.
Feelings of fatigue often have an obvious cause, such as:
- Alcohol use or abuse
- Caffeine use
- Excessive physical activity
- Lack of sleep
- Medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines and cold remedies
- Unhealthy eating habits
Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as:
Unrelenting exhaustion may be a sign of a medical condition or underlying illness, such as:
- Acute liver failure
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Medications, such as prescription pain medications, heart medications, blood pressure medications and some antidepressants
- Restless legs syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.