Fatigue is often a feeling of extreme tiredness, lethargy, exhaustion, or a need to rest because of a severe lack of energy that affects a person’s ability to perform mental or physical tasks. Fatigue is usually more long-term than simply the loss of a few nights of sleep and can have long-lasting effects. Fatigue can present both physically and mentally for patients affected.
The causes of fatigue are endless, but most commonly are the result of a life-altering event (death of a loved one, grief, a new addition to the family, divorce), eating disorders, alcohol and/or drug abuse, anxiety, and/or stress. Fatigue can also be the result of sleep disruption, infections, various health conditions, drugs/medications.
When physical fatigue is experienced, it is often felt that the muscles are in pain and cannot perform actions which are usually done easily. If physically exhausted long enough, the fatigue may also become mental fatigue. Mental fatigue is the feeling of constant tiredness and the inability to concentrate properly. Mental fatigue may result in physical fatigue, but not always.
Fatigue has many signs and symptoms that include but are not limited to physical changes to the body (diarrhea, constipation, nausea), aching or sore muscles, headaches, irritability, moodiness, loss of appetite, poor work or academic performance, and/or lack of motivation.
A naturopathic doctor (ND) will work with individual patients to determine the cause of the physical and/or mental fatigue and will provide options to assist in the management and treatment of the fatigue. An ND may recommend a change in diet (eating and drinking patterns), sleep habits, physical activity, relaxation time, and may recommend natural supplements.
Description Courtesy of The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Medicine
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