Chronic fatigue (depression)

August 2017


Chronic fatigue may be due to a disease affecting the body, but is sometimes linked to mental fatigue, particularly in the context of depression.
It is unclear whether chronic fatigue is one of the factors responsible for depression or if it is a consequence. Rest does not usually bring much improvement, and thus the fatigue is still present.


In this context, chronic fatigue manifests itself through:
  • difficulty or inability to perform an action due to excessive tiredness;
  • difficulty to tolerate stress;
  • a psychological fatigue, called neurasthenia;
  • a decrease in muscle tone coupled with mental and motor retardation;
  • tiredness and fatigue, mainly present at the beginning of the day but gradually improving as the day goes on.

Meanwhile, many signs of depression are conventionally found, including sadness, loss of desire and interest, self-depreciation, pessimism, behavioral disorders, and sometimes anxiety...


An interview is done to determine the presence of depression and its intensity. An accurate examination, like a Hamilton test, assesses depressive symptoms and can determine whether a fatigue originates from depression. But as chronic fatigue may also be associated with many diseases, further investigations are necessary in case of doubt and if depression is not typical for the patient in question. The diagnosis of depression-related chronic fatigue is done by elimination.


When depression-related chronic fatigue is accompanied by pain, the treatment is based in part on painkillers. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers (mood regulators), sleeping pills, muscle relaxants or tranquilizers help the depressed person to regain energy, vitality and a quality sleep. Meanwhile, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) may provide good results. Finally, a stimulus for a gradual resumption of activities helps to improve the condition of patients.


Original article published by Jeff. Translated by Jeff. Latest update on July 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM by Jeff.
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