How to Deal With Fatigue and Depression
You feel lethargic. You’re exhausted. You can’t seem to find an ounce of motivation. Your energy level is completely zapped.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re likely dealing with fatigue.
You feel hopeless and sad. You don’t want to do anything you usually enjoy doing. You blow off friends and family, opting for self-isolation. You’re having trouble concentrating and are more irritable and angry than usual. You find yourself thinking about suicide and death more than ever before.
How about this? Does this hit home? If so, you’re likely dealing with depression.
Fatigue doesn’t always equal depression, of course. But depression and fatigue almost always present themselves together. A 2018 study revealed that 90% of individuals with clinical depression also deal with fatigue.
But there are ways to fight fatigue and depression – some things you can do at home regarding lifestyle changes, and others you’ll need some help achieving. (And that’s not something to be ashamed of.)
What Causes Depression Fatigue?
Depression impacts the neurotransmitters in your brain that are associated with alertness. So, scientifically speaking, depression psychologically affects your energy levels, leading to fatigue.
There is a bidirectional relationship between depression and fatigue. In other words, if you suffer from depression, you’re very likely to suffer from fatigue. And when you’re tired and exhausted all the time, it can make you feel depressed.
It’s a difficult cycle to break.
But there are some causes of depression fatigue you can try to address on your own. Or, even better, you can work on them together with the help of a qualified mental health professional.
The most common practical causes of depression fatigue are:
- sleep problems
Let’s dive into these causes a little deeper to see why they cause depression and fatigue to go hand-in-hand.
Sleep Problems and Depression Fatigue
If you have depression, you likely suffer from poor sleeping patterns as well. Insomnia (inability to fall asleep or stay asleep), hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness), and non-restful sleep are all common symptoms of depression.
A 2019 study on depression and sleep revealed individuals with depression are less likely to cycle through rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. And when you don’t cycle through all four sleep cycles efficiently, when you wake up, you’re not going to feel rested, even if you got “enough” sleep.
Another sleep disorder linked to depression is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 18% of those with major depressive disorder have OSA, and 17.6% of those with OSA experience depression.
The bottom line is that when you don’t sleep well, you can’t think as clearly and have trouble controlling your emotions. In turn, these things can contribute to depression and depression fatigue.
Stress and Its Link to Fatigue and Depression
Stress wreaks havoc on your mind and body. If you’re dealing with stressful life situations or events or lead a fast-paced, stressful lifestyle, you’re more likely to experience depression and fatigue.
Your mood and energy levels will drop when you’re under stress. That’s because stress negatively impacts your “happy” hormone serotonin and the “relaxed” hormone dopamine. When your body creates less of these, you feel depressed and exhausted.
Diet and Why It Affects Depression and Fatigue
You’ve heard the commonly-quoted saying, “you are what you eat.” Many researchers believe eating a poor diet raises your risk of developing depression and fatigue. When your diet is rich in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar, you’re likely not getting the nutrients you need to give you energy. And as we already discussed, low energy levels can lead to depression.
A 2017 study revealed that when participants with depression received nutritional counseling and began eating a healthier diet, their depression symptoms improved. And when your depression symptoms improve, your feelings of fatigue are likely to do the same.
Tips for Coping with Depression Fatigue
You can incorporate several lifestyle changes into your daily life to improve depression and fatigue. Remember, when you read this list, being gentle with yourself is essential. Improving your symptoms of fatigue and depression takes time, so patience is crucial.
- Improve your sleep quality
Healthy sleep habits are an excellent way to alleviate depression and fatigue. There are plenty of ways you can do that:
- limit screen time before bed
- avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime
- exercise regularly (at least four hours before bedtime)
- limit your naps during the day
- wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day
- create a comfortable, sleep-promoting environment in your bedroom
- eat a healthy, balanced diet
Exercise – it seems like the answer to any question about improving your health. While it may require a little more motivation to exercise when you suffer from depression fatigue, it’s something you definitely want to practice.
We’re not saying you need to hit the CrossFit gym and take up marathon running. In fact, research has shown that just 20 minutes of low to moderate-intensity exercise helps to relieve fatigue and depression.
There are some excellent low to moderate-intensity exercises you can do that include movement and deep breathing, which can help relieve depression.
- tai chi
- Eat a healthy diet
When you lack motivation and just want to stay in bed all day, it can be challenging to eat well. But a 2019 study found that eating a diet rich in processed foods, sugar, and added fat may worsen your depression and fatigue.
When you eat whole, unprocessed foods, you can increase your mood and energy levels. Some of the foods proven to reduce fatigue and increase levels include:
- whole grains
- olive oils
- green tea
The Number One Tip to Help With Depression Fatigue: Professional Help
Fighting depression and fatigue on your own is extremely challenging, especially when you don’t have a lot of motivation or energy to do so. Fatigue and depression negatively impact your relationships, work and school performance, and physical health.
With the proper depression treatment in San Diego, you can begin feeling more like yourself faster. At BOLD Health, we use science-backed therapy approaches in an individualized treatment approach explicitly curated for you.
Our team of clinicians takes a BOLD approach to not only understand your symptoms we’ll gain a genuine understanding of who you are as a person and what brought you to seek depression treatment in San Diego.
At BOLD Health, we offer several different options to help you beat depression and fatigue.
- Individual therapy: You’ll meet with your designated clinician regularly. You’ll learn powerful skills and tools to cope with current and future challenges.
- Group therapy: Group therapy is a powerful depression treatment in San Diego. You’ll meet with your clinician and a group of peers who are experiencing similar things as you to discuss challenges, triumphs, and struggles. The support and motivation you receive in group therapy will empower you to make the changes you need to feel more like yourself.
- Medication management: Not everyone requires medication management. But because our comprehensive team of clinicians includes experienced psychiatrists, if you and your therapist think medication could help you overcome depression fatigue, we can help.
- Intensive outpatient program: One of the most effective treatments in battling depression fatigue is our depression IOP in San Diego. Within our IOP, you’ll meet with your clinician in groups and have the option of medication management.
Over the course of ten weeks, you’ll get the support and strategies you need in our depression IOP in San Diego. Because it is a more rigorous treatment schedule than individual therapy, this intensive program is a proven way to help you feel better faster.
And our depression treatment in San Diego doesn’t end there. Even if you choose our IOP, we will continue supporting you long after completing the program. At BOLD Health, we help you for as long as you need us. We offer support groups for those stepping down from an IOP, and you’re welcome to continue seeing your individual therapist for as long as necessary.
Take the BOLD Step and Choose BOLD Health for Depression Treatment in San Diego
You have choices when it comes to depression treatment in San Diego. But choosing BOLD Health is one of the best decisions you can make.
Living with depression and fatigue is a challenge you shouldn’t have to go through alone. Whether you choose our IOP in San Diego, individual therapy, or group therapy, we promise to walk beside you every step of the way, no matter how long it takes.
Contact us for more information so you can get back to living your best life faster. Contact Us