Worn Out? Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety Fatigue

Adebolanle Ade, MSW, RBT
September 29, 2020

Burnout or extreme anxiety fatigue describes a state of mental and physical exhaustion, which is often caused or exacerbated by physical and mental conditions as well as prolonged stressful situations, such as the inability to meet constant demands from your job or family obligations.

anxiety fatigue


While there is no single test to confirm whether you have anxiety fatigue or not, knowing and addressing the symptoms will help you focus on treating the whole problem. The negative effects of burnout can impact almost every area of your life, and often present in the following ways:

  • Chronic tiredness or sleepiness: When you are extremely worn out, one of the first signs is lack of energy. Getting out of bed might become a chore; you lack motivation to go about your daily affairs. Sleeping when you have chronic fatigue might not be refreshing. In fact, sleeping might cause you to be even more tired – unrefreshing sleep.
  • Lack of concentration: Focusing when you have chronic fatigue can be impossible. Fatigue causes you to lose concentration. This can be a direct result from lack of energy. This also affects your memory and ability to recall and or retain information.
  • Headaches and dizziness: This can worsen with moving from standing to sitting or from laying down to moving around. It is also known as orthostatic intolerance.
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Irregular periods in women
  • Weight loss

In some cases, fatigue might result in extreme symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe body aches – back and or abdomen
  • Pain in chest
  • Severe migraine
  • Fainting

If you experience any of these extreme symptoms, seek medical help immediately.


Extreme fatigue can be caused by the following mental health and physical health conditions:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Sleep apnea – a form of sleep disorder
  • Allergies or other immune system issues
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Excess caffeine
  • Iron deficiency
  • Physical trauma – such as injury, car accidents, surgery
  • Emotional trauma – such as loss of a loved one

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that anxiety fatigue may also be the end stage of multiple different conditions, rather than one specific condition. That is, individuals with chronic fatigue may have other comorbid illnesses.

Risk Factors

  • Age: Chronic fatigue can happen to anyone at any age, but it is most common among young to middle-aged adults.
  • Gender: While women are diagnosed with chronic fatigue more often than men, it is not at all exclusive to one gender.
  • Depression, anxiety, and fatigue: Common in women, they often fuel one another. Women are more often diagnosed with chronic fatigue when they have depression and vice versa.
  • Socioeconomic status: A recent study shows that higher socioeconomic status correlates with lower fatigue level. Social class can affect a person’s level of stress. Those who are lower on the spectrum tend to have more responsibilities and stress that can result in chronic fatigue.
  • Physical activity: The above study also shows that higher rate of physical activity correlates with lower fatigue level. “Physical activity is essential for treating and preventing many somatic and psychiatric diseases. In essence, the human being is made for, and needs physical activity.” – Engberg et al., 2017

Strategies to Relieve Anxiety Fatigue

Fatigue does not exactly improve with rest alone. Here are some strategies you could try to relieve the symptoms of extreme fatigue.

  • Identify your triggers: In order to effectively address the symptoms of chronic fatigue, it is important that you know your triggers. Are you getting burned out because of work demands, family-work conflicts, or underlying physical or mental health issues? Knowing what is triggering fatigue will help you effectively address the symptoms.
  • Address the triggers: Eliminating the stressful event completely will help reduce the burnout. Find a resolution, if possible, to your job-family conflict. Make hard but necessary decisions, while making your physical and mental well-being a priority. Avoid a social or work schedule that is overwhelming or overly demanding. Create a daily schedule and try to follow it as much as you can. Delegate what you can and only take on as much as you can do.
  • Limit caffeine intake: Eliminating or limiting intake of caffeine will help you sleep better. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant; it keeps you alert. Ingesting caffeine has not been proven to improve your mood when you are extremely fatigued. In fact, too much caffeine can cause migraine and anxiety. Gradually cut back on coffee, tea, drinks, and maybe even medications that contains caffeine.
  • Stay dehydrated: Drink enough healthy fluids to stay dehydrated. Fatigue can be one of the first signs of dehydration. It is recommended that men drink at least 101 ounces of water per day, which is about 13 cups, and women should drink at least 74 ounces, which is about 9 cups of water.
  • Eliminate alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Take part in enjoyable and relaxing activities such as meditation, dancing, time with loved ones, and so on.

These changes in your daily habits may help ease the symptoms of chronic fatigue and anxiety. Chronic burnout or fatigue can often take its toll if left untreated, spilling into every area of your life and affecting your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

If you experience extreme and unusual symptoms that are unexplained by other underlying illnesses, contact your doctor or go to a hospital immediately.

Seek professional help if chronic fatigue persists.

Adebolanle Ade, MSW, RBT

Adebolanle Ade is a Mental Health Social Worker and Registered Behavioral Technician. She has many years of experience writing and advocating for mental health awareness.

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