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Anxiety & Fatigue

author image Barb Nefer
Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."
Anxiety & Fatigue
A man is looking overwhelmed. Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

While anxiety is an emotional state, it also can affect you physically. Its symptoms can lead to fatigue and other long-term effects. You can stop this and other anxiety-related problems if you catch the warning signs early and treat the problem. Getting rid of anxiety and fatigue may be as simple as stress management. However, you may need professional help if your anxiety and fatigue is severe.


Anxiety refers to a fearful or worried emotional state. Normal anxiety is linked to a real event or situation. For example, you might be anxious about your budget, a personal or business relationship, or an important upcoming event, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. It's possible to develop an anxiety disorder characterized by worry with no direct cause that continues relentlessly. For example, you might sense impending danger even if there is no actual threat.


The initial symptoms of anxiety include worry, fear and irritability. Such symptoms make it difficult to concentrate because your mind is preoccupied with the anxiety trigger and how you will deal with it. Your body will prepare itself for a potentially threatening situation by speeding up your breathing and heart rate, and upsetting your stomach. These symptoms will go away once you deal with the challenge, unless you have an anxiety disorder that causes the symptoms to continue.


Anxiety and fatigue can result in a vicious cycle. Anxiety can cause fatigue because its physical and emotional symptoms are draining. Your body uses up energy when it's in a high-alert state and ready to deal with threats. Anxiety will make you feel mentally exhausted because it's tiresome to focus on fear and worry. This mindset also prevents you from falling asleep. Insomnia is a common anxiety effect, and the sleepless nights will make you even more tired. Fatigue makes it harder to cope with stressful situations, so the problem builds up until you cannot resolve difficult situations effectively.


Prevent anxiety-related fatigue with proper stress management measures. Control your thoughts--give yourself a set time each day to let your anxiety out. Think about what worries you and look for ways to control it or deal with it. Devote about 30 minutes to this, and refuse to think about it for the rest of the day. This limits the energy drain to a short time period.

Don't drink caffeine or use alcohol or drugs. Caffeine contributes to insomnia, and substance abuse ultimately makes your anxiety worse. Instead, exercise several times a week. While a good physical workout may tire you out initially, it also fights fatigue and makes you more energetic in the long run. Perform relaxing activities before going to bed. Try meditating, visualizing yourself in a peaceful, restful place. You also can progressively tense and relax all of your muscle groups, starting from head and working your way down to your toes.


You may need professional assistance to control your anxiety and ward off fatigue and other anxiety-related problems. Cognitive counseling will teach you effective stress management strategies, according to HelpGuide.org. Your fatigue will lessen once your anxiety is under control. Your doctor or a psychiatrist can prescribe medication if talk therapy doesn't work for you. The medication will calm you during the day, and your doctor also may also prescribe sleep aids to help you rest at night.


To combat fatigue, eat a well-balanced diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. This will give your body the nutrients it needs to function well. Adding exercise, even a short walk, may also help relieve fatigue and could help improve mild anxiety symptoms.

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