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Reasons for Debilitating Fatigue & Short-Term Memory Loss

author image Martina McAtee
Based in Florida, Martina McAtee has been writing health and fitness articles since 2003. She attended Keiser University, graduating with an Associate of Science in nursing. McAtee is currently working toward a master's degree in nursing from Florida Atlantic University.
Reasons for Debilitating Fatigue & Short-Term Memory Loss
A tired looking man is talking to a woman. Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Fatigue is a common occurrence most likely caused by everyday stresses such as work and home life. Most people will suffer from minor short-term memory loss, such as misplacing car keys or forgetting to lock their car doors, at some point in their lives. However, when fatigue and short-term memory loss become a chronic or recurring problem, a consultation with a physician may be necessary to determine an underlying cause.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. This disorder is characterized by extreme fatigue that worsens with physical or mental activity but doesn’t get better with rest. Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include fatigue, memory loss, inability to concentrate, sore throat, painful and mildly enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, unexplained muscle pain, headaches, unrefreshing sleep, and extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise. There is no specific treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and physicians aim to attempt to treat the symptoms. Physicians encourage patients to slow down and avoid heavy physical or psychological stress. Patients should exercise lightly for a few minutes every day slowly increasing their time. In some cases, physicians may recommend behavioral therapy with a mental health professional.

Huntington's Disease

Huntington’s disease is an inherited disease that causes nerve cells in the brain to waste away. People who have a parent with Huntington’s disease have a 50 percent chance of getting the disease, according to MedlinePlus. Symptoms of Huntington’s disease often don’t appear until middle age. Early signs of Huntington’s disease include personality changes such as irritability, anger, depression or loss of interest in activities, decreased cognitive abilities, short-term memory loss, fatigue, difficulty learning new information, mild balance problems, clumsiness and involuntary facial movements such as grimacing. No treatment exists to cure, stop or reverse the process of Huntington’s disease. Medications such as tetrabenazine help reduce the jerky, involuntary movements of Huntington’s disease by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain.


Dementia encompasses a group of diseases that affect intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with everyday living. Memory loss is common in dementia, but that alone does not indicate dementia. Patients suffering from dementia usually also exhibit difficulty communicating, inability to learn or retain new information, difficulty with coordination and motor function, personality changes, inability to reason, paranoia, fatigue or agitation, hallucinations, and inappropriate behaviors. Treatment for dementia includes medications such as donepezil and memantine to help increase the chemical messengers in the brain.

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