View Full Version : Does your anxiety make you feel abnormally tired?

04-07-14, 06:01 PM
I know depression makes you feel tired because supposedly you suffer from more sleep interruptions when you are depressed. Also, I've had depression for most of my life and I've always had problems with my energy levels. But at the same time, I can't help but think that there's more to it than just depression, because, as I've gotten older it's only gotten worse (I'm only 20).....

Mind you, since I am an adult now, I have a lot more stress in my life with things like university and finances (I'm not living on my own but this is still something I worry about ;)) and I know I definitely have more anxiety (panic attacks, etc didn't start until I was in my early teens)

I've consulted doctors numerous times in regards to this though, and the physicians I've spoken with just keep shrugging me off like it's all in my head... Even my family doctor. I've managed to get the typical blood tests done, but that's about it, and these came back normal. So I was starting to feel like it really was all in my head. (One doctor actually told me she thought I had fibromyalgia, but that I should go speak to someone else about it, so that was helpful :rolleyes: )

But my psychiatrist tells me I am likely tired because I have GAD and so I have a lot of anxiety which wears my body out......This makes sense, but at the same time, could this really be it? Do other people with anxiety feel this way too, then? I often need to sleep 10 or 12 hours. (If I only get 9, that's generally OK... also depending on how sleep deprived I was previous to that night... but if it's less than that it's usually a pretty rough day..) I often feel tired ALL day regardless, but less so during the time that the Vyvanse is taking effect. (Side note: It is a million times worse when I am on my menustral cycle, but I am also more stressed when I am on my menustral cycle.)

Meds/lifestyle (if you're wondering): Antidepressants made me more tired sometimes but I've been on Cymbalta for a couple years now and I didn't notice a difference in energy levels, and of course Vyvanse improves them and Trazodone makes me sleep (but I don't feel it in the morning)
(That's all the meds I am currently on, except I am supposed to be on Sertraline too but I am waiting to start it after I'm done my exams because I don't want to go through the stress of the "adjustment period" that goes with most medications)
Also I get therapy usually every week, eat healthy (usually 4 or 5 times in small amounts as i am hypoglycemic)/get exercise/drink water (at very least 1 L) every day, am a healthy weight and don't smoke or drink alcohol.

Thanks, guys.

04-07-14, 06:33 PM
Anxiety usually makes me feel more high-strung I think.

I'm 20 too. ;)

Yeah, university is really stressful.

But I think anxiety can wear a person out.

Can you possibly get a sleep study done to see if there's something underlying disrupting your sleep? And/or a fibromyalgia specialist?

I thought I'd mention I also need lots of sleep each night, around 10-12 hours.

04-07-14, 06:50 PM
No it doesn't, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

04-11-14, 07:30 AM
I've had days were severe GAD and other types of anxiety have just worn me out. It sucks because I need energy to help me stay focused on tasks.

Anxiety can also lead to seizures which also lead to exhaustion.

But yes, my generalized anxiety especially after a full-on day/weeks of it can leave me tired.

I only sleep 4-6 hours a night and anxiety usually keeps me up longer than depression. I probably require more sleep but I never get it.

04-11-14, 10:03 AM
Absolutely. It's done me a lot of good to really look at what was triggering my anxiety and then figure out what to do about it. For the things I can control, I try to talk myself thru it and realize it's ok when things go bad. Which they probably won't but I have to remind myself of that. For things I can't control, I've had to teach myself there's nothing I can do about it so do the best I can to bring about a good outcome then let go.

This also comes from years of experiencing situtations over and over again. Like at one time I thought the planet would collapse if messed up socially. But now I know it's ok and nobody will die.

There's enormous relief in letting go.

04-11-14, 10:30 AM
I think, anxiety can definitely tire you out. It's a stress on the body and having to deal with all those crazy anxious thoughts can really sap your energy. When I've had a stressful day I'm shattered by evening. Also, anxiety can cause problems with sleep as well.

Depression usually comes with fatigue as well. Cymbalta did make me quite tired. All anti depressants except Sertraline did. Taking Cymbalta in the night before going to bed helped a bit though.

I'm also not a bundle of energy and have never been, not even when I wasn't depressed. It's extremely annoying and I'm not sure what might help. A healthy diet and regular exercise might but you said you are doing that anyway.

Have you considered doing a sleep study? It's possible that the quality of your sleep is not very good even if you are getting enough hours of sleep. Do you feel tired in the morning after waking up?

04-11-14, 12:15 PM
If you think about it, the way anxiety can be manifested physically: restlessness, racing thoughts so that brain is firing all over the place,preoccupation etc. It makes sense that it could be making you tired.

04-11-14, 01:51 PM
Welcome to the forum. :)

When we're experiencing anxiety, our bodies are in a constant "fight-flight-freeze" state.

This hasn't been mentioned yet, and I think people often get hung up on terminology when it comes to adrenal gland issues, specifically when it's referred to as "adrenal fatigue", and choose to ignore it or discredit anyone mentioning it, but it's a very real issue from my perspective and experience.

This link has a good breakdown of what our bodies experience during bouts of anxiety:

What Happens to your Body when you are Anxious?

Anxiety can cause many sensations in your body as it prepares for danger. These sensations are called the "alarm reaction", which takes place when the body's natural Alarm System (that is, the "fight-flight-freeze" response) has been activated.

Rapid heart beat and rapid breathing - When your body is preparing itself for action, it makes sure enough blood and oxygen is being circulated to your major muscle groups and essential organs, allowing you to run away or fight off danger.
Sweating - Sweating cools the body. It also makes the skin more slippery and difficult for an attacking animal or person to grab hold of you.
Nausea and stomach upset - When faced with danger, the body shuts down systems/processes that are not needed for survival; that way, it can direct energy to functions that are critical for survival. Digestion is one of the processes that is not needed at times of danger. Because of this, anxiety might lead to feelings of stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea.
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded - Because our blood and oxygen goes to major muscle groups when we are in danger, this means that we will breathe much faster in order to move oxygen toward those muscles. However, this can cause hyperventilation (too much oxygen from breathing very rapidly to prepare the body for action), which can makes you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Also, since most of your blood and oxygen is going to your arms and legs (for "fight or flight"), there is a slight decrease of blood to the brain, which can also make you dizzy. Don't worry though: the slight decrease in blood flow to the brain is not dangerous at all!
Tight or painful chest - Your muscles tense up as your body prepares for danger. So your chest may feel tight or painful when you take in large breaths while those chest muscles are tense.
Numbness and tingling sensations - Hyperventilation (taking in too much oxygen) can also cause numbness and tingling sensations. The tingling sensations is also be related to the fact that the hairs on our bodies often stand up when faced with danger to increase our sensitivity to touch or movement. Finally, fingers and toes may also feel numb/tingly as blood flows away from places where it is not needed (like our fingers) and towards major muscle groups that are needed (like our arms).
Unreality or bright vision - When responding to danger, our pupils dilate to let in more light and to make sure that we can see clearly enough. This reaction makes our environment look brighter or fuzzier, and sometimes less real.
Heavy legs - As the legs prepare for action (fight or flight), increased muscle tension, as well as increased blood flow to those muscles, can cause the sensation of heavy legs.

Hope this was helpful and may you find what works for you to bring some relief.

04-15-14, 01:10 AM
It's funny how much your life mirrors my own. In school my anxiety went through the roof causing to be extremely tense and detached leaving me exhausted after only one class. I too need at least 10 hours of sleep and anything less leaves me extremely cranky (something my friends don't understand). My ADD meds were the only thing to really ease my other symptoms to anxiety and I thank god I was ever diagnosed with ADD (when I turned 20ish). Also my SSRI's I took worked against my energy levels and the best ones that worked left me flat and exhausted leaving me constantly napping. Anyway, you're not alone, and I wish you the best of luck!

04-17-14, 02:14 PM
I think anxiety, or otherwise being en garde for whatever reason, can have a cumulative effect that results in fatigue due to carryover into the sleeping hours. This is because the inhibitory controls in your brain stop functioning as they should and unregulated glutamate causes spontaneous sleep arousal and sleep-stage changes. The stress response from poor sleep causes you to be even more en garde, which contributes to a vicious cycle. This process also definitely results in worsened depression. The brain's glutamate system is more delicate than you might think, and credible research has identified a glutamate mechanism to all manners of depression and anxiety disorders.

You can either play the crapshoot with prescription serotonergic drugs or addictive GABA agonists, but I've found that non-prescription NMDA antagonists, some of which shouldn't be mentioned here, are quite effective in this regard for me.

mrs. dobbs
04-17-14, 02:57 PM
makes me feel super tired

04-25-14, 05:41 PM
I think a sleep study may be needed. Also, a hormone test. I do strongly believe my adrenal glands are having problems. But I've been trying to resolve this issue on my own and cutting back on coffee and eating more protein, and I think it's helping.

05-05-14, 02:07 PM
I know I have total fatigue from my anxiety. Mine builds as the day goes on and then subsides in late afternoon. It will also be worse with certain situations.