February 27, 2024

If you have depression, you’ve probably experienced feeling so sluggish that even tiny tasks like washing your face seem insurmountable. This feeling — commonly known as “depression fatigue” — is more than mere tiredness.

“It is not the same feeling you get when you’re sleepy and need to go to bed, but more so a physical sense of having no energy in your body,” explains Michele Goldman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with Columbia Health in New York City and a media advisor for Hope for Depression Research Foundation.

In some people, depression fatigue occurs from time to time, in others it’s relentless. Its symptoms vary, too, showing up as everything from malaise, weakness, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and muscle aches to whole-body exhaustion, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

By making day-to-day functioning more difficult, depression fatigue can hinder a person’s ability to work or learn, strain their relationships, and send them to the doctor’s office more frequently, according to an interview with Maurizio Fava, MD, published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience.

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