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Is Your Fatigue Actually Depression in Disguise?

When someone says, “I’m tired”, it doesn’t always mean that the person lacks sleep or is exhausted from strenuous, physical activity. Depression and fatigue share many of the same symptoms. Some patients who suffer from depression report fatigue, or simply mention “feeling tired” because they do not recognize these symptoms as signs of depression. In addition, many patients knowingly refrain from reporting these types of symptoms to their doctor for fear or hesitancy of being diagnosed with depression due to negative connotations associated with the condition.

Depression can present in many different forms and have a variety of mental, emotional and physical symptoms. Some people who suffer from depression describe feeling as though they are in a permanent state of exhaustion that even the greatest amount of sleep cannot fix. They may also struggle to do simple daily tasks like taking a shower or feel as though they are a burden on family members. Other symptoms include feelings of being stuck in life, having to fake a smile every day and not getting pleasure from activities that normally would elicit joy.

Signs of depression are not always easy to identify. It is easy to dismiss a teen or young adult who sleeps all day as lazy and unmotivated. It can also be difficult to understand how someone who smiles often and appears outwardly happy could be depressed. 

However, not every feeling of tiredness or fatigue is a sign of depression. In fact, there are many physiological causes of fatigue that are not associated with depression at all, including impaired thyroid function, gut dysbiosis, adrenal fatigue, micronutrient deficiencies or imbalances and hormonal imbalances.

Depression can be differentiated from fatigue with the help of your health care practitioner. If you think that you or a loved one might be suffering from depression or fatigue, make sure to reach out to a qualified healthcare professional for the correct diagnosis and to develop an individualized treatment plan. 

Dr. Erica Soria, ND of Renaissance Health Centre

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