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Symptoms of Depression: Fatigue

September 20, 2022

Symptoms of Depression


by Jamal Ross

During a lifetime, about 12% of individuals may be affected by depression worldwide. In the United States and Europe, about 18% of individuals may deal with major depression. (1) Therefore, depression is one of the most common psychological illnesses worldwide. So far, we have discussed depressed mood and anhedonia, as well as weight, appetite, and sleep changes. Today, let us find out more about another symptom of depression: Changes in energy level, or fatigue

The DSM 5 lists feelings of fatigued, or tiredness, as another symptom of depression. As discussed previously, changes in sleep pattern can affect one’s energy level. (2) Beyond this, those with depression can become easily exhausted with simple tasks and feel the need to rest throughout the day. They can feel “weighed down” and “heavy.” This fatigue can persistent throughout the day. Due to this fatigue, those with depression may not even have the energy to clean their home or bath themselves properly. Simple tasks seem to cause great exhaustion.

Not only does regular exercise to improve diabetes and blood pressure control, it has also been shown to improve the symptom of depression when compared to relaxation techniques. (3, 4, 5) It is thought that exercise releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are thought to act on the brain to decrease pain, stress and increase happiness. (6) God has given us many tools to improve our mood including eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Yet, it takes a conscious effort to take advantage of what has been given.

There are many ways we can fight depression, including by praying and exercising. Therefore, exercise regularly, even when you feel sluggish. When you are finished enjoying the weather and exercising, take yourself on a date. In this, your emotions will improve and you will have a sense of accomplishment. You will be glad you pushed past fatigue and sluggishness and learned to enjoy the simple things in life, which you may not have noticed before a moment of depression. Remember, “The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.” (Psalm 23:3). Let God lift you above your depression that you may see the beauty of life. He will satisfy your weary soul and replenish you (Jeremiah 31:25). God will make your soul come alive. Just believe!

1. Krishnan R. Unipolar depression in adults: Epidemiology. In: UpToDate, Solomon D. (Eds), UpToDate, Waltham, MA (Assessed July 27, 2022)
2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.)
3. Thomas D, Elliott, Naughton GA. Exercise for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3
4. Cornelissen VA, Smart NA. Exercise training for blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Feb 1
5. Cooney GM, Dwan K, Greig CA, Lawlor DA, Rimer J, Waugh FR, McMurdo M, Mead GE. Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Sep 12.
6. Harber, V. J., & Sutton, J. R. (1984). Endorphins and exercise. Sports Medicine1(2), 154-171.

Jamal Ross

Dr. Jamal Ross is an internist and pediatrician who possesses a passion for prayer and preventative medicine. He has worked in the fields of primary care and hospital medicine.

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