Why am i so tired and emotional lately

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

Main page content

  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
    Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems.

    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.



  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users) (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61. 6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)
  • The percentage of people who were past month binge alcohol users was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (31.4%) compared with 22.9% of adults aged 26 or older and 4.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 139.7 million Americans age 12 or older were past month alcohol users, 65.8 million people were binge drinkers in the past month, and 16 million were heavy drinkers in the past month
  • About 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in that period (2019 NSDUH)
  • Approximately 14.5 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (2019 NSDUH)
  • Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, cancer, and other serious health conditions
  • Excessive alcohol use can also lead to risk-taking behavior, including driving while impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver daily


  • STOP Underage Drinking interagency portal - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Talk. They Hear You.
  • Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts
  • Talking with your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol

Relevant links:

  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
  • Department of Transportation Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
  • Alcohol Policy Information Systems Database (APIS)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



  • In 2020, 20.7% of people aged 12 or older (or 57. 3 million people) used nicotine products (i.e., used tobacco products or vaped nicotine) in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among past month users of nicotine products, nearly two thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (63.1%) vaped nicotine but did not use tobacco products. In contrast, 88.9% of past month nicotine product users aged 26 or older used only tobacco products (2020 NSDUH)
  • Data from the 2019 NSDUH reports that 58.1 million people were current (i.e., past month) tobacco users. Specifically, 45.9 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 were past month cigarette smokers (2019 NSDUH)
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States
  • The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health reports that more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use data:

  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey.  Among both middle and high school students, current use of e-cigarettes declined from 2019 to 2020, reversing previous trends and returning current e-cigarette use to levels similar to those observed in 2018
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women, especially because they contain nicotine and other chemicals


  • Tips for Teens: Tobacco
  • Tips for Teens: E-cigarettes
  • Implementing Tobacco Cessation Programs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Settings
  • Synar Amendment Program


  • Truth Initiative
  • FDA Center for Tobacco Products
  • CDC Office on Smoking and Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarettes
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: E-Cigarettes



  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin (2020 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 745,000 people had used heroin in the past year, based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • In 2019, there were 10.1 million people age 12 or older who misused opioids in the past year. The vast majority of people misused prescription pain relievers (2019 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 1.6 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • Opioid use, specifically injection drug use, is a risk factor for contracting HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The CDC reports that people who inject drugs accounted for 9 percent of HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2016
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Understanding the Epidemic, an average of 128 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose


  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
  • TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
  • Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
  • Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
  • The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction
  • Pregnancy Planning for Women Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Tips for Teens: Opioids
  • Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants
  • Tribal Opioid Response Grants
  • Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioids
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin
  • HHS Prevent Opioid Abuse
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
  • Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network



  • The percentage of people who used marijuana in the past year was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (34. 5%) compared with 16.3% of adults aged 26 or older and 10.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • 2019 NSDUH data indicates that 48.2 million Americans aged 12 or older, 17.5 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year
  • Approximately 4.8 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year (2019 NSDUH)
  • Marijuana can impair judgment and distort perception in the short term and can lead to memory impairment in the long term
  • Marijuana can have significant health effects on youth and pregnant women.


  • Know the Risks of Marijuana
  • Marijuana and Pregnancy
  • Tips for Teens: Marijuana

Relevant links:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers on Marijuana
  • CDC Marijuana and Public Health

Emerging Trends in Substance Misuse:

  • Methamphetamine—In 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Cocaine—In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
  • Kratom—In 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.


  • Tips for Teens: Methamphetamine
  • Tips for Teens: Cocaine
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

More SAMHSA publications on substance use prevention and treatment.

Last Updated: 04/27/2022

Strong constant fatigue and weakness, what to do if there is not enough strength?

Everyone knows the feeling of tiredness and lack of energy, especially during periods of bad weather or outbreaks of viral infections. Normally, this problem is solved with the help of proper rest and sleep. But when such a state drags on and significantly reduces the quality of life, this is a signal that the time has come to think about the state of health of the nervous system.

Fatigue is a functional state of the body with a significant decrease in energy, performance and motivation, which affects both the physical and mental well-being of a person. As a rule, constant fatigue is a symptom, not a separate condition. In most cases, it is caused by a combination of lifestyle, health characteristics and social problems.

Constant feeling of fatigue can cause a variety of physical, mental and emotional symptoms:

  • Headache, dizziness
  • Reduced immunity, frequent infectious diseases
  • Lack of feeling of proper rest after sleep in the morning
  • Muscle weakness, body aches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Slow reaction time, problems with coordination
  • Constant lethargy, inertia, apathy, laziness, lack of motivation
  • Deterioration of thinking processes: decrease in attention, concentration and ingenuity, which means deterioration in educational and work activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems with short-term and long-term memory
  • Exacerbations of allergic reactions
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes
  • Vision problems

Symptoms tend to get worse after exercise.

Clinically significant is the feeling of fatigue with accompanying signs for two or more weeks.

Certain symptoms may predominate depending on the type of fatigue. There are two of them:

Physical fatigue: Normally, muscle fatigue gradually accumulates during exercise and disappears after rest. Pathological cases are associated with lack or lack of sleep and health problems. It becomes difficult for a person to perform ordinary physical actions that he easily coped with before. For example, a patient who used to go to the gym regularly and with pleasure, completely quits training due to lack of strength. The problem can also affect completely routine matters: climbing the stairs to the second floor, walking to the nearest store. Muscle weakness will be a mandatory symptom.

Mental fatigue: it is difficult for the patient to maintain not only physical, but also mental activity. Memory, concentration, learning ability are impaired. Eternal fatigue and drowsiness do not allow even light mental work to be done. This condition affects the reaction and attention of the driver. According to statistics, sleepy people at the wheel get into car accidents three times more often than others. This is comparable to the risks that are associated with the state of intoxication.

It happens that a person sleeps enough every day, eats normally and leads an orderly life, but constant weakness and fatigue do not go away. Feeling exhausted can make it impossible to manage even the necessary daily activities. This means that the condition requires professional diagnosis and possibly treatment.

Causes of fatigue

Fatigue can be conditionally divided into physiological (normal) and pathological.

With physiological fatigue of the body, the causes are usually the following:

  • Active recreation
  • Emotional outburst, overexcitement
  • Sports training
  • hard work
  • Biorhythm shift due to travel or flights

Pathological causes of fatigue:

  • Mental and psychological problems: mental overload, chronic stress, anxiety disorder, depression, alcohol or drug abuse
  • Medications: Incorrect dosage, abrupt withdrawal and incorrect use of certain drugs are a common reason why constant fatigue, weakness and loss of energy do not go away
  • Insomnia: if a person does not get enough sleep, then the body is exhausted and chronic fatigue sets in
  • Avitaminosis: vitamins and minerals are involved in the activity of the nervous system and are responsible for mental work
  • Chronic diseases: the presence of heart failure, arrhythmia, hepatitis, COPD, rheumatoid arthritis, hormonal imbalance, cancer, infectious diseases and other diseases are common causes of weakness and fatigue
  • Overweight and eating disorders: in this case, the body is forced to experience an increased load on the cardiovascular, skeletal and other systems, is prone to muscle and joint pain and the development of conditions such as diabetes or sleep apnea
  • Chronic pain: such patients often wake up at night and are in a state of permanent tension, which may be associated with constant fatigue
  • Viral infections and subsequent rehabilitation period
  • Lack of physical activity

Separately, it is worth talking about such a reason as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS, myalgic encephalomyelitis). This is no longer just a symptom, but a separate disease, which is characterized by a high degree of fatigue without a somatic disorder corresponding to the state. Such patients may wonder why they are tired and apathetic all the time, almost constantly, since they are hypersensitive to even light exertion.

Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are able to conduct some kind of relatively productive activity for only a few hours a day, or even less. It's not about hard work, creative projects, or intense workouts - such people are exhausted even by talking about abstract topics or going to the nearest store. They have to spend most of their time trying to rest and recover.

For persistent weakness and fatigue, the causes in this case include viral infections, primarily the Epstein-Barr virus, and problems with the immune system. The etiology of this disease is still being studied. Risk factors are age over 40, female gender, and stress.

The main symptom of CFS is severe fatigue that lasts at least six months and is not relieved by rest. Post-exercise weakness is characteristic, which persists for at least 24 hours.

Constant companions of chronic fatigue syndrome are various sleep disorders, cognitive disorders, muscle and joint pain, orthostatic hypotension, painful lymph nodes and frequent colds. With constant fatigue, the reasons for the decline in the quality of life lie not only in poor health, but in the fact that it becomes almost impossible to lead a full-fledged lifestyle: there is no strength for previous hobbies and even work, self-development and learning new things stop. It becomes difficult to maintain daily contact with people up to social isolation.

Symptoms of the disorder may wax and wane, which can create a false sense of well-being. But, unfortunately, in the pathological state of severe fatigue, the causes are rarely eliminated without specialized treatment. Therefore, despite temporary remissions, the old problems return with a vengeance.

It is always important to understand why you feel tired. If the condition lasts for a considerable time and it’s not just a too busy day, then you need to consult a specialist, because this not only interferes with life, but can also be a symptom of a serious mental or somatic disorder.

What to do with constant fatigue

If you are sure that your condition is caused by a natural cause and is a normal reaction of the body, then you should give yourself a rest. In cases where the cause is unknown or pathological, only a specialist can tell you what to do if you constantly feel tired.

Since fatigue is often associated with insomnia and disruption of the nervous system, it is necessary to consult a psychiatrist-psychotherapist and a neurologist. Depending on the situation, the help of a therapist, psychologist and other specialists may be needed.

There are no diagnostic tests that can pinpoint the exact reason why the patient constantly feels tired. This difficult-to-diagnose condition that can mimic other health problems requires ruling out a number of other disorders and identifying the underlying cause.

The elimination of this pathological condition requires special knowledge and experience from the specialist, since there is no standard treatment regimen. The use of one drug is not enough; correction of prescriptions in the course of therapy is often required. Therefore, with constant fatigue and weakness, only a highly qualified specialist can determine what to do to ensure that the result is as effective and lasting as possible.

This condition affects many organs and systems. With general fatigue of the body, what to do can be decided only after the examination. It may include laboratory testing, exercise tests, instrumental methods, and mandatory psychiatric diagnosis.

Treatment should primarily relieve symptoms. It may include:

  1. Medications. They are prescribed depending on the patient's complaints. These can be painkillers, antidepressants, sleeping pills, antihistamines. With constant fatigue, what to do needs to be decided not only with new drugs, but also to correct the previous treatment of other disorders, if any. In this case, there is no universal drug - therapy is prescribed based on individual needs.
  2. Psychotherapy: autogenic training and cognitive-behavioral therapy are used, aimed at normalizing the psycho-emotional background, relaxation and restoring the dynamic balance of the body.
  3. Advice for normalizing lifestyle: The patient should receive advice on rest regimen, dietary therapy, and restoration of physical activity.

If you caught yourself on such questions as “I am constantly tired, what should I do? Why can't I rest and pull myself together? How to stop this?” — don’t expect everything to go away by itself. Contact a competent specialist, because it is not known what is hidden behind these symptoms. Chronic fatigue develops differently for everyone: it happens that it is enough to normalize the lifestyle and eliminate beriberi, but sometimes complex complex therapy is required. Remember that fatigue quickly depletes the body, reduces immunity and prevents you from leading an active life.

Why we so often suffer from overwork and burnout

  • David Robson
  • BBC Future

Image copyright Thinkstock

Today, more and more people suffer from so-called burnout - but is our modern life to be blamed for this problem? Maybe physical, mental and emotional overwork is as old as the world? Browser BBC Future tried to answer this question.

A few years ago, Anna Katharina Schaffner fell victim to an epidemic of overwork.

It all started with a kind of mental and physical inertia - in her own words, "a feeling of heaviness" in everything she did.

Even the simplest daily activities took away all her strength, and it became more and more difficult to concentrate on work.

  • Test "Am I prone to depression?"
  • How to identify and treat mental disorders?
  • Burgers, sweets and other fast food - the way to depression?
  • Linked between depression and dementia

At the same time, in those moments when she tried to relax, she found herself checking her mail with manic persistence, as if incoming messages might suddenly find the answer to all her problems.

Along with fatigue came a feeling of emotional depression: "I was disappointed, I didn't trust anyone and didn't hope for anything."

These feelings are familiar to many who have been diagnosed with overwork, from Pope Benedict XVI to Mariah Carey.

According to the media, this ailment is an exceptionally modern phenomenon.

Almost every time, turning on the TV, Schaffner got on some show that discussed the tests that a person undergoes in a culture of round-the-clock activity.

"All observers agreed that our era is the most terrible of all - just the end of the world," she says.

But is it true? Perhaps periods of apathy and alienation are as much an integral part of human life as colds and fractures?

Schaffner, who works as a literary critic and studies the history of medicine at the University of Kent (UK), decided to explore this topic.

She published the results of her research in The History of Overwork, a fascinating account of how doctors and philosophers determined the limits of the human mind and body - and the limits of human strength.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Image caption

Is it true that overwork is an exclusively modern disease?

Skip the Podcast and continue reading.


What was that?

We quickly, simply and clearly explain what happened, why it's important and what's next.


The End of the Story Podcast

There is no doubt that overwork is a real problem today, and the most striking examples of this scourge appear in areas that require maximum emotional stress, such as healthcare.

According to a study conducted by German doctors, it turned out that almost 50% of therapists suffer from "burnout" - for example, doctors complained that they felt tired throughout the day, and in the morning they were exhausted by the very thought of working.

It is interesting to note that men and women seem to cope with this syndrome differently: for example, a recent study in Finland found that overworked male employees were much more likely to take extended sick leave than women who experienced the same problem.

Since depression is also usually accompanied by apathy and alienation, some have argued that burnout is just an inoffensive name for the same phenomenon.

In his book, Schaffner cites an article published in the German press, which said that burnout is just a "modified version" of depression for high-class specialists.

"Depression happens only to losers, - the author of the article writes. - And burnout is a diagnosis of winners - more precisely, former winners."

In general, however, the two diseases are usually separated.

"Theorists generally agree that depression involves a loss of self-confidence or even self-hatred or contempt, while burnout often does not change the perception of oneself," explains Schaffner.

"Burnout anger is usually directed not at oneself, but rather at the organization in which the person works, at the clients with whom he interacts, or at the socio-political or economic system as a whole. "

Burnout should also not be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome, which occurs as a result of prolonged (at least six months) and severe physical and mental stress, and many patients suffering from this disease complain of a physical sensation of pain at the slightest attempt to perform any action .

Image copyright Thinkstock

Image caption

The modern view is that our constant pursuit of productivity is constantly stressing us out, and this leads to overwork

According to some reports, our brains are simply not adapted to work in modern conditions.

Employers are increasingly concerned about productivity, and employees feel the emotional need for self-fulfillment through work - all this entails constant stress.

Initially, a person developed such a state of tension for self-defense in a dangerous situation.

But if a person is in it day after day, he experiences a constant surge of stress hormones, under the onslaught of which our body is forced to constantly resist.

At the same time, for many people, the tension does not end with the working day. In cities (and in our many gadgets), life is in full swing around the clock, and this culture does not allow people to rest easy day or night.

Without being able to relax the mind and body, we are dangerously close to a state of complete exhaustion.

At least theoretically this is so.

However, by studying historical sources, Schaffner found that people suffered from extreme fatigue long before modern working conditions came into force.

One of the earliest descriptions of fatigue is found in the writings of the ancient Roman physician Galen.

Like Hippocrates, he believed that all physical and mental illnesses are due to an imbalance in the relative balance of the four fluids - blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile.

The accumulation of black bile, according to Galen, leads to a slowdown in blood circulation and blockage of the pathways of the brain, which entails apathy, numbness, fatigue, passivity and melancholy.

Although we now know that this hypothesis has no scientific basis, the idea that our brain is filled with some kind of tarry liquid certainly reflects the feeling of foggy consciousness that many overworked people complain about today.

By the time Western culture was influenced by Christianity, overwork was perceived as a sign of spiritual weakness.

Schaffner points to a work written by Evagrius of Pontus in the 4th century, which spoke, in particular, of the "noonday demon" inciting the monk to look thoughtlessly out the window.

"This state was attributed to a lack of faith and a lack of will - they say, the flesh overcame the spirit," says Schaffner.

She notes how one monk said that he stubbornly and relentlessly hunted down brothers who were carried away by empty talk, instead of doing useful work, much like today, in the 21st century, sufferers are feverishly checking social networks.

Religious and astrological explanations for this affliction prevailed until the dawn of modern medicine, when physicians began to interpret the symptoms of fatigue as a manifestation of neurasthenia.

Image copyright, Thinkstock

Image caption,

With the advent of modern medicine, doctors began to diagnose neurasthenia. these pulses can dissipate, as in poorly insulated wires.

Neurasthenia has been diagnosed by a number of intellectuals, from Oscar Wilde to Charles Darwin, Thomas Mann and Virginia Woolf.

Physicians blamed the social changes brought about by the industrial revolution for this disease, although nervous diseases were also attributed to sophistication and high intelligence - some patients were downright puffed up with pride at their "prestigious" ailment.

Although the diagnosis of "neurasthenia" has become very rare today, the term is often used by physicians in China and Japan, sometimes also being criticized for resorting to this word as an alternative inoffensive name for depression.

Obviously, throughout the history of mankind, many people felt as exhausted as our contemporaries, and this indicates that fatigue and overwork are inherent in human nature.

"Overwork has always existed, - Schaffner is convinced. - Over time, only the idea of ​​its causes and consequences has changed."

In the Middle Ages it was the midday demon, in the 19th century it was the introduction of education for women, and in the 1970s it was the flourishing of capitalism based on the shameless exploitation of workers.

In fact, we still do not really understand what exactly gives us a "rush of energy" and how they can end so quickly in the absence of a lot of physical activity.

We do not know whether the symptoms of fatigue are born in the body or in the mind, whether they are the result of social order or our own behavior.

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle: through the gradual realization of the connection between body and mind, it became clear that feelings and beliefs can have a profound effect on physiology.

For example, we know that emotional distress can exacerbate inflammation and pain, and in some cases even cause seizures and blindness.

"This disease can hardly be called purely physiological or purely mental, because both are often affected," states Schaffner.

In light of this, it is not surprising that the circumstances of our lives can cloud our consciousness and practically paralyze the body with apathy.

And this fact should in no way be interpreted as if these symptoms are a figment of the imagination or the result of a simulation - they can be as real as a fever with the flu.

Schaffner does not deny that modern life is full of stress. In her opinion, this is partly due to the fact that people are becoming more independent - a growing number of professions that give the freedom to independently manage their working time.

In the absence of well-defined boundaries, many people overexert themselves. “Mainly, this is how our fear of not achieving the desired results and not showing what we are capable of manifests itself - the fear of not living up to expectations,” she believes.

She also agrees that email and social media can drain our energy.

"Technology, which was conceived as a means of saving our forces, has in many ways become stressors themselves," says Schaffner.

It has become more difficult than ever to forget about work after leaving the office.

Image copyright, Thinkstock

Image caption,

Blurring the boundaries between work and play can exacerbate overwork

If history has taught us anything, it's that it's not so easy to cure this ailment.

In the past, patients with neurasthenia could be prescribed prolonged bed rest, but often boredom only aggravated the ailment.

Today, those who suffer from burnout can be offered cognitive behavioral therapy to help manage emotional exhaustion and find ways to restore vitality.

"Fatigue remedies are very individual. You have to figure out for yourself what takes away your energy and what restores it," Schaffner explains.

Learn more