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Fatigue, Depression or Excessive Sleepiness

Fatigue, Depression or Excessive Sleepiness

At the end of a long day or after a strenuous workout, tiredness is a completely normal feeling. Sometimes, however, tiredness occurs without any known cause. When this happens regularly and does not improve with adequate rest, it may be a sign of another underlying problem. Chronic feelings of tiredness are not healthy and should be addressed by a medical professional.


Feeling tired is the body's way of letting one know they need to rest. Most people feel tired every night for perfectly rational reasons. Feeling tired and run down may occur as the result of stress, lack of sleep, or poor nutrition. In many cases, these feelings can be alleviated by getting a good night of sleep and improving one's eating habits. Reducing the amount of stress in one's life may also be helpful.

Chronic Tiredness

When tiredness is a problem despite positive lifestyle changes, it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. Most health problems cause tiredness or fatigue to some degree. Feeling tired while sick with a cold or dealing with seasonal allergies is entirely reasonable, and the symptom tends to go away on its own when other symptoms subside. Chronic tiredness that does not seem to have a cause, however, is not healthy.

Common Causes

Common causes for chronic tiredness include thyroid problems, psychological problems like depression, low iron, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It may also be caused by almost any type of underlying disease or condition. While many cases are mild, tiredness can be caused by heart problems and cancer, so it is essential to see a doctor when symptoms are severe or continuous.


Diagnosing the cause of tiredness can be difficult. Doctors usually begin by collecting the patient's complete medical history and performing a physical examination. Blood tests and urinalysis are commonly used to look for thyroid problems and iron deficiencies. They may also reveal other underlying issues. When these tests do not provide conclusive results, additional diagnostic testing may need to be performed.

Treatment Options

The treatment for chronic tiredness is usually based on the cause. Treating the cause often cures the symptom. When a specific reason cannot be isolated, it may be necessary to try several treatments before finding one that is effective. Many problems can be treated through prescription medications. In cases of psychological problems, counseling may be necessary. When left untreated, tiredness can cause problems in one's day to day life, and underlying conditions may become worse.