Can Anxiety Cause Fatigue?

Anxiety and fatigue are two prevalent challenges that many individuals face in their daily lives. Anxiety, characterized by excessive worry and fear, can have a profound impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Fatigue, on the other hand, manifests as a persistent state of tiredness and lack of energy, often hindering productivity and overall quality of life. But can anxiety cause fatigue? 

This article aims to explore the potential relationship between anxiety and fatigue, shedding light on whether anxiety can be a contributing factor to the experience of fatigue. 

By delving into the psychological mechanisms and potential explanations behind this connection, we can gain a deeper understanding of how anxiety may impact our energy levels and overall fatigue. 

Moreover, we will discuss effective strategies for managing anxiety-related fatigue and improving overall well-being.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a common psychological condition characterized by excessive worry, fear, and apprehension. 

It can manifest in various forms, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. 

To comprehend the impact of anxiety on fatigue, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of this condition.

A. Definition and Types of Anxiety Disorders

  • Anxiety refers to a state of heightened and persistent unease, often accompanied by physical symptoms like restlessness and rapid heartbeat.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) involves chronic worry about everyday situations and events.
  • Panic Disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks, which are intense periods of fear and discomfort.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder revolves around an intense fear of social interactions and scrutiny.
  • Specific Phobias involve extreme fear and avoidance of specific objects or situations.

B. Symptoms and Effects of Anxiety on Daily Life

  • Symptoms include excessive worry, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.
  • Anxiety can significantly impact one’s daily life, affecting work or school performance, relationships, and overall quality of life.
  • It may lead to avoidance behaviors, isolating oneself from social activities or situations that trigger anxiety.

Read More: Understanding Heavy Aching Legs and Fatigue: Exploring the Causes and Solutions

can anxiety cause fatigue

C. Common Causes and Triggers of Anxiety

  • Anxiety can have various causes, including genetic predisposition, brain chemistry imbalances, and environmental factors.
  • Traumatic life events, chronic stress, and certain medical conditions can also contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
  • Triggers for anxiety differ for each individual, but they may include social situations, specific phobias, or even uncertainty about the future.

Understanding Fatigue

Fatigue is a state of persistent tiredness or exhaustion that can significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental well-being. 

To grasp the potential relationship between anxiety and fatigue, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of fatigue itself.

A. Definition and Types of Fatigue

  • Fatigue refers to a feeling of extreme tiredness or lack of energy that goes beyond normal tiredness.
  • Physical Fatigue: Involves a decline in physical stamina and the ability to perform tasks requiring physical exertion.
  • Mental Fatigue: Relates to decreased cognitive function, difficulty concentrating, and mental exhaustion.

B. Symptoms and Impact of Fatigue on Physical and Mental Well-being

  • Symptoms include persistent tiredness, lack of motivation, decreased energy levels, and difficulty initiating or completing tasks.
  • Fatigue can affect physical performance, impair decision-making skills, and increase the risk of accidents.
  • It can contribute to decreased productivity, poor mood, irritability, and difficulties in personal relationships.

C. Common Causes of Fatigue

  • Physical Factors: Lack of sleep, sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, chronic illness, and medication side effects can contribute to fatigue.
  • Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, depression, and emotional distress can significantly impact energy levels.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Excessive workload, lack of work-life balance, and unhealthy habits like excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption can lead to fatigue.

Can Anxiety Cause Fatigue?

Anxiety and fatigue often intertwine, and understanding the relationship between the two is crucial for effectively managing both conditions. 

Exploring the intersection of anxiety and fatigue sheds light on how these two states can influence and exacerbate each other.

A. Overview of Studies and Research on the Connection

  • Numerous studies have examined the relationship between anxiety and fatigue, highlighting a significant association between the two.
  • Research indicates that individuals with anxiety disorders are more likely to experience fatigue compared to those without anxiety.

B. Psychological Mechanisms Underlying the Relationship

  • Anxiety can lead to hyperarousal, a state of heightened physiological and psychological activation, which can deplete energy levels and contribute to fatigue.
  • Fatigue can further intensify anxiety by increasing feelings of vulnerability and impacting one’s ability to cope with stressors.

C. How Anxiety Contributes to Fatigue and Vice Versa

  • Anxiety can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to poor-quality sleep or insomnia, which in turn contributes to fatigue.
  • Excessive worry and rumination associated with anxiety can consume mental energy, leaving individuals feeling mentally drained and fatigued.

D. The Impact of Chronic Anxiety on Energy Levels and Overall Fatigue

  • Chronic anxiety, characterized by persistent and long-term worry, can significantly drain an individual’s energy reserves, leading to chronic fatigue.
  • Heightened vigilance, increased muscle tension, and the physiological effects of anxiety can further contribute to a sense of fatigue and exhaustion.

Anxiety-Induced Fatigue: Potential Explanations

Anxiety can be a significant factor contributing to fatigue, and understanding the potential explanations behind anxiety-induced fatigue can provide insights into addressing and managing this complex issue.

A. Neurochemical Imbalances and Their Role in Anxiety-Related Fatigue

  • Anxiety is associated with dysregulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which play a role in mood and energy regulation.
  • Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can disrupt energy levels and contribute to fatigue.

Read More: Sudden Increase in Appetite and Fatigue in Female

can anxiety cause fatigue

B. Disrupted Sleep Patterns and Its Influence on Both Anxiety and Fatigue

  • Anxiety often leads to sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, or non-restorative sleep.
  • Poor-quality sleep can exacerbate anxiety and contribute to fatigue, as the body doesn’t have sufficient time to rest and recharge.

C. Behavioral and Lifestyle Factors that Exacerbate Anxiety and Fatigue

  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive caffeine intake, alcohol use, or unhealthy eating habits, can worsen anxiety symptoms and lead to fatigue.
  • Lack of physical activity and sedentary behavior can also contribute to both anxiety and fatigue.

D. The Role of Stress and Its Impact on Energy Levels and Fatigue

  • Chronic stress, often associated with anxiety, places a significant burden on the body and depletes energy resources, leading to fatigue.
  • Prolonged exposure to stress hormones, such as cortisol, can disrupt the body’s natural energy regulation mechanisms.

Managing Anxiety-Related Fatigue

Effectively managing anxiety-related fatigue is crucial for improving overall well-being and restoring energy levels. 

By implementing targeted strategies, individuals can address both anxiety and fatigue simultaneously, leading to a better quality of life.

A. Seeking Professional Help: Therapy and Medication Options

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety and fatigue.
  • Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines may be prescribed by healthcare professionals to alleviate anxiety symptoms and improve energy levels.

B. Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Anxiety and Combat Fatigue

  • Regular physical exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and boost energy levels by releasing endorphins and improving overall well-being.
  • Adopting a balanced diet rich in nutrients, staying hydrated, and avoiding excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption can help regulate energy levels and promote better sleep.

C. Self-Care Practices to Improve Overall Well-being

  • Engaging in relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, combating fatigue.
  • Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a soothing sleep environment, and practicing good sleep hygiene can improve sleep quality and alleviate fatigue.

D. The Importance of Stress Management Techniques

  • Implementing stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, time management, and setting realistic expectations, can help reduce anxiety and prevent its impact on energy levels.
  • Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and self-care, such as hobbies, spending time in nature, or engaging in social support networks, can also alleviate anxiety-related fatigue.

Read More: Extreme Fatigue Before Period: Causes and Coping Strategies


In conclusion, the relationship between anxiety and fatigue is complex and intertwined. Anxiety can contribute to fatigue through various mechanisms, such as neurochemical imbalances, disrupted sleep patterns, and lifestyle factors. 

Similarly, fatigue can intensify anxiety by diminishing coping abilities and exacerbating stress levels. Understanding this intersection is crucial for effectively managing both conditions.

To address anxiety-related fatigue, seeking professional help through therapy and medication options can provide valuable support. 

Lifestyle modifications, including regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and self-care practices, can help alleviate both anxiety and fatigue.

Additionally, implementing stress management techniques and prioritizing relaxation can contribute to overall well-being.

It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with anxiety and fatigue is unique, and individualized approaches to management may be necessary. 

Seeking professional guidance and adopting a holistic approach can lead to significant improvements in energy levels, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.


Can anxiety cause fatigue?

Yes, anxiety can contribute to fatigue due to factors like neurochemical imbalances and disrupted sleep patterns.

How does anxiety affect energy levels?

Anxiety can deplete energy levels through heightened arousal and excessive worry, leading to mental and physical fatigue.

Can fatigue worsen anxiety symptoms?

Yes, fatigue can intensify anxiety by decreasing coping abilities and increasing vulnerability to stressors.

What are some lifestyle modifications to combat anxiety-related fatigue?

Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, practicing relaxation techniques, and establishing a consistent sleep routine can help combat fatigue associated with anxiety.

Are there medications available for anxiety-related fatigue?

Certain medications, such as SSRIs or benzodiazepines, may be prescribed by healthcare professionals to alleviate anxiety symptoms and improve energy levels.

How important is stress management in managing anxiety-related fatigue?

Stress management techniques play a crucial role in managing anxiety-related fatigue as chronic stress can deplete energy levels and worsen symptoms.

Can self-care practices help in reducing anxiety-related fatigue?

Yes, self-care practices like mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, and social support can reduce anxiety and alleviate fatigue.

Medical References

  • American Psychological Association. (2017). Understanding chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved from
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.). Anxiety and physical illness. Retrieved from
  • Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Unmasking the causes and treatments of chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved from
  • Mayo Clinic. (2021). Anxiety disorders. Retrieved from
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Generalized anxiety disorder. Retrieved from
  • National Sleep Foundation. (2021). Anxiety and sleep. Retrieved from
  • Sleep Foundation. (2022). How to combat fatigue. Retrieved from

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