We all feel tired or low on energy at times. This is generally caused by a lack of proper rest, and is usually resolved by taking a nap or having a few nights of good sleep.

Exhaustion, however, is a more long-term issue: it is a feeling of constant tiredness or weakness. It can be physical, mental, or a combination of both.

Chronic exhaustion can be a symptom, and/or a contributor to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.

Exhaustion is an important symptom to listen to, given that we are energetic beings, and that our life force is pure energy. Exhaustion can be a sign that there are energetic imbalances at play, which need to be addressed before they lead to more serious health issues, both mental and physical.

Symptoms of exhaustion

Exhaustion can manifest in a range of different ways, involving both physical discomfort and mental difficulties. For example:Better Health Channel. (2015). ‘Fatigue’. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue [accessed 25 Oct. 2017].Wedro, B. (2016). ‘Fatigue’. [online] Medicine Net. Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/fatigue/article.htm [accessed 25 Oct. 2017].

Mental symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Low motivation
  • Apathy
  • Depression or low mood
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Poor concentration or attention
  • Hallucinations

Physical symptoms

  • Chronic tiredness or sleepiness (unrefreshed by sleep)
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sore or aching muscles
  • Slowed reflexes and responses
  • Poor or blurry vision
  • Appetite loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Reduced immune system function

Describing exhaustion

Because it can affect both the body and the mind in several ways, an exhausted person might not use the word ‘exhausted’ to describe how they feel. Alternative terms can include:

  • ‘Tired’
  • ‘Jaded’
  • ‘Weary’
  • ‘Drained’
  • ‘Fatigued’
  • ‘Lethargic’
  • ‘Worn out’
  • ‘Feeling run down’
  • ‘Lacking energy’

Diagnosing exhaustion

It’s difficult to diagnose exhaustion through one test alone. The range of symptoms is wide, and the ways in which we describe how we experience it is wider. Doctors can instead use a variety of different methods, including:Better Health Channel. (2015). ‘Fatigue’. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue [accessed 25 Oct. 2017].

Our exhaustion may be caused by recent circumstances, of a physical kind (illness, surgery, changes in medication), or an emotional one (bereavement, harassment, difficulties at work).

Our exhaustion could also be caused by more long-term issues such as unresolved childhood trauma, psychological wounding, etc…

The doctor can check our bodies for signs of illness, or ask us detailed questions about our diet, fitness, and lifestyle.

It may be that our exhaustion is due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, or underlying health conditions.

Possible lab work could include tests on our blood, stool, saliva or urine to identify any physical causes of exhaustion, such as anaemia, hormonal imbalancesGut issuestoxicity, etc…