The Relationship Between Anxiety and Fatigue

Updated October 5, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Understanding the relationships between fatigue and anxiety is imperative to comprehending mental and emotional health. Anxiety pertains to tension or unease regarding events that exist in either the past, present, or future. Fatigue is a depleted emotional and mental state which occurs when someone is beyond physically tired or exhausted.

Uncover The Sneaky Ways Anxiety Could Be Controlling Your Life

Anxiety and fatigue definitely share a unique relationship. However, in order to comprehend this relationship, it's first important to review anxiety and fatigue as individual states of being and furthermore understand what they are truly all about. Only from this point can the relationship between anxiety and fatigue be truly dissected and explored.

Briefly Reviewing Anxiety

In and of itself, anxiety is a fairly normal emotion. When a person feels anxious, he may experience tension, heightened senses, and general apprehension. This is fine in certain cases and, as a matter of fact, it's typical to feel anxiety in situations that are foreign or otherwise different to us as human beings. Many individuals feel anxious right before attending a job interview, speaking in front of an audience, or trying something new for the first time. People of any age group, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity can feel anxiety at some point.

Problems with anxiety arise when the emotion begins to override a person's ability to succeed and function in their day-to-day life. Debilitating anxiety can impact a person's family, career, reputation, relationships, and so much more. Ideally, anxiety should be managed and properly addressed before it reaches this level. There are a variety of factors and circumstances which can generate or worsen anxiety. Each individual has their own triggers that create further anxiety in their life.

Briefly Reviewing Fatigue

Put simply, fatigue occurs when an individual is extremely tired; in this particular case, the tiredness can exist on a physical, emotional, or mental level. It's not uncommon for fatigue to exist on more than one or each of the combined, aforementioned levels. It goes without saying that by the time someone has arrived at the place of being fatigued, they're in some very real trouble.

An individual who suffers from fatigue is going to take hits to their emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. These hits can manifest in the form of emotional indifference, forgetting previously made obligations, lacking motivation, struggling to concentrate on matters of importance and so much more. Thankfully, there are various treatments which individuals can undergo in order to determine the root cause of their fatigue and then take the necessary steps towards addressing this mental health issue.

An Overview Of The Relationship Between Anxiety And Fatigue

Anxiety and fatigue are closely linked. More and more medical associations and peer-reviewed studies like this longitudinal twin study and this population-based study are proving that mental health is a significant factor in the development of fatigue. Mental health conditions can be utterly exhausting, so it's no wonder that fatigue is often caused by anxiety. Not only does anxiety put you in a constant fight or flight response but it also depletes the adrenal glands, which results in adrenaline crashes and a constant state of exhaustion.

But when you get down to it, the relationship between anxiety and fatigue is inherently dark. It represents a vicious cycle that so many people have become familiar with and accustomed to. It's important to realize that fatigue generally comes along once anxiety has been present and has begun to serve as a debilitating force in a person's life. By the time someone becomes fatigued, he has reached complete and utter exhaustion, a state that negatively impacts him in all areas of his life. He is in a constant state of exhaustion, and even the simplest tasks seem impossible to complete.

The Common Theme

When dealing with anxiety and fatigue, the common theme is the existence of an unresolved problem in someone's life. Fatigue often occurs after exposure to long-term anxiety. Nobody becomes fatigued overnight. As a matter of fact, fatigue happens when someone is very close to their breaking point and their energy levels are shot. This state is not uncommon during the more serious levels of anxiety. In order to get to the bottom of anxiety and fatigue, the afflicted individual must first confront the problem that he is dealing with and then take action toward fixing it. This may be a difficult process, but without making the right decisions, anxiety and fatigue will only worsen.

The Vicious Cycle

Extreme anxiety breeds fatigue which in turns leads to more anxiety - and the vicious cycle goes round and round, leading to long-term anxiety and chronic fatigue problems. Believe it or not, anxiety can very easily wear on people. It is incredibly draining to habitually feel on edge, have trouble focusing, and feel crushing worry about various things in life. When this is allowed to go on or when anxiety is simply swept under the rug, it festers, worsens, and before you know it, fatigue arrives and only makes matters worse. In a nutshell, anxiety drains individuals' mental, physical and emotional energy, thus leaving nothing left other than fatigue and utter exhaustion.


In many regards, fatigue is dependent upon the existence of ongoing anxiety. There are many forms of anxiety. When someone experiences mild anxiety, it's usually over a fairly minor event, and this feeling generally subsides. There isn't enough time for the adverse, worst impacts of anxiety to eat away at someone. Fatigue symptoms come as a natural after-effect of simply being unable to cope with the strain of constant anxiety.

Unresolved Past Trauma

It is not uncommon to see anxiety and fatigue manifest in situations where there is unresolved trauma from a person's past. So many individuals would be amazed to learn just how frequently very serious issues are swept under the rug, never properly addressed, and ignored as if they don't exist. Many people do this with the best of intentions, as they believe that they're being strong and moving forward with their lives. However, what's really happening is that the root of the problem is lying dormant and creating a breeding ground for anxiety and subsequent fatigue.

Dealing with our issues, regardless of how troubling or uncomfortable they may be, is so very crucial. The initial discomfort of handling certain things now will always trump the discomfort of anxiety, fatigue, and other consequences which come as a result of allowing problems to remain unchecked. You owe it to yourself to make sure that you are in the best state of mind; this means being healthy and setting yourself up to do well, even if this means taking some time to reflect and deal with things which you would rather ignore.

How To Cope

If you're dealing with fatigue caused by anxiety and wondering how to cope, you are not alone. This is a struggle that countless people face, and your willingness to address this head-on is an amazing first step. There are a series of steps that you can take as you work to battle anxiety and fatigue. Some methods may work better for some people than others, but there is guidance and wisdom that anyone can gain and make the most of.

Uncover The Sneaky Ways Anxiety Could Be Controlling Your Life

Regain Your Energy

At its core, the combination of anxiety and fatigue relies upon an ongoing lack of energy. By regaining your energy and strength, you can fight anxiety and fatigue and become a stronger version of yourself. In order to do this, you're going to first require a healthy lifestyle. This means eating a nutritious diet, getting a good night’s sleep every night, and abstaining from things that aren't good for you, such as alcohol and caffeine.

Regaining your energy won't happen overnight. There will be inevitable challenges and maybe even occasional setbacks. You may need to make some serious environmental and lifestyle changes, such as establishing proper sleep hygiene, cutting out activities that prevent you from getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet to maintain a healthy immune system and blood sugar levels.

However, if you keep pushing and remain determined to live a better quality of life, you will eventually get there. Having the right support system in your corner to help you on this journey can make a difference also. This is not to say that you cannot regain your energy without the help of others, but it's been proven that most people have an easier time when they have a reliable network of people to rely upon.

Consider Seeing A Professional

Even with improving your lifestyle and surrounding yourself with the right people, coming back from extreme anxiety and fatigue is a challenge. An amazing network of supportive friends and family can definitely make a difference. However, if your anxiety is resulting in adrenal fatigue and other symptoms, you should also consult a professional with medical experience.

Another professional that can help is a counselor or therapist. Now, even to this day, there are still many people who have concerns or reservations about meeting with a mental health specialist and that's OK. There are a variety of reasons behind these issues.

Sometimes people worry about being judged or looked down upon by their therapist. Feeling nervous is okay and it's okay to have questions, but it's also important to remember the purpose of counseling and therapy.

When it comes down to it, counselors and therapists are there to help you. There is no shame, no judgment, and nothing that you should feel you have to hold back. In order for a professional to properly do their job and provide the best possible service, they're going to require complete transparency. This means being open and honest, even when it comes down to matters which are not the easiest or most comfortable to discuss.

Here at BetterHelp, we are proud to employ world-class counselors and therapists. No matter who you are or what you're dealing with, our specialists would be thrilled to get to know you and provide the guidance and care which would be best for you. We understand that life can be full of challenges, but nobody should have to go through these things alone.

Whether you are dealing with anxiety, fatigue, or another matter altogether, know that help will always be available to those who are open and receptive to it.

You can contact BetterHelp anytime simply by clicking here.

Other Commonly Asked Questions

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