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Mental fatigue: methods and treatments to combat mental exhaustion


Nowadays, you hear the phrase “I’m mentally tired” more and more often. In the following article we will go through how mental fatigue occurs, what the symptoms are and how you could combat it.

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Article medically reviewed by Dr. Adriana-Valentina Șeicăreanu- resident psychiatrist



Table Of Contents

1. What is mental fatigue?

2. Causes
3. Symptoms of mental fatigue
4. Methods of treatment for mental fatigue
5. Psychologist’s advice to avoid mental exhaustion


1. What is mental fatigue?

When someone goes through a stressful period at work or in everyday life, they may experience mental fatigue. The brain is stimulated excessively or for long periods of time without rest. Then a state appears in which you have the impression that your mind is no longer functioning properly, you cannot concentrate, you are nervous and you have all kinds of blockages.

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2. Causes

Depending on each person, mental exhaustion can have different causes, based on stress. Stress can be defined as any situation that tends to upset the balance between the body and the environment. In response to this disturbance, the body changes the level of certain hormones. Usually, after the end of the stressful situation, the hormone level returns to normal, but if the stress continues, the secretion remains high, leading in time to the appearance of endocrine disorders (hyperthyroidism, diabetes, obesity, etc.).

Among the most common causes are:

  • A service that you request or are dissatisfied with
  • Intensive study for exams
  • Financial stress
  • Caring for a child
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Chronic illness or mental illness
  • Caring for a loved one who is ill or has special needs
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Lack of work-life balance


3. Symptoms of mental fatigue

How do you recognize mental fatigue? Given that the human body functions as a whole, mental fatigue will not only manifest itself mentally, but will make its mark on you physically and behaviorally. The signs usually appear gradually, but their accentuation can be observed in the periods when the stress reaches a maximum level.

Signs on a mental level

  • A major sign is the lack of focus on daily activities, which you should do without difficulty.
  • The appearance of symptoms characteristic of depression, especially sadness and despair
  • Persistent anxiety, a feeling of dread or imminent danger
  • Pessimism or detachment
  • Anger, nervousness
  • Difficulties managing emotions
  • Decreased motivation
  • Decreased productivity
  • Lethargy


Signs on a physical level

  • Headache
  • Sleep disorders (insomnia, drowsiness)
  • Digestive disorders
  • Decreased immunity and disease
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • General feeling of sickness

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Behavioral signs

  • Postponement or neglect of daily tasks
  • Decreased school or work performance
  • Tendency to avoid activities with other people
  • Excessive consumption of tobacco, alcohol or other substances
  • Tendency for conflict

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4. Methods of treatment for mental fatigue

Treatments range from acupuncture techniques to the use of certain medication or dietary supplements. There is no “miracle” cure for mental fatigue, each person is different, therefore the therapeutic approach will be different.

  • Drugs: your doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat your symptoms due to mental fatigue. You may need to take sedatives, anxiolytics or antidepressants depending on the severity of your symptoms and your body’s response to alternative treatment options. Remember that it is very important to go to a specialist to see if you need medication.
  • Food supplements: for people suffering from mental fatigue, supplements with vitamins, magnesium, NADH or omega-3 fatty acids would be indicated.
  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can reduce depression, which is often associated with mental fatigue.
  • Alternative therapies: aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, breathing techniques, meditation, yoga can also be helpful in combating mental exhaustion.

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5. Psychologist’s advice to avoid mental exhaustion

What to do when you are mentally tired? There are several ways you can try to combat this condition, for example:

  • It would be good to identify the factors that stress you and try to reduce them or even eliminate them from your life
  • Learn to delegate certain tasks or ask for help when you think you have too much to do
  • Don’t forget to take breaks and relax, you could try to make a well-established schedule that includes working hours, but also those intended for relaxation
  • Give yourself small rewards after completing difficult tasks
  • Pay more attention to sleep, try to create and follow a sleep routine, take a hot bath before bed, or read a few pages from your favorite book, have a hot tea and avoid the mobile phone.
  • Get more exercise, it is known that sport brings considerable benefits to our mood
  • Change your lifestyle, eat healthy, avoid alcohol, tobacco or other activators
  • Spend more time in nature or with loved ones
  • Ask for specialist help if you feel that nothing is working and that your condition is getting worse

2 thoughts on “Mental fatigue: methods and treatments to combat mental exhaustion”

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