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What is Mental Fatigue?

By Haven Esme
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Mental fatigue is characterized by a lack of mental energy. Individuals who suffer from this condition may feel like they have less energy than usual and are unusually tired and lethargic. Too much brain activity and stimulation can cause a person to feel mentally exhausted, and the feeling is akin to what the body feels like when a person is physically fatigued.

The time frame in which the fatigue occurs can vary. People can suffer from fatigue for a few hours or even a few days. Mental fatigue has numerous consequences. The fatigue can cause uncomplicated tasks to become increasingly difficult or even impossible.

Mental fatigue makes it difficult for a person to process information. The fatigue can cause a person to make simple mistakes that they would not ordinarily make because the fatigue lowers concentration. Individuals who suffer from fatigue should be careful to avoid certain activities that require lots of concentration, such as driving a car. This condition impairs a person's physical capabilities so driving a vehicle or operating dangerous equipment could pose a serious threat.

There are many possible causes of mental fatigue. A change in a person's environment, nutrition, and sleep pattern have the potential to cause fatigue in both mind and body. Stress levels also play an important role in fatigue. Other possible causes of fatigue include recreational drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications.

One prominent cause of mental fatigue is depression. Depression is more common among women and has the potential to make a person feel mentally and physically drained for prolonged periods. Fortunately, there are a variety of natural and pharmaceutical remedies for healing depression.

Many people do not recognize this condition as a medically harmful problem. However, people who suffer from fatigue should remember that fatigue could be a sign that a more serious underlying health problem is occurring. Individuals who experience continual or chronic fatigue should be sure to discuss their symptoms with a doctor. Medical evaluation is often recommended for these patients, as the fatigue could be an indication of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Currently, there is no cure for mental fatigue. There are things that a person can do to alleviate or eliminate fatigue. Exercise and nutritional changes provide a natural way for individuals to improve their cognitive functioning and eliminate fatigue. There are also herbal remedies that have the ability to boost a person's energy levels and relieve fatigue.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jul 11, 2014

@Scrbblchick -- I suspect you're on to something about mental fatigue being at the root of a lot of drinking problems. I've known a lot of people in really stressful professions who have developed a drinking or drug problem as a result of the fatigue they were feeling. The drink or drugs helped them to relax and forget their troubles, and before they knew it, they were hooked.

Companies could help prevent this by allowing their employees ample vacation time, where they are not apt to be called in on their off days, and by providing other amenities, like onsite gyms, or gym memberships, to help their employees work off some of the stresses of the day.

By Scrbblchick — On Jul 10, 2014

I'd say the most common cause of mental fatigue is job burnout. Even if a person doesn't have a physically exhausting job, if it's a high pressure environment, then mental fatigue is a lock cinch. Eventually, people need to get away from the stress of their jobs and recharge their batteries, so to speak.

After a stressful day, all I want to do is go home and go to bed for a while to get my head back together. I suspect mental fatigue is also a cause of a lot of drinking problems. People are trying to relieve their stress, and find a glass of wine or a beer are good for it.

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