Emotional Effects
Fact Checked

Anxiety Frequently Causes Lethargy

Victoria LeBlanc, MS, LCPC
Anxiety Frequently Causes Lethargy

Anxiety itself is the activation of excess energy in your body. But not all of the symptoms of anxiety are energy related. Some people experience the opposite - severe fatigue and lethargy that keeps them from doing much in their day to day life.

Lethargy can be an anxiety symptom, and unfortunately, it's an example of a symptom which may lead to the development of more anxiety.

What is Lethargy?

While commonly associated with depression, those suffering from chronic anxiety may also experience this symptom. Lethargy is characterized by low energy, fatigue, or being unexcited about participating in activities that you might otherwise enjoy. Lethargy can be physical, where your body feels sapped of energy, or it can be mental, where you simply don’t find the idea of engaging in activities to be exciting.

Causes of Anxiety Lethargy

When we discuss lethargy, we are talking about a complete unwillingness to do anything, often with a feeling of wanting to sleep or severe fatigue. Many of those with lethargy rarely leave the bed or couch or feel as though they are in desperate need of sleep and running on empty throughout the day. Some people may go about their day normally but have a lethargic mood.

Lethargy can be an anxiety symptom, especially when experiencing severe anxiety. But the causes of lethargy from anxiety are complex, and in reality there is rarely one specific cause that leads to lethargy in those with anxiety disorders. If you feel like you’re more lethargic than you used to be because of anxiety, it's likely that your lethargy is caused by some combination of:

These are just some of the potential issues that can cause feelings of fatigue and lethargy in those with severe anxiety. Over time, this can also lead to bad habits that may continue to contribute to lethargy.

Lethargy Creating Anxiety

It's also important to note that while fatigue can be caused by anxiety, anxiety can also be caused by fatigue and lethargy. You should remain mentally and physically active throughout the day to help with managing your anxiety.

Anxiety and lethargy can be cyclical. Anxiety leads to lethargy and lethargy can lead to an increase in you anxiety. If you allow your fatigue to take hold of you, you're going to increase the risk that your anxiety worsens.

Ways to Combat Lethargy

Lethargy is a tough issue to beat because by its very nature it takes away from your natural willingness to take action. It is something that kills motivation and makes it very hard for you to start making the necessary changes to your life that you need to make in order to reduce anxiety and feeling lethargic.

You can try the following:

These ideas are a start but they won't cure it completely. As long as you experience anxiety there will continue to be opportunities for lethargy to arise. Making a commitment to treating your anxiety as a whole is what will provide you with the tools to combat lethargy in the long run.

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