- Is an incredibly vague symptom, and therefore has few to no statistics.
- Is a not-so-subtle, phenomenological shift that your mind normalizes as a coping mechanism.
- Tends to be misdiagnosed as depression, leading to incorrect treatment, leaving the real problem unresolved.
- Can be treated.
Persistent fatigue is not human beings’ natural state of existence
Occasional exhaustion means that you’re exerting yourself. Good for you! Keep challenging yourself mentally and physically; the higher you push your bar, the more growth you will experience in every aspect of your life.
Constant exhaustion, however, means that simple things are as profoundly taxing on you as complicated things. This state precludes health and happiness. Persistent fatigue is not human beings’ natural state of existence.
Degrees of exhaustion
First, there is the regular kind of fatigue. This is the tiredness you feel after any mild, medium, or extreme physical, mental, or emotional exertion. I won’t label this sort of fatigue as good or bad because doing so would presuppose the contexts of you and your life. An athlete and an obese person, for example, both feel this type of fatigue, just after (wildly) varying degrees of activity.
The next two – Chronic Fatigue (CF) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) – are irregular, and therefore more challenging to treat.
Chronic Fatigue is typically a symptom of other ailments, while the Syndrome has no known cause.
Chronic Fatigue is persistent tiredness that haunts you for months to even years. This means that you feel tired 80-90 percent of the time, but now and again, you get a great night’s sleep and wake up refreshed, eager, and excited to live your life.
Chronic Fatigue may be a standalone problem, or it may be a symptom of conditions like candidiasis, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or food and environment allergies. Research also links CF to lifestyle factors like nutritional deficiency, insomnia, physical exhaustion, depression, hormonal imbalance, or reactions to medication.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, however, is perpetual tiredness that is not caused by other medical conditions and cannot be relieved by resting more. Some research even suggests that the Epstein Barr virus or Human Herpes virus-6 may be responsible for CFS, although causation is still unproven.
Some common symptoms of both CF and CFS are headaches, low-grade fever, difficulty concentrating, irritability, joint pain, muscle weakness, muscle pain, loss of memory, lymphatic congestion, and throat irritations.
Besides the actual empty-and-heavy feeling of CF and CFS, extreme tiredness may be an indicator an advanced rate of brain aging.
A case study
I have a 25-year-old female patient. Her energy levels were nonexistent. She would feel lethargic after sleeping 16 hours a day. Simple things like taking the garbage out to the curb were a challenge for her. Keeping up with school and holding a job seemed impossible. Her social life vanished. She had sensitivities towards most foods, would show digestive symptoms, and felt even more tired when she ate.
Medical doctors diagnosed her with:
- “Oral food allergies.”
- Spastic colon.
None of her specialists could pinpoint the cause of such severe fatigue. The doctors focused exclusively on her digestive symptoms, which lead them to miss the real reason for the fatigue robbing her of her life.
It was a slow process, but, through continual adrenal support, her energy slowly returned.
I only realized that her fatigue derived from adrenal exhaustion when I checked her cortisol levels. They were low in the morning and high in the afternoon – the opposite of how they should be. And yet, conventional medicine does not treat adrenal exhaustion.
So I concentrated on her adrenal glands, revitalizing them with botanicals, vitamins, adrenal extracts, and IV infusions. It was a slow process, but through continual adrenal support, her energy slowly returned. Her confidence came back, and her digestive issues receded. She now lives a healthy, productive, and happy lifestyle.
She still sees me twice a year to maintain her new baseline, and I am happy to say that her future looks bright.
I find that conventional, specialized medicines often misdiagnose CFS as a result of their fragmented conception of the body. They obsess over labelling you, the patient, as a collection of separate parts; the diagnosis is based on an incomplete picture of the body that does not account for communication between the systems of your body.
Depression is the most common misdiagnosis of CFS. It makes sense – imagine you were startled awake at 4:30 AM, and that is how you feel for the entire day. Depression is not an implausible diagnosis, but it may be a false positive. After all, depression is often a psychological condition, while fatigue is physiological condition.
So, you would be prescribed anti-depressants – but you are not depressed, you only test like it. The result: patients are mistreated, discouraged from fully understanding their health, and left to manage their symptoms as they continue seeking resolution.
All that said, because the symptoms of depression and Chronic Fatigue are nearly identical, the following techniques (that combat fatigue) will alleviate the symptoms of depression, but they will not solve the psycho-philosophical aspects of depression.
Intravenous (IV) therapy is by far the most efficient and immediate technique to get you feeling 12-hour rested in one to two hours.
Alternatively, if you’re among the needle-averse, then we can restore you with a course of oral supplements. Supplements like:
- Iron (if your levels test low)
- Adrenal extract
- Ginseng extract
- Vitamins C & D
- Eleutherococcus (Siberian Ginseng)
Internal medicine is not the only way to treat CF and CFS. You can also integrate new activities into your day-to-day life.
Lighter activities like Tai Chi, yoga, walking, and deep breathing exercise are fantastically easy practices to incorporate into your day.
I do, however, always tell patients to pace themselves and avoid more taxing exercises like running, weight lifting, or intense cardio. Exercise is great, but too much too soon will leave you more exhausted than you were.
Knowledge needs action
Medically speaking, fatigue is a complicated symptom. You may feel fatigued because of your stressful work environment, or because of adrenal exhaustion, or because of an underlying psychiatric condition, or because of long-term depression.
The only way to reclaim your life is to get to the root of the symptoms, because, then, the cause – whatever it may be – can be treated appropriately.
If the lead blanket of fatigue does not move, no matter what you do or who you see, we can help. Use this page to request time with Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D, to discuss your fatigue and any adjacencies. Together, we can remove chronic fatigue from your life and get you back to better.
Anti-fatigue breakfast smoothie
If you like smoothies, look for an easy-to-clean blender (like Vitamix*) to ensure that your smoothies are smooth and blending is streamlined.
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy. Serves 2
2 handfuls organic kale or spinach
1 Tbsp. of Chia seeds soaked in water
1 cup water
Yours in good health,
Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D.
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