Just about everyone has experienced days when they feel quite tired and run down. Life is busy, after all! Extreme exhaustion, on the other hand, is when individuals feel like they are drowning in a sea of blankets and can barely move. Individuals dealing with extreme exhaustion are so tired that their brain tells their limbs to move, but their limbs simply refuse. No one likes the feeling of being extremely exhausted, and if the feeling goes on long enough, it can also trigger some serious lasting effects. However, there is some good news. Recognizing the warning signs linked to extreme exhaustion is a great first step in not only catching the problem early, but also starting effective treatment to lessen any effects it might have.
Watch Out For A Prolonged Sense Of Inattentiveness
Paying attention is easy when individuals are energized and their brains are alert, but exhaustion can cause the brain to slow down as it yearns to sleep and focuses on staying awake. If individuals constantly find themselves struggling to pay attention to the smaller but important things, they may be on the verge of extreme exhaustion. Exhaustion can be caused by anxiety, a lack of sleep, stress, and other factors, and inattentiveness is a common early sign of extreme exhaustion. Individuals should take note of if they are experiencing this symptom and assess the implication on what it is they are trying to focus on. If they are focusing on a work project that requires attention to fine detail, they should, if possible, put it aside for a day and get some quality rest instead. If they are driving, they should consider pulling aside to a safe place and taking a brief nap before continuing their drive.
Inattentiveness Escalates To Confusion
A prolonged feeling of inattentiveness, if the cause is extreme exhaustion, can escalate into confusion. Those dealing with confusion may forget what they are doing in the middle of doing it, such as forgetting where they were headed or why they picked up a certain object, knowing they intended to do something with it. Confusion under extreme exhaustion is usually combined with a strong feeling of physical tiredness, and it can become so bad that an individual can no longer think or speak properly. Feelings of irritability or inability to cope may also be experienced. While some individuals may instinctively reach for sugary treats to receive a quick boost of energy, this will not alleviate the exhaustion and will only throw their body into further chaos.
Confusion Escalates To Dizziness
Dizziness, which is when individuals feel light-headed and unsteady, can result if their exhaustion escalates. This is because when extremely exhausted, the body has more difficulty delivering oxygen to the brain as its effectiveness is diminished as it is in a state of preparing to go to sleep. It is important to note dizziness can lead to fainting, which is where an individual temporarily falls into unconsciousness. This can cause injury if affected individuals wind up hitting their head on a hard or sharp object. If individuals experience dizziness, they should sit down immediately and take deep breaths and maybe even drink a glass of water to help avoid fainting.
Look Out For A Rapid Heart Rate
Sometimes, a rapid heart rate may accompany extreme exhaustion. Usually, this occurs during an intense bout of physical activity, especially in hot weather, which is when the term heat exhaustion is often used. The heart may have difficulty circulating blood in the body, causing it to race. As the heart struggles to do this, the pulse is usually weak, and the skin may feel hot and moist. The heart may race for a long period after the bout of physical activity has ended. This is a common symptom of heat exhaustion. If individuals find themselves experiencing heat exhaustion, they should drink water as soon as possible, remove unnecessary or tight clothing, take a cool shower, and drape a cold towel over their body. It is important to treat heat exhaustion symptoms right away as heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke, a potentially deadly condition requiring emergency medical treatment.
Extreme exhaustion could lead to increased pessimism in many areas of life. For example, patients struggling with exhaustion might notice they feel very negative about their jobs, school situation, or home life. Tasks that used to seem simple may feel overwhelming, and patients could develop feelings of intense frustration. In the long-term, pessimism could lead individuals to doubt themselves and their competence at work or school, and they may stop taking risks and begin to reduce their participation in group meetings at work or school. When feelings of increased pessimism are present at home, patients might begin to have relationship conflicts with their spouse, children, or other family members, and they may not participate in family activities as much as they once did. Increased pessimism could lead to depression or anxiety disorders if it continues for a prolonged period.
Decline In Motivation
Patients who are extremely exhausted often struggle with burnout, and this typically starts to manifest as a decline in motivation. At first, exhausted individuals might notice they no longer feel like participating in work, school, family, or leisure activities as much as they once did. For example, exhaustion could cause a patient who usually goes to the gym every day to skip exercise sessions, and this might progress to avoiding the gym altogether. Employees may start to procrastinate at work, and they may struggle to meet deadlines or end up submitting work that is not up to their usual standard. Students who are extremely exhausted may not study for exams as much as they need to, and they might fail to submit homework assignments or choose to skip important reading assignments. Workers and students might start to have more frequent absences as their motivation declines. Most patients find their motivation returns to normal once their extreme exhaustion is successfully treated. Treatment may require time off of work in serious cases.
Decline In Productivity
Extreme exhaustion often results in a noticeable decline in productivity. Patients may find they are unable to submit projects or reports on time, and productivity could decline so much that exhausted individuals simply stop submitting required work. For students and employees, reduced productivity could have serious and far-reaching consequences. At a minimum, it could result in difficult conversations with professors or managers. It may even lead to demotions at work, and some employees might be at risk of losing their jobs entirely. Students who struggle with productivity could have to withdraw from some of their classes to avoid failing grades, and they may notice their final grades drop significantly.
Since a decline in productivity is a common indicator of emotional burnout, patients who notice this issue should discuss their situation with a counselor, teacher, manager, or another trusted individual as soon as possible. Catching this problem early could help patients avoid long-term consequences, and managers and teachers may be able to help with rearranging schedules, changing assignments, or getting more assistance so the patient is supported as much as possible.
Those affected by extreme exhaustion could notice appetite changes. For example, some individuals with this kind of exhaustion could start to eat more than they usually would, and others may respond by eating less than they normally would. Patients might start skipping meals, particularly if they are too exhausted to cook or go to the grocery store. Others with extreme exhaustion might begin to eat more than usual in an effort to improve focus or stay awake. Individuals who are dealing with extreme exhaustion may turn to fast food or restaurant meals instead of cooking at home. The appetite changes associated with extreme exhaustion are often associated with emotions instead of physical hunger. If the underlying reasons for the appetite changes are not addressed, the patient could develop disordered eating patterns that may result in weight loss or weight gain. Patients with extreme exhaustion may want to keep a food diary to measure their calorie and nutrient intake. Exhausted individuals should also track their overall sleep time to ensure they are getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. Since exhaustion and appetite changes could be signs of underlying medical conditions, patients should see a healthcare provider if these symptoms persist for more than two or three weeks or if they keep coming back.
Patients struggling with extreme exhaustion could exhibit signs of social withdrawal. They may begin to isolate themselves from others little by little. At first, they could socially withdraw by choosing not to attend scheduled school study groups or office social gatherings. Over time, the social withdrawal may progress to the point that the patient stops asking for help from others and stops participating in any type of group setting. Social withdrawal could also result in absences from school or work. As the patient becomes increasingly isolated, they may develop potentially serious mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. These conditions might require treatment with medication and counseling. To prevent mental health complications, patients may want to consider talking to a family member, co-worker, friend, or counselor if they notice they are isolating themselves. Taking proactive steps to treat extreme exhaustion in the early stages could reduce the risk of becoming socially isolated.
.How To Treat Extreme Exhaustion
Usually, getting sufficient rest, sleep, food, and water are enough to treat symptoms of extreme exhaustion. If individuals take proper care of themselves, they will bounce back with plenty of energy to spare. Sometimes though, extreme exhaustion is a sign of a more serious underlying disease, including anemia, hypothyroidism, cancer, or adrenal insufficiency. Extreme exhaustion may also be accompanied by mental illness as it can lead to low serotonin causing depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Extreme exhaustion is becoming more common as most individuals tend to work more and sleep less. All work and no rest can easily lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, which can escalate into more serious health problems.