Los Angeles Area Mental Health & Wellness
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Not all fatigue is equal: The difference between physical and psychological fatigue

Depression and fatigue can be common factors in having a Chronic Illness but the 2 aren’t one in the same. Knowing the difference between psychological and physical fatigue may make a difference in how it is handled by your health care team.

Here are a few ways that have been proposed by Dr. David Katerndahl from Craig Hospital to distinguish between the two:

Physicalimage fatigue tends to be of short-term duration­ whereas psychological fatigue is more chronic.

Physical fatigue is not related to stress­, psychological fatigue is.

Physical fatigue is worse in the evening and at night but is relieved by sleep, psychological fatigue is worse in the morning and is unaffected or worsened by sleep.

Physical fatigue tends to get worse while psychological fatigue fluctuates.

Physical fatigue is worsened by activity and limits people’s duties­ psychological fatigue is lessened by activity and tends not to interfere with duties and responsibilities.

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