Why Does Depression Make You Tired?

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Depression, a common mental health condition affecting millions of people worldwide, is often accompanied by an overwhelming sense of fatigue and exhaustion. While feeling tired from time to time is a normal part of life, the fatigue associated with depression goes beyond temporary tiredness. Answering the question, ‘Why does depression make you tired?’ involves understanding the complex relationship between emotional well-being, physical factors, and the chemical imbalances that occur when experiencing depression.

In this article, we will discuss what depression is, the symptoms and causes of depression, explore why depression makes you tired, and look into ways to combat fatigue from depression.

woman looking depressed

What is Depression?

Depression, also referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a mood disorder that negatively affects your life. Depression can cause feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 14.2 million adults suffered from a serious mental illness, including depression, in the past year. While there is no cure for depression, there are ways to treat the symptoms of depression to help individuals live a better life.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression can have a huge impact on your life. It can lead to many emotional and physical problems arising due to a decrease in the ability to function normally at work or at home. Because of this, it’s essential to understand the symptoms of depression to ensure you can receive mental health treatment. Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of sadness or worthlessness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping or irregular sleep patterns
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, continue reading here to learn the signs you might need mental health treatment.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a health condition with no definitive known cause, yet it can arise due to a range of factors. It can manifest during significant medical conditions, emerge in response to life transitions, or be influenced by a family history of depression. In some instances, individuals may experience depression characterized by overwhelming sadness and loneliness without a discernible cause. Depression affects people in various ways and can be triggered by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. These factors can include:

  • Medication
  • Genetics
  • Physical, sexual, or mental abuse
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Major life events
  • Substance abuse

Why Does Depression Make You Tired?

While there are many symptoms of depression that can cause problems in your everyday life, we will be focusing on the impacts of depression making you tired.

Depression is associated with imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These neurotransmitters play a vital role in regulating mood and energy levels. If these neurotransmitters become disregulated, then an individual can experience feelings of fatigue and lower moods. If the dopamine levels decrease, it can result in a lack of motivation and lowered energy levels, contributing to feelings of tiredness.

As stated above, depression often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. Insomnia and restless sleep can leave individuals feeling unrefreshed and fatigued during the day. On the other hand, some people with depression may experience hypersomnia, sleeping excessively but still feeling tired. Disrupted sleep patterns can further contribute to the cycle of fatigue and depression.

The Difference Between Depression and Fatigue

As stated previously, depression can cause problems with sleep patterns or cause tiredness. This has been referred to as depression fatigue. While the two terms have been put together, it’s important to look at the differences between depression and fatigue to understand if you are experiencing a serious mental health condition.

  • Depression: As stated above, depression is a mood disorder and involves a wide range of symptoms. Fatigue is only one symptom of depression and it’s common for individuals to experience depression and fatigue at the same time. However, depression is a mental disorder that can cause physical symptoms, while fatigue is a physical disorder.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a state of extreme tiredness or lack of energy. While depression can contribute to fatigue, it can be caused by a variety of factors such as physical exertion, illnesses, and lifestyle choices. Fatigue can be a short-term symptom, however, if it persists and becomes long-lasting, it may be a sign of an underlying cause.
why does depression make you tired? woman laying head on pillow

How to Combat Fatigue From Depression

When combating fatigue from depression, it can require an approach that addresses both the depressive symptoms and the mental and physical exhaustion. There are some strategies to use to help combat fatigue. These strategies can help each person differently so it’s important to find the best approach to help you. Some strategies can include sleep, exercise, de-stressing, and medication.

  • Sleep: Getting enough sleep and getting good sleep is one of the easiest and simplest ways to combat fatigue. However, that can be easier said than done. By establishing a regular sleep routine and creating healthier sleep habits can ensure better sleep quality.
  • Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to boost mood and energy levels. By exercising regularly, you can combat the low energy from fatigue and create healthier sleep patterns.
  • De-stress: Chronic stress can exacerbate fatigue and lead to a lack of sleep. By incorporating stress management techniques to de-stress, you can lessen the side effects of fatigue. Some techniques you can use are prioritizing self-care, meditation, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.
  • Medication: If fatigue and depression are affecting your daily functioning, it may be time to seek out help from a mental health professional. If you are receiving treatment for depression and are on antidepressant medication, these medications can cause fatigue. While a professional can determine if the fatigue is caused by a medical condition or depression, you may need to switch medication.

To learn how to build mental health skills, read more here.

Mental Health Treatment at Launch Centers

Suffering from depression can be debilitating, especially if you do not have the energy to properly help yourself. This is why it’s important to reach out to treatment centers to receive the proper treatment and support you need to live a happier life.

At Launch Centers in Los Angeles, CA, we offer mental health treatment services and dual diagnosis services to those experiencing mental illness. Our team of highly skilled medical professionals are trained to treat multiple different mental health conditions, including depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorder, and more. We understand that every person is different and that they need different levels of care, that’s why our treatment plans are tailored to each individual to ensure the best care possible.

If you or a loved one are suffering from any mental health disorders, contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs. Launch Centers is dedicated to guiding you on a path to wellness.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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