Why It Can Be So Difficult To Differentiate Between Fatigue And Depression

Why It Can Be So Difficult To Differentiate Between Fatigue And Depression

Depression is a major mental health issue that affects many men and women worldwide each day, but it's not uncommon for their symptoms to be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome. In her book The Exhaustion Breakthrough, Dr. Holly Phillips touches on why this diagnosis can be so tricky:

"While a large body of research has established a close link between depression and fatigue, exactly how they interact is not yet completely understood... Part of this could be because depression and fatigue feed off each other in a vicious cycle that makes it hard to determine where one begins and the other ends."

Phillips joined HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski to further elaborate on this "vicious cycle" and how she works to distinguish between depression and fatigue issues in her own practice.

"One of the most common signs of depression is fatigue, a lack of motivation, a change in mood, a change in appetite, but also if you're fatigued for other reasons, you may have that same lack of motivation and it may even depress your mood," she said. "It's very hard to distinguish both. When I'm working out patients for exhaustion, I first look at medical issues and then I always make sure to screen them for depression. There are specific symptoms that depression has that fatigue does not, and teasing through those can make a tremendous difference.

"The other thing is that treating depression both through therapy and medication can then alleviate fatigue. So I think it's not that they're opposite sides of the same coin, but for many people, they're closely related."

To learn more, watch the full HuffPost Live conversation in the video above.

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