Many sufferers of PTSD feel constantly exhausted and, in this article, I want to examine the reasons why:
Causes of exhaustion in the PTSD sufferer:
1) Disrupted sleep.
At my illest, I was having to retire to bed at 3pm and would not re-emerge until about 15 hours later (ie 6am the next day).The sleep itself was very low quality, extremely broken and unrefreshing; I would wake up literally dozens of times and the sleep I did get was full of hideous, terrifying nightmares.
Indeed, badly disrupted sleep is very common in individuals who suffer from PTSD. The person may have frequent and intense nightmares, suffer broken sleep, take a long time to fall asleep and wake up undesirably early in the morning, unable to get back to sleep despite feeling exhausted (indeed, this is also one of the hallmarks of major depression).
PTSD sufferers who experience such symptoms of insomnia wake up feeling both mentally and physically unrefreshed and, as a consequence, find both their physical and mental abilities are impaired.
Also, as a result of not sleeping properly, they often find their ability to cope with everyday life is greatly diminished and their vulnerability to the adverse effects of stress are greatly increased.
2) Psychological strain.
People with PTSD are constantly tormented by, and attempting to fight, extremely painful memories and distressing intrusive thoughts. This, too, is exhausting.
3) Effort of ‘putting up a front’/hiding behind a false self.
Many sufferers of PTSD do not want others (such as acquaintances and work associates) to know about their illness so feel they need to ‘wear a social mask’ and pretend that ‘everything’s fine’. Keeping up such a pretence is mentally taxing and extremely tiring.
4) Effects on diet.
People with PTSD may lose their appetites and consequently under-eat, leading to malnutrition and deprivation of important minerals and vitamins which may cause increased fatigue.
Woody Allen, who has written, directed and, often, acted in one film a year for many decades says he works so much to distract himself from pessimistic thoughts and existential angst. In a similar way, one way some PTSD sufferers try to cope with their disturbing thoughts and feelings is to immerse themselves in work in order to divert their minds, working each day for excessive hours ( up to 20 hours a day, in the most extreme cases).
Consequences of extreme tiredness/exhaustion in the PTSD sufferer:
The consequences of the great fatigue the PTSD sufferer may experience include:
1) Lacking in mental and physical energy
Above: Exhaustion from PTSD? (Pussycat Traumatic Stress Disorder).
2) Poor concentration
3) Poor decision making / poor judgment
4) Irritable mood
5) Extreme tiredness can lead to the development of depression (on the other hand, depression can also lead to constant tiredness)
6) Reduced ability to cope with everyday life
7) Impaired work performance / leads to more days absent from work
8) Impaired social life
9) Increased risk to physical health
Deep Sleep Program Insomnia Cure – click here for information
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).Click here for reuse options!
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