There are several reasons that can lead us to a state of apathy or apathy.
Probably all or almost all of us have felt at some point exhausted and without strength. This state of lack of energy is highly unpleasant and lead us to miss opportunities and even be disabling.
But not having energy or motivation does not imply that at a cognitive level we cannot worry about what is happening to us and ask ourselves its cause. ** Why am I so tired and unwilling to do anything? **
Throughout this article we are going to try to establish some of the possible causes that can lead to these sensations.
“Why am I so tired?” Understanding this problem
Many times, our activation level responds to strange logic that we do not fully understand. Even in moments of our lives in which we feel that we are eating properly and that we rest the necessary hours so that our body can maintain and repair itself at the appropriate rate, many people at some point ask themselves: “Why? I’m so tired, if I do what it takes to be okay? “
This is usually due to a combination of biological and psychological aspects. For example, leading a relatively sedentary lifestyle causes our body to weaken, which makes us less prepared when we eventually have to exert extra effort. Thus, the behavioral and the corporeal influence each other.
On the other hand, there is a wide variety of pathologies that cause fatigue as one of its symptoms. This usually occurs because of the poor efficiency with which the body manages available energy, since the priority is to combat the health problem.
However, there is a set of health disorders that deserve their own name, and that are often behind that feeling of fatigue. It is about asthenia, and we will meet it in the next few lines.
Apathy and Asthenia: The Basics
Before going into assessing what causes can lead to extreme tiredness and lack of desire and motivation to do things, it may be useful to make a brief mention of what this fatigue and feeling of apathy implies. To begin with, we must bear in mind that both sensations are deeply linked to our state of energy, in addition to being influenced by the state of mind, biology or the set of experiences that we have had.
With regard to fatigue, it is a state of discomfort and weakness that, although generally unappetizing, is natural, and that in normative situations has an adaptive meaning and function. And it is that when our body or our mind use large amounts of energy the body warns that our resources are close to being exhausted. This leads us under normal conditions to try to regain strength, be it sleeping, eating or moving away from what causes us discomfort. This fatigue can become asthenia, in which we feel extremely fatigued and action is impossible (even in those activities that previously did not cost us).
The desire to do nothing corresponds to the syndrome known as apathy: it is a state of partial or total loss of interest and motivation in which the person ends up being unable to act spontaneously and with initiative. This state usually goes hand in hand with not only lack of motivation but also a decrease in the ability to concentrate and attention (which is generally hampered by rumination) and a loss of ability to make decisions and reason objectively.
Although it does not necessarily imply sadness or a feeling of suffering, it is common that it occurs along with low moods and hopelessness. To a maximum degree we could be talking about abulia.
Common causes of apathy and asthenia
It is possible that sometimes we have asked ourselves the question that gives this article its title, doubting the reasons we can have for being so lacking in energy and motivation to act.
The truth is that the causes will be different for each case, in addition to the fact that it may be due to an interaction between various elements. However, roughly some of the main reasons that can lead us to a situation or picture of apathy and asthenia may be the following.
1. Lack of sleep
One possible cause of these sensations is the absence of a sufficiently long and quality rest period. Our body and mind continuously expend energy, so they need to rest in order to repair themselves and gain strength to act.
If we do not get enough sleep we will find ourselves unable to give up and we will end up reaching a state of lack of motivation for action.
2. Physical exhaustion
Although similar to the previous one, the truth is that a second possible cause of apathy and asthenia is reaching a state of exhaustion, be it mental or physical.
Depleting our energy reserves will cause both sensations. Now, it is also possible that although our energy is low, there is a desire and will to act.
The third of the possible causes of fatigue and lack of desire is in the diet. We have already said that we need to rest, but our body is not a perpetual mobile that by itself can keep itself functioning: it needs nutrients and oxygen so that our cells (including those associated with motivation and control of our energy) can function.
Thus, states of food deficiency or lack of certain nutrients can lead to a state of exhaustion and total amotivation.
4. Lack of activity
Another possible reason why we may feel little motivation and desire to do things has to do, precisely, with the lack of activity. The act of doing nothing often drives a large number of people into a state of frustration or exhaustion.
In addition, if we are used to a not very active life, the idea of reactivate and start doing activities, sports, work or even going out to enjoy leisure time becomes much more difficult and uphill.
5. Medical diseases
In addition to the anemia mentioned above, different types of diseases can cause apathy and asthenia.
Among them we can find those linked to the endocrine system, such as hyper / hypothyroidism or diabetes (whether there is hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia). Others are linked to pain or physical energy level, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or arthritis. Problems with the heart, lungs (for example COPD), liver or kidneys can also affect this.
6. Feeling of lack of control over what happens
A possible cause of fatigue and lack of desire to do things can come from our perception or beliefs regarding our own ability to influence the environment.
People who consider that their actions do not have a meaning or an effect on a certain reality will tend to reduce their behaviors and abandon the action, adopting a passive stance. Motivation and the desire to act are lost (because it is believed that nothing will change or will be achieved with it), and the resulting frustration generates an energetic waste.
7. Frustration and lack of goals
The absence of illusions, objectives and vital goals, or the frustration or inability to carry them out (especially if we are facing a goal or objective that is fundamental or highly desired), is also a common cause of apathy and feelings of low energy and tiredness.
Not knowing what to do or not being able to define an action plan leads us to a state of anguish and dissatisfaction, which if maintained over time or becomes habitual and generalized in different situations can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and lack of control over one’s life.
8. Traumatic experience
In addition to the above, among the different causes that can generate fatigue and lack of desire is the fact of experiencing traumatic situations. In this case we can be talking about a typical situation of what happens in a period of mourning, for example when we lose a loved one or when we perceive that we lose abilities.
They are also symptoms that can appear in post-traumatic stress disorders, although hypervigilance, tension and reexperimentation tend to prevail in them.
On a day-to-day basis, we encounter a large number of demands on a social level. We must be effective and efficient in our work, proactive, competitive …
All this can lead to situations of great stress and anguish, which is maintained over time and can end up saturating the person and triggering a loss of motivation and great physical and mental fatigue.
In addition to all of the above, another reason why tiredness and apathy can arise may be linked to problems such as depression.
In fact, some of the possible symptoms are precisely fatigue / a feeling of tiredness or apathy, in addition to other more characteristic ones, although they can also cause these sensations such as sadness or the loss of ability to feel satisfaction and pleasure with what we used to do before. liked.
How to alleviate this feeling?
We have seen some common causes of fatigue and lack of desire to act. But beyond what has generated it, what many of those who ask this question probably want to know is how to solve it.
In this question, it is essential to first try to identify the specific cause: it is not the same that these symptoms appear due to pulmonary emphysema as it is due to the death of a family member or suffering from depression. To help this identification, it will be necessary to assess whether something that affects us emotionally (or something that reminds us of a previous misfortune or problem) has happened in the present or in the past. It may also be necessary to perform blood tests or other medical checks (especially in vulnerable populations), as it can be a symptom of a disease.
Knowing the duration of this state is also useful: if it is sporadic or if it is something continuous over time. In general, the greater the continuity, the greater the need to seek help or a solution.
Advice and therapy
As possible ways to solve this feeling at a general level, it is advisable to establish or normalize sleep periods and maintain a balanced intake according to the needs of our body. The pursuit of pleasant and enjoyable activities and the formulation of realistic and not overly demanding schedules is also a useful method. Also the writing of the thoughts can help us to alleviate the discomfort at the same time that it can give us clues of its possible causes.
Another alternative is the practice of relaxation techniques, especially if it is something derived from stress. Meditation or mindfulness can also be helpful. Finally, it is necessary to make an evaluation of our beliefs and self-demands regarding what we should do, be or achieve, and if necessary modify them for other more adaptive and realistic ones. In this sense, it may be necessary to seek professional psychological help.
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- Ropper, AH; Samuels, MA (2009). Adams and Victor’s Principles of Neurology. New York: McGraw-Hill.