Is the origin physical or psychological?  

Exhaustion is a normal response of the body to stress or exertion. However, when exhaustion affects daily life, different physical or mental illnesses can be a reason.  

One condition in which this extreme fatigue is a major symptom is called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It can have an extreme impact on a sufferer's life.  

Even with Long-Covid, many complain of exhaustion and lower resilience. 

Everyone knows it, the body's energy reserves are depleted and exhaustion spreads. Be it after a strenuous hike in the mountains, a good jog or even after a stressful day. This is a natural and normal mechanism. However, when exhaustion becomes more and more prominent, always present, something is probably wrong with the body or mind. Then the exhaustion becomes a strong state of fatigue, which massively affects the ability to cope with everyday life.1

First, physical causes should be ruled out before taking a closer look at the possible psychological reasons.  

Possible reasons for exhaustion can be various functional disorders of the body, such as thyroid problems or iron deficiency. Also side effects of medication or an imbalance of the hormone balance can be triggers for exhaustion. In other cases, a cold or infection may be the first sign of extreme fatigue. A visit to the family doctor is often enough to clarify the situation.2

However, if nothing points to a physical trigger, it may also be that the origin of the fatigue is psychological. Various mental illnesses, among others, can be associated with exhaustion. Examples are depression, bipolar disorder or burn-out. (Read more about these topics in article...)1

CFS - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (persistent fatigue syndrome)  

If extreme fatigue persists for more than half a year, this could also be an indication of chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, there are symptoms such as sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, joint pain and headaches.  

Behind the abbreviation CFS is a disease whose exact cause is not really known. Doctors have discovered indications that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by an immune disorder. 4 However, excessive stress or traumatic experiences may also be possible triggers for CFS. 3

Since the causes are mostly obscure, so far only the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome can be treated; especially overexertion and too much stress should be avoided. Various relaxation exercises can also provide relief.

Long Covid is the term used when a person with Covid 19 infection suffers from symptoms for longer than four weeks. To date, it is unclear whether long covid and CFS are related.6

However, it is apparent that long-covid has some similarities to symptoms from chronic fatigue syndrome.  

Häufige Symptome von Long-Covid sind beispielsweise Müdigkeit, extreme Erschöpfung, Atemnot bei geringster körperlicher Belastung, Geruchs- und Geschmacksstörungen, Kopf-, Muskel- und Gelenkschmerzen. Auch das als Brain Fog (“benebeltes Gehirn”) bezeichnete Phänomen, nicht mehr klar denken zu können, das auch für das chronische Erschöpfungssyndrom bekannt ist, tritt bei Long-Covid-Patienten auf.7  Wie groß der Anteil der Erkrankten ist, der mit Long-Covid zu kämpfen hat, lässt sich noch nicht sagen. 

Above all, overwork and too much stress can also cause symptoms to worsen in Long-Covid. The important thing is to listen to your body, take more breaks when necessary, and don't overextend yourself.5

Both chronic fatigue syndrome and long-covid require specialist treatment that takes into account symptoms that vary greatly from individual to individual.  

  • Fatigue is the second most common symptom that patients report when describing their symptoms.
  • In Germany, an estimated 300,000 people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. 6
  • Women are more often affected by long-covid cases than men.