Why does Post Traumatic Stress Disorder make you so tired?
“I always thought napping was the past-time of children and the elderly… now I know it’s for people with PTSD too.”
Your mind and body are more connected than you may realise: It’s been estimated that the human mind is capable of producing 50% more stress than your body can handle. If your brain is producing more stress than your body can deal with, it’s going to let you know – this is usually through sheer and utter exhaustion!
Hormones: More specifically, cortisol, the stress hormone. During a trauma, cortisol helps desensitize us so we feel less pain, increases short-term memory function, and acts as a quick energy boost. However, when cortisol is present in higher levels for a prolonged period of time (as it is for PTSD sufferers) it can be responsible for memory loss, fatigue, and reduced serotonin levels.
Hypervigilance: The hyper vigilance that often accompanies PTSD can cause you to wake up repeatedly throughout the night. This broken sleep is likely to cause fatigue during the day.
The adrenal system: Cortisol and other stress hormones, are produced by your adrenal system. When there’s an overload on the adrenal system, someone with PTSD might experience a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion and an overload of stress.
The bottom line is that fatigue (and often inexplicable fatigue) very often accompanies symptoms of PSTD. If this is the case for you, be good to yourself – give yourself the rest your body calls for.
Image from Flickr user Daniel Guimarães
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