Lassitude: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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Lassitude is a state or feeling in which a person experiences an ongoing lack of mental and physical energy. It's characterized by overwhelming tiredness, loss of interest, and a feeling of no longer caring that you don't care. As a mental health symptom, lassitude is often associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

This article will provide examples of lassitude, discuss its symptoms, and offer treatment options.

Woman experiencing fatigue

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What Is Lassitude?

Many people experience tiredness, fatigue, and even exhaustion throughout their lives. This might be due to illness, stress, or loss of sleep. Lassitude, however, is different from typical tiredness. It's a feeling of fatigue that affects a person physically and mentally. It causes complete exhaustion and is usually associated with a lack of caring about the fact that you no longer have the energy to care.

Often, lassitude is associated with anxiety or depression. In some cases, it may be a symptom of a medical illness, such as a sleep disorder or cancer.

With anxiety, you may feel exhausted from worrying all the time or depleted after ongoing anxiety or a panic attack. If you have social anxiety, you may feel fatigued leading up to and following a networking event.

With depression, even small efforts, like getting out of bed or getting ready for work, can feel overwhelmingly exhausting.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Symptoms of Lassitude

Although lassitude is not formally listed as a symptom of any specific mental health disorders in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it shares symptoms and characteristics with several diagnosable mental and physical illnesses. Here are some examples of what lassitude can look and feel like:

Physical symptoms of lassitude include:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Slow movements or feeling like you're dragging your body along

Emotional and psychological symptoms of lassitude include:

  • Lack of caring or apathy
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment
  • Low mental energy and inability to think clearly or make decisions
  • Avoidance of feelings, whether intentional or not
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Fatigue as a Symptom

Many people seek medical treatment based on the symptom of fatigue or lassitude. In fact, by some estimates, about 10%–20% of all visits to a medical professional are due to fatigue symptoms.

Causes of Lassitude

There can be many illnesses, both physical and mental, that can cause feelings of fatigue or lassitude. Lassitude may also be caused by medications or substances, such as alcohol.

Potential causes of lassitude include:

How to Treat Lassitude

Before you and your healthcare provider can develop a treatment plan, a diagnosis is needed to understand the underlying issue causing lassitude and other symptoms.

Medical Treatment

When seeking treatment for lassitude, start by contacting your healthcare provider. They will ask about your medical history and details about your sleep, diet, activity, and other habits if they don't already have them. They'll likely want to take blood, perform other tests, and give you a physical examination. A mental health professional may be recommended depending on the root cause of lassitude.

Mental Health Treatment

If lassitude is due to a known mental illness, like depression, anxiety, or substance use disorder, a mental health professional will develop a treatment plan to minimize symptoms of the underlying condition. This may include a mix of psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medication.

For those with symptoms of chronic fatigue and no identifiable cause, a treatment plan that includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of psychotherapy, may be used to set goals, cause you to take notice when symptoms are worsening, and change behaviors that improve symptoms of lassitude.

Summary

The term "lassitude" refers to the feeling of complete physical and mental exhaustion. It can stem from many different causes, including depression and anxiety; illnesses like heart disease, anemia, and cancer; substance use disorder; or environmental factors. Symptoms of lassitude include tiredness; a lack of caring, motivation, or enjoyment; low mental energy; and feelings of hopelessness.

The key to finding the right treatment for lassitude is determining its cause. Physical and mental illnesses will require different treatment options. For some, there will be no clear cause. In these cases, a mental health professional and a medical professional can help determine the best treatment methods.

A Word From Verywell

Feeling physically and mentally exhausted all the time can take a significant toll on your mind and body. Though lassitude can feel isolating and hopeless, there are ways to treat it and relieve your exhaustion. Even though you might feel too tired to reach out to a medical or mental health professional, it's an important first step in getting help.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is lassitude the same as depression?

    No. Lassitude is an all-encompassing feeling of mental and physical exhaustion. Lassitude can be related to and caused by depression, but it can also result from other physical or mental health conditions.

  • How do you treat lassitude?

    Treating lassitude depends on the underlying condition that's causing it. Part of the treatment plan includes identifying whether it's medical or mental health related. Treatment might consist of medication, psychotherapy, or other interventions.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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