Everybody Is Exhausted: Stress And Social Media Are Taking Their Toll

By Bill Ervolino
The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dr. Maria Vila, a physician at Atlantic Health System’s Chambers Center for Well Being in Morristown, says fatigue is one of the most common complaints among her patients. And, no, she doesn’t think “You’re getting older” is a particularly helpful diagnosis. She says that with her patients she starts by looking at the patient’s history, their diet, exercise, sleep patterns and stress levels.

HACKENSACK, N.J.

Marie Sullivan says that she knew something “wasn’t quite right” during a doctor visit, five years ago.

“I thought I might be anemic, but the results of my annual physical were fine,” the Paramus resident recalls. “All my numbers were in the normal range. The blood work turned up nothing. I said to my doctor, ‘Are you sure? What’s wrong with me?’ ”

Her doctor told Sullivan, “You’re getting older.” But Sullivan, 60, wasn’t buying it. “I’m not that old,” she says. “I used to have tons of energy. I know you slow down as you age, but I’m physically exhausted all the time. And I know I’m not the only person who feels this way.”

Lassitude. Weariness. Fatigue. Whichever phrase you prefer, recurring tiredness seems to be the new normal for a growing number of people, regardless of their age or background.

Causes range from illnesses such as anemia, depression, hypothyroidism, diabetes and heart disease to the increasing overuse of technology and its implications on our mental well-being.

Yes, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can wear you out, says Dr. Patricia Bratt, a therapist and psychoanalyst with offices in Livingston and New York City.

“Social media can run the gamut from being fabulously uplifting to being totally depressing and exhausting,” says Bratt, who is also the director of trauma and resilience studies at the Livingston-based Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis. “And this applies to all ages.”

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