We spoke with P.Bolortuya, Psychiatrist at Bayanzurkh District Medical Center, about factors affecting chronic fatigue and insomnia and ways to prevent and overcome them.
What is the main cause of chronic fatigue? What especially is the main factor of the cause?
Chronic fatigue is caused by psychological stressors such as loss of a loved one, violence, witnessing and experiencing a natural disaster, physical illness, divorce, and unemployment, etc. As a result, a normality in brain function modifies. Clinical symptoms persist for more than six months. Basically, it can be defined as mild mental changes that can be cured.
How chronic fatigue affects a person's lifestyle? How many adverse effects are there?
Not feeling rested enough and feeling tired throughout the day affects a person's daily lifestyle. If it’s left untreated, chronic fatigue can lead to more serious mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Furthermore, it may lead to accidents and result in many negative social consequences, such as injuries, resignations, and dismissals from workplace.
How should we overcome this type of disorder?
I want to advise exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep at regular intervals. Learning the ways to balance work and rest, going outside for a walk, taking up a new hobby, doing yoga, meditating, or swimming to relieve stress are crucial habits to get control of the disorder. In addition, you can always consult with a psychiatrist and undergo treatment and proper medication if necessary.
I have heard that changing seasons affects the development of mental disorders, especially chronic fatigue. Does it have truth in it?
Due to common psychological stressors mentioned above, physical and mental weakness appear to be prevalent and state of emotion changes because of a nervous shock which is a psychiatric disorder triggered by witnessing an accident. Therefore, the change of season is not that important. Chronic fatigue was reported in all seasons, according to psychiatrist's medical
records. On the other side, when the seasons and weather change, a human body needs to adapt to the environment. For this reason, a body's metabolism changes which could affect the development of some diseases.
What kind of disease can be activated, to mention as an example?
For example, when the night becomes shorter and the day becomes longer, the rhythm of a
person's sleep may be disturbed. In connection with this, chronic fatigue, some mental disorders, and cardiovascular diseases may escalate. There is also a risk of developing digestive tract diseases. Therefore, if the above symptoms appear, it is necessary to consult a doctor.
I understand that a lack of sleep mainly affects the development of chronic fatigue.
Regardless of how many hours a person has slept, not feeling rested when waking up in the morning is a symptom of insomnia. It is also considered as insomnia when you have a headache, or have dreamt all night long, and wake up tired. In addition, sleeping only for four hours a day, but feeling rested with deep sleep is not considered insomnia. In contrast, even if sleeping for 12 hours a day and not feeling rested or waking up to the smallest noise and being unable to go back to sleep and staying awake until morning is considered a symptom of insomnia. If you can hear and feel everything that is happening around you while you are sleeping, it means that you are suffering from insomnia. Insomnia in children is manifested by teeth grinding, talking, having nightmares, talking in dreams, standing up, and waking up crying frequently during sleep.
Can you share with us the ways to prevent insomnia?
If symptoms of insomnia occur, do not eat a lot before going to bed at night and try to avoid drinking strong tea or coffee and doing strenuous exercise. If there are various disturbing problems, you should definitely express your concerns verbally and share your feelings and thoughts with your trusted ones. Sometimes writing them on a piece of paper and burning them
can be another effective way to get rid of your unpleasant thoughts.
Why does a person have insomnia?
There are many causes of insomnia. It is often affected by psychological distress, workplace stress, and physical injuries. In addition, family members suffering from severe illness, loss of a loved one, violence, or emotional stress can be definite source of causing insomnia. Moreover, any physical ailments such as joint pain, back pain, cardiovascular disease, and headache can cause insomnia. Therefore, identifying the root cause of insomnia and taking measures against it is the basis of any types of treatment.
How old are the affected people?
There is no age limit. Everyone, from children to elderly, can suffer from sleep disorders. Due to temporary mental problems such as workplace stress and pressure, money related financial issues, and serious illness of a loved one often causes sleepless nights. If it goes on for a long time, it can negatively affect productivity and lifestyle and causes people to behave unfriendly and be unable to communicate which, in the worst case, results in dismissal from work. However, elderly people often have symptoms of sleeping late, waking up frequently at nights, not being able to go back to sleep once they wake up, and hearing the sounds around them even after falling asleep.
Why do young children suffer from this kind of disorder?
Insomnia could be caused among children due to watching TV frequently, staring at the phone screen, and playing electronic games for a long time. In addition, a lack of a good night's sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, restricted ability to concentrate, and decreased memory. These can lead to poor academic performance and manner of irritability. Children should not be shown screens two hours before bedtime. If you watch TV, use the phone, or play on the computer before going to bed, you will not be able to sleep well. Getting enough rest for children has many benefits, including improved concentration, learning, and immune support.
How does insomnia affect the health of people in general?
Many of the clients with insomnia are diagnosed with sleep disorders for one to two years. The symptoms they show are insomnia at nights, difficulty getting up in the morning, feeling restless, and even fatigued. These clients suffered from chronic fatigue, decreased work productivity, and experienced lack of understanding of with colleagues and family members and emotional instability. People with insomnia are usually emotionally unstable. Recently, it is commonly reported that more people complain about their frequent forgetfulness about what they have done, their inability to concentrate, and their deteriorated memory. All of these are mental health problems caused by deprived amount of sleep.
How should we sleep well? What is the proper medication?
When clients who come to our clinic are asked, “Have you ever taken sleeping pills?”, they answer that they have taken drugs such as chlorphenamine, ketotifin, and phezam. However, these drugs are anti-allergic. Medicines on the Mongolian list of psychotropic and hypnotic sedatives are prescribed only by doctors. Therefore, it is important to consult a specialist for
diagnosis and treatment.
What are the main mental illnesses of people receiving your services?
According to the examination statistics of Bayanzurkh District Psychiatry and Narcology team, there is an increase in the prevalence of non-organic insomnia in recent years which is noteworthy. “Non-organic sleep” is a sleep disorder that is not related to a physical disorder and occurs independently regardless of age. In 2018, 187 cases of non-organic insomnia were
registered, and this year, the incidence increased by 7.2 times to 1,166. Due to a lack of sleep, it affects the quality of life of a person due to stress, fatigue, reduced work productivity, and even inability to do work. It can be concluded that there is a need in society for government and business organizations to pay close attention to the mental health of their employees and
provide information through training and counseling of professional organizations. In 2018, 10 cases of chronic fatigue syndrome were registered according to the doctor's examination statistics. Five years later, the number increased to 61, which is 6.1 times higher. These people were referred to the District Psychiatry Office and received drug and psychological treatment.