What is it?

Lethargy causes you to feel sleepy or fatigued and sluggish. This sluggishness may be physical or mental. People with these symptoms are described as lethargic.
Lethargy can be related to an underlying physical or mental condition.

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Signs & symptoms

Lethargy can cause some or all of the following symptoms:
* changes in mood
* decreased alertness or decreased ability to think
* fatigue
* low energy
* sluggishness
People with lethargy may act as if they’re in a daze. They may move more slowly than usual.


Your doctor will usually take a full medical history to discuss any of your previous medical conditions.
They may also perform a physical exam that can include:
* listening to your heart and lungs
* checking for bowel sounds and pain
* evaluating your mental awareness
* Diagnostic testing typically depends on what your doctor suspects may be an underlying cause. For example, if your doctor thinks you may have a thyroid disorder, they may order blood tests to determine if your thyroid hormones are high or low.

Your doctor may order imaging studies, such as a CT or MRI scan, if they suspect the cause is brain-related, such as a head injury, stroke, or meningitis.


Treatment for lethargy depends upon its underlying cause. For example, they may prescribe antidepressants if your lethargy is caused by depression or another mental health disorder.
You can practice healthy habits at home to reduce the fatigue related to lethargy. Examples include:
* drinking plenty of fluids
* eating a healthy diet
* getting plenty of sleep
* reducing stress levels

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

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