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Students succumb to effects of exhaustion

Nov. 13, 1997

School, work, organizations rank among a number of factors fatiguing students

Hollis Norton

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

Students are feeling the stress and strain of school as mid-semester exhaustion sets in. Blame the feeling on the weather, commitments to organizations or this week's round of tests and projects, but the fact remains, students are tired.

Exhaustion cases are seen all year long at the Baylor Health Center.

'People are always coming and saying, 'I just don't have the energy I need. I am trying to get more sleep, but I am still tired.' Students are more understanding of fatigue when they understand the circumstances, and they accept fatigue during finals or mid-term exams because they know what caused it,' said Dr. Mark Schwartze, medical director of the Health Center.

'Sleep deprivation is the No. 1 cause of fatigue on this campus,' Schwartze said.

Schwartze said symptoms of fatigue include excessive daytime sleepiness, not waking up refreshed and lightheadedness.

One of the health-related consequences of exhaustion is the reduction in immunilogical resistance. This can result in contracting colds, the flu or more serious communicable diseases.

'Exhaustion can also result in negative effects on scholastic and athletic performance. It can cause you to be drowsy, dizzy and disoriented,' Schwartze said.

Fatigue can be psychologically related. It is very prevalent among people with depression, and it could be a signal of the disease.

'Exhaustion can result from being over-scheduled and not getting enough sleep. Depression and anxiety are also causes of exhaustion,' Dr. Glenn Pack, director of Counseling Services.

Physical exhaustion works with depression. Not feeling good and having no desire to feel good can lead to physical and emotional fatigue, Pack said.

One possible cause of fatigue is negativity.

'The kinds of interpretations we make can cause fatigue. Negative messages can equal negative emotional symptoms, so thought reform can have a positive effect on energy levels,' Pack said.

The best way to prevent exhaustion is to 'use moderation in the things you are doing,' Schwartze said. He also said students should 'choose what they want to do and remember why they are here. They are here to be students. With exhaustion, students can not function properly.'

The best way to cure exhaustion is to get some sleep, but if the problem persists, then the next step is to see a physician.

'Frequently, we want to look at students' bloodwork to see if there is a more serious problem such as mono or liver damage, and we always want to sit down and talk with the patients to see if there are any more symptoms,' Schwartze said.

Schwartze said students should 'definitely' not try to diagnose themselves.

'The worst thing a person can do is turn to medication or caffeine to treat ... fatigue,' Schwartze said.

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