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Medically, the term fatigue is used to describe a state in which an individual is unable to perform their usual mental, physical tasks. It is a more severe form of exhaustion and a person experiencing symptoms of exhaustion may land up fatigued if they continue to push their bodies and their minds without a break. In fatigue, muscle strength does not actually decrease but the fatigued individual may perceive a lack of strength in the muscles due to their fatigue and lack of energy. A lack of muscular strength is known as weakness. A fatigued person may feel as though they are physically not able to perform their usual activities, such as standing, lifting and walking. On a mental level, a person may feel that they cannot think or concentrate as well as they should be able to and they may feel as though they cannot stay awake. Emotionally their coping mechanisms may be decreased.

Fatigue may be experienced as a defence mechanism in response to over working. In this instance the body experiences fatigue in order to prevent or to avoid causing further damage. Fatigue may also occur as the body uses up all its energy supplies and is not able to produce sufficient energy to continue working at the same pace. Fatigue may be caused by strenuous work outs without any breaks in between to recover, or by stress and over work on a mental as well as physical level. It is also a symptom of many medical conditions.