“The symptoms of fatigue, shakiness, light-headedness and racing heart can put individuals at risk for relapsing to stimulant type drugs (cocaine, adderall, ritalin) to try to boost energy, or alcohol to try to calm the racing heart and what feels like bad nerves.”
Douglas Beach, a doctor, said in an email that anemia usually isn’t the cause of mental health issues.
“Anemia [is] usually a sign or manifestation of [an] underlying disease process,” Beach said. “If the degree of anemia is severe, it can cause fatigue and exertional shortness of breath. Fatigue can have a direct impact on one's overall well-being and lead to feeling ‘depressed.’ However, mild anemia should have no effect. On the other hand, the underlying disorder causing the anemia is more likely to affect mood, such as chronic diseases like kidney disease, inflammatory arthritis, and an underactive thyroid. Anemia from vitamin deficiencies, such as B12 deficiency, can rarely be associated with depression and memory loss/dementia.”
How do you think anemia affects mental health? Do you have anemia and have you suffered any mental health effects? Share your stories below.
Familydoctor.org editorial staff. Anemia: When Low Iron Is the Cause. Web. August 3, 2011. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/blood/009.html
National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Anemia – PubMed Health. Web. August 3, 2011.
Harrison, Nzinga. Email interview. August 3, 2011.
Beach, Douglas. Email interview. August 2, 2011.
Reviewed August 4, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith