Today it has become more common for students or athletes to take drugs. And it has often been noticed that women in factories, even more than men, resort to stimulants “just to keep going.”
How effective are these drugs against fatigue? What place do they take in the arsenal of anti-fatigue therapeutics? Are they dangerous?
“Fatigue 21st-century” is a nervous fatigue often made more complicated by neurotic disturbances, which can, if severe, have a detrimental effect on the personality.
In this case, diet is not enough.
Even rest is not the cure, and sometimes psychotherapy is necessary to put the personality back into equilibrium and to help it to regain its norm.
And also, sometimes, the doctor has to prescribe medicines to stop the deterioration from turning into nervous depression.
These medicines are numerous.
Anti-fatigue medicines – which have been perfected by modern science are very effective.
They are not used only as remedies against fatigue but they have an important place in the treatment of mental disorders, to which they have brought a kind of revolution.
But people have begun to abuse them and to take them in the same way as others have a drink.
But because they are effective they can be dangerous. And for several reasons.
The feeling of fatigue is an alarm signal and it is very important to safeguard this signal.
There are medicines capable of suppressing it. But it is only the signal that they are suppressing and not fatigue.
Only a doctor can judge in what measure a person who feels very tired should or should not be stimulated by anti-fatigue medicines.
Without a doctor’s supervision of dosage, some ingredients used in prescriptions could be harmful.
Some can be habit-forming.
When they are stimulants and taken wrongly, the boost that they give may be followed by exhaustion.
Besides, their effects are very varied, according to the person. Such-and-such a substance will have no effect on one person, over-excite another, plunge a third into a profound apathy which can lead to the complete suppression of the preservation instinct.
It should be understood that the use of such medicines is a matter for a doctor to decide, and they must be used with a great deal of caution.
They act on fatigue through regulators in the brain, and so may have direct effects on personality and behavior.
There are two groups, those which stimulate and those which calm.
But only a doctor should decide whether, or when, or by whom they should be taken.
Some medicines which counter fatigue contain hormones. Again, a doctor is the only judge as to whether you should have them.
To sum up: in the matter of tonics, appetite stimulants, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and so on, always take your doctor’s advice and follow it exactly.
Exercises which work against fatigue
Physical exercise is absolutely necessary for the fight against fatigue.
For this fatigue, which is above all nervous, is linked with the lack of exercise from which the great majority of citizens suffer today.
Doctors have studied several techniques, all effective, to give people suitable indoor exercise, to make up for the advantages of the active physical life in the open air which people used to have a few generations ago.
People are tired because they are tense. Their psychological tension provokes hypertension of the muscular system.
Relaxation consists of easing the muscular tautness in order to release the psychological tension.
Relaxation is an active technique which requires study. Several weeks are needed, sometimes months, before a patient can practice alone.
Relaxation is sometimes obtained through gymnastics. The Swedish use this knowledge in their factories, where there are periods devoted to exercises to counter strain.
Experiments of this kind have also been carried out in France, especially for call center agents.
Sometimes the “patients” feel foolish, but once the fear of ridicule has been overcome these active periods have given good results.
The body is an implement, a collection of organs which can be made fit, and which is then better able to cope with daily life.
If, for example, the cardiovascular system is in good condition, this assures better circulation. At the same time, there is a better cerebral circulation – thus better physical resistance to the effects of fatigue.
Half an hour a day should be devoted to keeping the body in good condition. Five minutes is not enough.
This half-hour can, however, be divided into several small sessions during the day.
Massage not only relaxes the body – the muscles – but also the mind.
Our main strength is the contact, both physical and moral, that we have with people. That hand which is placed on his back means confidence to the patient.
The massage which gets rid of fatigue is a slow massage. Two sessions, of 20 to 40 minutes a week, varying with the person, are an effective anti-fatigue treatment.
However, there are some “musts.” The patient must not remain passive, he must co-operate in breathing and posture, and work with his masseur.
The inert patient who goes to sleep during a massage does not get the real benefit. There must be close contact and shared effort between masseur and patient.
The treatment is up to 80 percent effective if the patient is co-operative.
The physical exercises of yoga are especially effective against fatigue.
A breathing technique is the basis of the method. It is breathing in waves, and is, successively, abdominal, thoracic, clavicular. It is practiced on the ground, lying on the back.
At the moment of inhaling through the nose, the abdomen distends slightly, the thorax enlarges, and the respiration moves up to the clavicles (collarbones).
For breathing out, always through the nose, the abdomen becomes hollow, the thorax empties, and the clavicles subside.
Practiced constantly during most of the exercises, a harmony of the different nervous centers and a better circulation result from this rhythmic breathing.