Can Anemia Affect Your Emotions?

Anemia doesn't just affect your energy levels. It also can affect your emotions and relationships. Learn how this condition affects your emotions in this article.

When you’re sick, your symptoms have affect your mood and how you interact with the people around you.

A disease doesn’t just affect you on the physical level, but on the emotional level as well. When it comes to anemia, there are psychological consequences that can change your day-to-day life.

Today, we’d like to take a look at them in this article.

What is anemia and how does it happen?

Before talking about anemia’s emotional effects, it’s a good idea to learn a bit about what it is.

Basically, anemia is a condition that comes from a lack of iron in your body. The medical definition of the condition is: “a low concentration of hemoglobin in the blood.”

Detecting it requires a blood test. A laboratory analysis can also show other changes in your blood flow, such as lower amounts of red blood cells than normal or reduced hemocrit levels. However, there are other signs that are clear at first glance that can help you detect it.

Anemia is not a disease; it is a condition or deficiency.

The lack of iron can cause iron-deficiency anemia. This type is often an effect of gastrointestinal conditions or blood loss (for example, from an accident for very heavy menstrual period).

When you’re anemic, you’re low on energy

This is one of the easiest ways you may realize you lack iron in your blood.

The apathy goes further than just wanting to stay in bed on a rainy day or having trouble getting up with your alarm, however.


People who suffer from this condition are often unable do an activity without working themselves up to it. They sometimes even lack the strength to carry out daily tasks.

Other signs of anemia that are apparent at first sight are:

  • A pale face
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Easily breaking nails

Some people also use a technique to determine if they have low levels of red blood cells: lifting up your bottom eyelid and looking at the inside surface. If it’s very white, it means you probably have anemia. Of course, this isn’t scientific, but it can be pretty accurate.

Some consequences of being anemic are neurological disorders such as changes in your vision or headaches, vertigo, insomnia, and irregular menstrual periods.

How does anemia affect you on an emotional level?

Beyond the consequences of a lack of iron on your physical health, one very important aspect that doctors might not keep in mind are the issues that this condition may cause on the emotional or psychological level.

Feeling unwell can make you feel bad about yourself and the people around you. In addition, anemia can also lead to indecisiveness and feeling unsure about what you want in life.

As if that weren’t enough, you may also feel like there’s no motivation or challenge great enough to get you out of bed.

You don’t feel like doing anything, but you don’t have any other symptoms that point to a particular health problem. Often, you just “don’t feel like” moving.

You may not even be able to identify why you’re like this. Consequently, this may put you in a bad mood. It can also lead to feel mad at yourself for never being up for anything.

Discouragement and apathy are two direct consequences of anemia. This, without a doubt, affects all areas of your life.

Maybe what up you used to love doing is now twice as hard. Perhaps what used to “kept you grounded” now just feels like a burden or obligation.

Anemia and problems at work

Everyone sometimes has trouble getting up early, getting their work done, and dealing with their boss. However, for people with iron deficiency, this turns into the rule and not the exception.

Irritability, trouble concentrating on your job, issues communicating or being proactive are all warning signs you shouldn’t ignore.

For example, if you get distracted easily, if you can’t find a word or do easy math in your head, or if you forget what you were about to do, it may be related to the lack of energy associated with anemia.

Read this, too: 9 Easy Solutions for Anemia

How anemia affects your personal life

A lack of iron doesn’t go away when your workday is over and you get home. Oftentimes, the situation just feels worse.

Cleaning, making dinner, exercising, family get-togethers, classes… It all seems to be against you.

It gets harder and harder to find enough motivation to get off the couch or out of bed on the weekends, even if the sun is shining outside and you have an interesting day ahead of you.

If you’re a family member of someone with these symptoms, your first step is to insist that they get a medical exam that can diagnose their condition.

Meanwhile, you can help them start with little things that will give them energy: a light walk in the park, a little music, a dessert, fruits and vegetables that are rich in iron…

These all will revive their energy and make them feel able to enjoy what’s around them.