Between the stress from our personal, social, and professional lives, it's easy to become “run down” every once in awhile. But while we may push off feeling run down as just overly tired, in reality feeling “run down” can often be a sign of something much more serious and can have a detrimental affect on your overall health. Here are the symptoms of being run-down, so you can better recognize the signs.

Being “run down” is not so much a result of overworking yourself as it is a result of the stress associated with working too hard taking a toll on your immune system. Our immune system is our first and strongest defense against pathogens and disease. A 2012 study found that when we are are over-stressed it causes our immune system to become less sensitive to cortisol, a stress hormone which dampens the immune system, The Daily Mail reported. This causes an increase in the inflammatory response of our immune system, which can actually promote the onset of disease.

“Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well,” explained lead researcher Dr. Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, in a press release.

While illnesses such as a cold are caused by a virus, their symptoms are the result of our immune system's inflammatory response working to fight the invading pathogens. The bigger the inflammatory response in your immune system, the more likely you are to experience the symptoms of a disease. This is why being stressed can cause an illness that you would normally be able to fight off easily.

According to WebMD, in addition to stress, lack of sleep can also have a detrimental effect on the immune system, not only increasing our immune response but also decreasing the amount of T cells in the body—the “warrior” cells that act as the first line of defense against disease.

One of the most common symptoms of feeling run down is a fuzzy mind, or forgetting simple yet important tasks, such as where you left your house keys or to fill up your car with gas. Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, medical director of Take Shape for Life, told The Daily Burn that lack of sleep can cause an imbalance in chemicals your body uses to refresh the areas of the brain which control mood, behavior, and memories. This is why run-down individuals seem forgetful, moody or irritable.

In addition, to help cope with the increased levels of cortisol in your body caused by stress, your brain will crave the hormone serotonin, The Daily Burn reported. You may have an increased desire to eat high-fat or high-carb junk food in order to get serotonim.

While being run-down can be dangerous for your health, the path to recovery is easier than you might realize. Sleeping well, eating healthful meals, and learning to better cope with the stresses in your life can help stabilize your immune system and will lead to your feeling better overall.