What Is Apathy?
What Is Apathy? Apathy means a lack of any feelings. It is a state of mind where everything seems flat and dull, and a person is indifferent to what is happening in the world around them. Unlike sadness, in which there is at least an emotion felt, there.is no kind of reaction, no intensity of feeling whatsoever.
What causes apathy?
What Is Apathy? There are many factors that may result in apathetic feelings. Apathy may develop as an understandable response to severe or extreme stress — a retreat from a period of feeling too much too intensely. A major illness, a serious accident or a bereavement are typical events that so drain a person’s emotional reserves that apathy, with its safe sense of numbness, occurs as a natural result. Over the longer term, conditions such as unemployment, poverty or social deprivation can all make individuals, or even whole communities, chronically apathetic. Once fixed into this pattern of helplessness, and even hopeless indifference, it is very difficult to break out of its grip. However, there are steps to help break this pattern.
What Is Apathy? A feeling of pointlessness about both your career and relationships is a sure sign of apathy, which often has a treatable cause.
SYMPTOMS Depressive Apathy ❑ Blunting of feelings and emotions. ❑ Disordered sleep and appetite. ❑ Lacking interest in usual enjoyments. ❑ Loss of energy and enthusiasm. ❑ Life seems dull, pointless, meaningless.
Are there any illnesses that cause apathy?
There are certainly a number of conditions, both physical and psychiatric, that must be considered as contributing to apathy. Once the obvious social and personal factors have been excluded, a depressive illness is most likely to be the cause.
Symptoms Of Apathy
What Is Apathy? True depression is usually missed because it comes on very slowly. It typically impairs one’s ability to think clearly or get on with things and has a quality of emotional numbness rather than tears or tantrums. Likewise, drug users often seem void of motivation. Some forms of schizophrenia can be largely ‘negative’ in the way they appear – sufferers simply withdraw from the world. Other possible causes are brain tumors; anemia (lack of enough red blood cells); a thyroid disorder and some nervous diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, which causes difficulty in moving, the stiffness of the limbs and slowness in reactions.
How Can Apathy Be Diagnosed And Treated?
Although it is not a formal medical disorder, apathy can often be helped by seeing a doctor. A good, clear history of the events leading up to the present will be assisted by having a relative or friend also give their version. A physical examination, especially of the nervous system, and some simple blood tests will eliminate most organic illnesses as a cause. Occasionally a specialist opinion, for example, that of a psychiatrist or neurologist, may be needed, or even a special X-ray, such as a brain scan. Treatment will depend
on the underlying illness, but anti-depressant medication, or drug therapy for any physical disorder – for example, iron for anemia are generally effective. Counselling for drug abuse requires patience and co-operation from the sufferer, and group therapy is often the most useful in this case.
When Should I See My Doctor?
When you know there’s been a change and your feelings seem blunted. Family or friends may comment on this. If there is no obvious cause, such as the death of someone close, or continuing money or job problems, then that is all the more reason to seek advice. A bereavement or personal problems can also be helped; do not allow them to drag on too long.
What Can I Do Myself?
Apathy tends to become a habit, especially if unemployment, lack of money or boredom are weighing you down. One can get used to it, and even feel comfortable with it. If you do not seem to be able to laugh at things, if there’s nothing to look forward to, and if people seem to find you dull and avoid you, it’s time to take action. Seeing a doctor or properly qualified counsellor is one step. Changing jobs, taking on something new
like an evening class, a research project, keeping a diary; setting yourself particular goals for the next week, month or year – all can help break the mould.
How Can I Avoid Apathy?
We all have times when we just feel exhausted or too numb to care. The pace of life is sometimes too much. Depression tends to recur, so recognising the early signs and getting treatment or help quickly is important. Drugs, alcohol, and eating too much can all be pleasant but leave you feeling dulled, afterwards. Therefore a nice balance of working and relaxing, doing and not doing, sleeping and eating regularly will be protective. A mood diary, rating each day with pluses and minuses, can help you keep an eye on changes in your state of mind.
Is Apathy Dangerous?
The main risks are from any underlying illness causing the apathy. Depression can lead to self-neglect or even suicide. Physical illnesses need early recognition to be more easily treated. Otherwise, the biggest risk is to your own needs and relationships. Dulled people tend to become isolated and embittered, so tackling the problem in its early stages is vital.
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