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Is Apathy A Symptom Of Depression

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Fatigue And Depression: When Is Tiredness A Warning Sign

Understanding Depressive Symptoms – Apathy and Lack of Motivation

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Sleep is an important part of overall health, but for many, it does not come easily. Millions of Americans report feeling fatigue a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion.

Many different factors, ranging from poor sleep to health conditions, can cause fatigue. Its also a common symptom of mental health conditions, such as depression.

Being fatigued doesnt mean youre depressed, but fatigue can be a warning sign. Learn more about the link between the conditions.

The Many Ways Anxiety Creates Apathy

Apathy is the absence of caring. It’s a lack of desire to engage in activities, make changes, or find crave anything positive. Apathy can affect each and every anxiety disorder, and while is most common with severe anxiety.

Apathy seems like an “emotion” that doesn’t seem to fit with what anxiety causes. But there are actually several different reasons that apathy occurs. A small sample of these reasons includes:

On a natural level when you’re dealing with anxiety every day, it’s hard to imagine having a good day at all. On a chemical level, anxiety may actually change your brain to look only at the negatives and ignore the potential positives. It’s easy to see all of the ways/reasons that apathy may occur.

Dysthymia And Apathy: Diagnosis And Treatment

Masaru Mimura

1Department of Psychiatry, Nagata Hospital, 5173 Goji-cho, Miyakonojo-shi, Miyazaki 885-0084, Japan

2Department of Neuropsychiatry, Showa University School of Medicine, 6-11-11 Kita-Karasuyama, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8577, Japan

3Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan


1. Dysthymia

Dysthymia is a depressive mood disorder that is characterized by chronic, persistent but mild depression, affecting 36% of individuals in the community and as many as 36% of outpatients in mental health settings . Although by definition, the depressed mood of dysthymia is not severe enough to meet the criteria for major depressive disorder, it is accompanied by significant subjective distress or impairment of social, occupational, or other important activities as a result of mood disturbance . Dysthymia manifests as a depressed mood persisting for at least two years that lasts for most of the day, occurs on more days than not, and is accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms:poor appetite or overeating,insomnia or hypersomnia,low energy or fatigue,low self-esteem,poor concentration or difficulty making decisions,feelings of hopelessness.

2. Treatment for Dysthymia

3. Apathy

Apathy versus depression.

4. Treatment for Apathy


  • American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Text Revision, 4th edition, 2000.
  • Copyright

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    History And Other Views

    Christians have historically condemned apathy as a deficiency of love and devotion to God and his works. This interpretation of apathy is also referred to as Sloth and is listed among the Seven Deadly Sins. Clemens Alexandrinus used the term to draw to Christianity philosophers who aspired after virtue.

    The modern concept of apathy became more well known after World War I, when it was one of the various forms of “shell shock“. Soldiers who lived in the trenches amidst the bombing and machine gun fire, and who saw the battlefields strewn with dead and maimed comrades, developed a sense of disconnected numbness and indifference to normal social interaction when they returned from combat.

    In 1950, US novelist John Dos Passos wrote: “Apathy is one of the characteristic responses of any living organism when it is subjected to stimuli too intense or too complicated to cope with. The cure for apathy is comprehension.”

    Engaging In A Healthy Lifestyle

    (PDF) Apathy Is Not Depression
  • 1Get proper sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood, energy, and concentration. When it comes to depression, sleep can make depressive symptoms worse and vice versa. For this reason, its important to build good sleep habits that make sleep a priority every night.XResearch source
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. This will alert your body to follow a routine.
  • Create a calming and relaxing bedtime routine each night. Read a book, take a bath, or sip a cup of tea to wind down from the day.
  • 2Get moving. Exercise is great for both physical and emotional health. Exercise can increase your sense of well-being, help you feel more energetic, and bring you more relaxation. Exercise has been found to be effective at treating some forms of depression as effectively as medications but without the side-effects! Exercise can help you feel good or can be a distraction from feeling apathetic.XTrustworthy SourceHelpGuideNonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources.Go to source
  • There are lots of ways to exercise. Lift weights, go swimming, attend a yoga class or dance class. Try doing your exercise first thing in the morning before you lose motivation. This will help to set the tone for your day and lead to better days.
  • Keep in mind that frequency is more important than duration. It does not matter how long you exercise as long as you do some form of exercise daily.
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    Signs Of Apathy: What It Looks Like

    Whereas other mental health symptoms could look very differently depending on the individual, the intensity of the symptom, and the source, apathy will present in a consistent and uniformed way frequently. A person with apathy will seem uncaring, unconcerned, and disinterested to almost all aspects of life. In addition, their energy and motivation will be very low.

    Apathy could affect both males and females from all age groups. Potential signs of apathy include:1

    Apathy may be easy to identify in most adults, but noting the symptom in teens or older adults can be difficult because others may assume the changes are a normal consequence of the age. People may expect teenagers to be ambivalent, demotivated, and lazy, so they will blame the age, instead of apathy. The same people may view less energy, lower activity levels, and limited goal setting as a normal part of aging in seniors, but it could be apathy related to a neurological condition.

    Is It Apathy Or Depression

    A common question many caregivers have is whether the person with dementia is depressed: He just sits there doing nothing. Is he depressed? Given the symptoms of apathy described above, it is understandable that this question arises.

    While apathy often resembles depression, not everyone with apathy is depressed. Its important to note that apathy is not the same as depression. People with apathy dont typically have feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, hopelessness or thoughts of worthlessness. They might appear or feel uninterested, disengaged, or unexcited, but are not necessarily depressed. If you are concerned, it is best to talk to your health care professional.

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    Increasing Your Social Involvement

  • 1Engage in previously enjoyed activities. Think about what used to bring you genuine joy. Is it talking to a good friend, eating something delicious, or listening to music? Find something that you know makes you laugh or smile. Even if it doesnt feel as exciting as it once used to, it can help you deal with your current apathy and at least bring a smile to your face.XResearch source
  • Focus on social activities so that you can be with friends or make new ones.
  • You can reach out to a friend just to say hello or to go on a short walk.XExpert Source
  • What Is Apathy All About

    Apathy or Depression with Parkinson’s Disease: Which One Is It?

    We all experience apathy from time to time and do not wish to show interest in anything. It could be due to lack of motivation or because of no interest in day to day activities. However, the degree can vary amongst people and sometimes can be a symptom of depression, stress or mental health disorder.

    Interestingly, the term apathy or feeling pathetic can also be described as lack of concern for the loved ones or losing interest in what was always loved before. A number of types could be seen to understand the depth of apathy.

    • Emotional apathy- Where the person doesnt feel any kind of emotions, positive or negative.
    • Behavioral apathy- It shows lack of self initiated behavior
    • General apathy- No motivation or no interest in social behavior

    Apart from the above ones, other forms of apathy include and Compassion fatigue .

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    How Can I Cope With Apathy

    Recognize that the person with apathy is not intentionally refusing to participate in activities and is not lazy. Nor does it mean the person needs to try a little harder or just show some spark of interest. Remind yourself that the apathy is likely a symptom of his or her disease. You can try to find out why the person is not able to do their usual activities. Questions to consider are:

    • Have they forgotten how to do the activity? or
    • Are they forgetting to do the activity?

    Fatigue And Sleep Problems

    Getting enough sleep can feel like an uphill battle. But if your habits havent changed and youre experiencing a sudden and overwhelming lack of energy, you may be experiencing an early symptom of depression.

    If you notice sleep issues like sleeping too much, bouts of insomnia, or waking multiple times through the night or too early, these can also be signs of a depressive episode.

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    Strategies To Manage Apathy

    Like all the symptoms of Parkinsons, apathy requires that you make active choices to achieve your best quality of life. Here are some you can try, right away.

    #1 Get out of the house daily

    Create a weekly plan, or at least a plan for the day ahead, of leisure activities you want to do outside the home. If you plan the activity ahead of time, you dont even have to think about it, and you can just step into it.

    Ideas to consider:

    Talking To A Therapist

    (PDF) Low

    Coping with apathy often requires professional guidance and support from a therapist. Therapists can listen to your perspective and reshape your thoughts to boost healthier patterns. In the best situations, your therapist can offer strategies and interventions that quickly improve apathy, so therapy is no longer needed.

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    How Does Apathy Affect Someones Mental Health

    When apathy presents, it may be a fleeting experience of disinterest and low motivation, or it could become a lasting problem. The sum of apathy plus time can result in negative impacts to a person√Ęs mental health and well-being.

    Apathy has the power to affect energy, motivation, interest, pleasure, and optimism. These symptoms are all related to depression and major depressive episodes.

    In the case of schizophrenia and neurocognitive disorders, apathy is an effect, not a cause, but in the case of depression, it can be either cause or effect. People must work to identify and resolve this type of apathy before it can build towards depression.

    Apathy In Depression Changes What You Know Of Yourself

    My depressive apathy is taking what I know of myself and chucking it out the nearest window. I used to work hard to go above and beyond expectations, holding myself to high standards and giving excuses only when necessary. My extreme apathy has destroyed my work ethic, though, and I cant even get myself to care about pressing deadlines.

    I also used to find great joy in humanity and the fact that we humans are living, breathing bags of water that can have conversations about the fact that we are living, breathing bags of water. But my apathy has proven capable of raining on my parade, making that joy appear pointless and absurd. It has effectively drained me of my will to live and my typical programming to always find a will and a way has been overwritten. Before my indifference became a problem, I was a hardworking, scrappy depression fighter with a love of lists and a knack for giggling at cat videos. Now I dont even look at cat videos.

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    Changing Your Thoughts And Behaviors

  • 1Start problem-solving. Think about what you can do right now to stop feeling apathetic. Its time to get unstuck from unhealthy habits or patterns. If youve been sitting on the couch all day, get up and go outside. Think about what isnt working in your life currently and what needs to happen to make it better. Get into problem-solving mode and make it happen.XResearch source
  • For example, if youve been playing video games or watching television for hours, turn off the TV and take a walk. If youre putting off something , do it now.
  • Think about what isnt working in general. Are you stuck in a rut with your relationship? Do you hate your job? What areas of your life feel stagnant?
  • If youre struggling to problem-solve or get motivated enough to create solutions, call up a friend to help you or brainstorm with you. Journaling about whatever comes to mind may also help you to find some direction.
  • Try doing even just one or two things to get a feeling of accomplishment and prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. For larger chores, try breaking them up into a series of smaller tasks. For example, instead of deciding to clean your bedroom, you could do small parts of that task like putting away your clothes, tidying up your desk, making your bed, or vacuuming the floor.
  • If youre not happy in your career, think about a goal you can set. Maybe you can change positions or jobs, or perhaps you want to go back to school and try a new profession.
  • The Connection Between Apathy And Depression

    Tips to Work Through Apathy from Depression | HealthyPlace

    As you can see, certain common patterns are prevailing in both those conditions. Yet, it is crucial to know how to determine and differentiate these disorders in order to receive proper help and treatment. To learn more about it, you can read professional essays on the topic. Picking the professional essay writers is the best form of help you can count on online, wrote john milovich in his review of paper writing help service. You can follow his advice and order more research on this topic from the professionals.

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    Apathy In Depression Is Challenging Not Permanent

    Apathy in depression is the feeling of indifference towards yourself, your life, and those around you . Apathy in depression is uncomfortable and disappointing because it makes what you once cared about seem unimportant. My love of being active and working hard has been replaced with a black hole that sucks up my emotions and desires, making me a mess of I-dont-cares and shoulder shrugs. I fear my apathy in depression and I resent the challenges that indifference creates.

    How Is Apathy Treated

    It depends on whats being treated on a larger scale. A study from 2010 that looked at dysthymia and apathy found that there is no consensus about treatment for apathy. Any medical or therapeutic treatment for apathy generally relates to a larger condition for which it is presenting. For example, dopamine agonists seem to work in patients with Parkinsons disease, while atypical antipsychotics, used in schizophrenia, have been reported to help treat apathy in Alzheimers disease and other dementias. It concluded that the treatment of apathy should be considered according to the biology and pathology of the patient.

    For apathy that is caused by being overwhelmed to the point of shutting down, Ertel recommends a few simple methods for coping:

    • Make a prioritized list of your required tasks
    • Practice setting boundaries and saying no to unnecessary tasks/requests,
    • Make self-care non-negotiable

    For apathy that is caused by being underwhelmed to the point where you are feeling lost and out of sorts, try the following:

    • Identify some new short and long-term goals
    • Make a list of hobbies you might enjoy, try each one at a time to see if any spark your interest or joy
    • Invest in yourself by reading and making a point to learn at least one new thing per week

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    How Is Apathy Diagnosed

    Healthcare providers use 4 criteria to diagnose apathy. People with apathy meet all 4 of the following:

    • A decrease in or lack of motivation. A person displays diminished motivation thats not consistent with age, culture, or health status.
    • Behavioral, thinking, or emotional changes. Changes in behavior may make it difficult to engage in conversations or perform daily tasks. Changes in thinking include adisinterest in the news, social events, and deep thinking.
    • Effect on quality of life. The changes in behavior negatively affect a persons professional life and personal relationships.
    • Changes in behavior not caused by other conditions. The changes in behavior are unrelated to physical disabilities, substance use, or an affected level of consciousness.

    Someone must have these symptoms for 4 weeks or longer to be diagnosed with apathy.

    Common Symptoms Of Depression

    Post stroke depression

    Symptoms of depression can vary. They may manifest themselves differently from person to person. However, for most people, depression symptoms affect their ability to perform daily activities, interact with others, or go to work or go to school. If you suffer from depression you may often experience several of the following:

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    Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment For People With Stimulant Use Disorders: Counselor’s Family Education Manual W/cd

    This comprehensive kit provides substance use disorder treatment professionals with a year-long intensive outpatient treatment model. Professionals can use this model when treating clients who are dependent on stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Access family education sessions and handouts.

    Apathy In Depression Makes It Challenging To Cope

    Apathy in depression is challenging in that it can interrupt your coping with depression strategy. I struggle to eat because I dont care that Im hungry I put off brushing my teeth because I dont care about keeping my cavity-free record I dont write because I dont care about writing. There are some days that I feel like I dont care about my depression at all and I wonder if I can somehow slip away from my indifference by asserting that Im indifferent.

    No matter how complicated and apathetic this experience with apathy in my depression, I take comfort in my frustration. My frustration is a sign that some small piece of me still cares enough to take up arms against the dreaded apathy of depression. A tiny bit of my mind wants to fight forced nonchalance in my head and thats a nice reminder of the person Im fighting to recover.

    APA ReferenceVerbeke, T. . Apathy in Depression Is Challenging, Not Permanent, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, October 4 from

    BryanEsmeeKamoLornaAKDElizabeth D. Smythe Psy.D.Sheryl

    This was beautifully written. I can identify with these signs. Thank you for sharing.

    Jon WhittleLetisiaJenniferSusanne

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