Abulia: what is it and what symptoms prevent its arrival?

Often times, we can find ourselves in situations where we don’t feel like doing anything. For example, a large number of patients with major depression report not wanting to get out of bed or try to achieve their goals as rational or even simple as they may seem. This lack of motivation and energy is what we call abulia, An extreme form of apathy.

But … What is the reason for this curious psychological phenomenon? Below, we’ll take a look at what causes abulia and how it affects us.

    Abulia: concept and symptoms

    It is understood as aboulie to the loss or the lack of will to make decisions, Focus on the goals and have the motivation to achieve them. The abuli person has a low level of vital energy and an almost nonexistent interest in the stimuli or the activities which would have motivated him before. It can be considered an extreme form of apathy.

    The Abulic subject tends to have serious difficulty initiating and completing most acts and activities, so it is common for them to postpone them. This applies not only to leisure, but also to professional aspects and other responsibilities and even to basic activities of daily living, such as eating. It is also common to have social difficulties, Having no motivation or desire for relationship.

    On the other hand, people with abulia have problems when it comes to making decisions and organizing their own thinking due to the state of depression that their psychological state causes, with slowing of the thought. The subject’s movements also often present alterations, See reduced spontaneous movement and take longer to respond to stimulation. People with abulia usually feel helpless and indecisive, sometimes suffer from great emotional pain and at other times it can lead to emotional monotony.

    While at the beginning this term was conceived as a mental disorder, it is now abolished it is considered a symptom or a set of symptoms indicative of different types of mental and physical disorders.

    the causes

    The causes of abulia can be very varied, depending on the disorder. At the neurological level, it has been found that it can appear in case of frontal brain injuries, In the basal ganglia or in the anterior cingulate, all areas related to motivation and initiation of movements. These injuries can be caused by various disorders and diseases, as well as stroke or traumatic brain injury.

    It can also be caused by different types of infections like syphilis if it ends up affecting the brain. Likewise, they may observe symptoms of the abulia type in people with anemia, lacking in several essential nutrients.

    In addition to these biological causes, it is possible to find states of abulia in people who suffer or have experienced prolonged stress over time, With a high level of frustration and suffering that is experienced in helplessness and despair.

    Disorders in which it appears

    Abulia as a symptom it can appear in a large number of disorders and diseases. Some of them are as follows.

    1. Dementias

    Abulia is a characteristic symptom in people with different dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, Due to the progressive degeneration of brain structures that occurs in this type of disorder.

      2. Major depression

      One of the mental disorders in which bullying is most common is major depression. State of demotivation, hopelessness and a feeling of little control they can end up generating a lack of desire to act, and often occur with the absence of pleasure from pleasurable activities, a phenomenon called anhedonia.

      3. Schizophrenia

      Abulia too it can appear in a psychotic-type disorder, such as in the case of schizophrenia. In this case, we would be faced with a negative symptom that would reduce the subject’s usual vital functional capacity, and it often appears alongside the allergy. Considering the existence of different types of schizophrenia, schizophrenias of disorganized, simple or catatonic subtypes are certain in which they can appear more frequently and with greater visibility. It can also be seen as a residual symptom after a psychotic outbreak.

        possible treatments

        Treating abulia as a symptom is possible in a large number of cases, although the actual treatment will depend largely on its causes. It can be treated both psychologically and pharmacologically.

        On the psychological level, the use of different strategies applied in the event of depression is recommended. These strategies are based on to promote action and the realization of various pleasant activities and gradually awaken motivation and the desire to act. It is essential to help and motivate to create and perform different actions and routines, while working on the beliefs and thoughts that may have caused or maintained the problem.

        It can be useful to provide guidelines, tools and information to relatives and the patient’s immediate environment, so that they help to establish and maintain different goals and proposals that generate the desire and the will to act. . In some cases doing physical therapy can be very helpful in order to induce increased motor activity as well as sports which in turn can help generate endorphins.

        At the pharmacological level antidepressants are particularly effective, Especially those which cause an increase in dopamine levels. In this sense, other stimulants may also be helpful.

        Bibliographical references:

        • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.

        • Marin, RS and Wilkosz, PA (2005). Disorders of decreased motivation. Journal of Skull Trauma Rehabilitation, 20 (4).

        • Sants, JL (2012). Psychopathology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 01. CEDE. Madrid.

        • Vijayaraghavan, L .; Krishnamoorthy, ES; Brown, RG and Trimble, MR (2002). Abulia: A Delphi Survey of British Neurologists and Psychiatrists. [Article]. Movement Disorders, 17 (5), 1052-1057.

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