Bradypsychia: what is it and what are the most common causes?

Thinking is a very complex mental action. Reasoning requires many intermediate mental processes. In order to be able to adapt to the environment, we need to be able to react and use these processes quickly enough to be effective.

However, sometimes some people suffer from some type of injury or problem that makes them harder to get, having slow thinking due to certain circumstances. These people have bradypsychia.

    What is bradypsychia?

    Bradypsychia is understood as symptom characterized by a general slowing down of thought processes. Bradypsychia is a variable injury depending on the degree to which it occurs.

    The slowdown occurs at all levels, both in the generation of thought and in the implementation of different types of actions. and processes such as when it comes to understanding external information.

    Some of the slowed down aspects are attention span, judgment and reasoning skills, speed of reaction. It can sometimes affect other aspects such as the tongue, especially when it is accompanied by pain.

    Thinking is slower for different reasons. It’s common to wander without reaching a conclusion, Repeat the thought in question until you can end it. He also generally sees some rigidity and persistence.

    When it comes to a symptom that affects the way of thinking in general, the affectation occurs in all areas of a person’s life.

    Etiology of this symptom

    The causes of bradypsychia can be many and varied.

    At the neurological level, it can be observed that in many cases there is damage to the basal ganglia or to the connection of the cortex with these or other subcortical pathways. Sometimes a lower blood volume is observed in the prefrontal area of ​​the brain, decreasing its functionality in what is called hypofrontality.

    The hippocampus can also be reduced. Regarding neurotransmitters, a deficiency of norepinephrine and / or dopamine can lead to decreased alertness which in turn can lead to slower thinking. Lack of acetylcholine can also be a major factor.

    Another possible cause is a person’s attention to certain types of thoughts and mental patterns, which absorb and hinder the ability to pay attention and respond.

      Disorders and situations in which it appears

      Bradypsychia is a symptom that can appear in a large number of situations, both in different mental disorders and in non-pathological conditions (for example, associated with drug use). Below we will look at the main causes.

      1. Aging regulations

      Once they reach a certain age, over the years, most people notice a more or less noticeable decrease in most of their mental capacities. As we age, our bones and muscles weaken, memory deteriorates, and learning becomes slightly more complex than at other vital times. It’s common to see a general slowdown, both physically and mentally.

      2. Dementias

      Bradypsychia results very common in neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia, Due to neuronal degradation and death and increased difficulty in transmitting nerve signals.

        3. Schizophrenia

        Slowness of thought is a negative symptom of schizophrenia, which generally seems related to allergy.

          4. Major depression

          Focusing on negative thoughts, hopelessness, and lack of control over depressed subjects makes them overwhelmed in the long run. more difficult to concentrate and react to stimulation, Being another context in which bradypsychia appears.

          5. Substance use

          Many drugs have depressant effects on the nervous system, Sometimes even having narcotic effects. Psycholeptic or depressive substances in many cases cause a slowing of thought as a direct effect of consumption (short and long term) or as an intoxication effect.


          Bradypsychia it is not a disorder in itself, but a symptom, Appearing in the presence of certain injuries or disorders. The treatment to use will depend on its cause.

          In case of major depression and schizophrenia, symptoms may improve to a greater or lesser extent depending on the treatment psychological and / or pharmacological that applies. In the case of schizophrenia, the application of atypical antipsychotics can be very helpful even with negative symptoms such as bradypsychia.

          In other cases where bradypsychia is directly caused by neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia treatment tends to be palliative and be based on preserving the functionality of the subject. Certain medications can help delay symptoms, including bradypsychia.

          Bibliographical references:

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

          • Rodés, J. (2007). Health book from the Clínic de Barcelona hospital and the BBVA Foundation. Barcelona.

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

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