Apathy can result from depression, among other things, by robbing you of motivation and enjoyment. You experience “blah” days occasionally. You may wonder where the time has gone because days sometimes seem boring and monotonous. You could wonder: Am I feeling apathetic, or is this depression? If such feelings of apathy persist for more than a day, perhaps weeks or months, and if activities you once enjoyed become boring.
What Is Apathy?
Apathy is when you lack the desire to take action or simply don’t care about the world around you. Apathy may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or mental health issues. It frequently lasts for a long time. It’s possible that you don’t want to do anything that requires thought or feeling. The word “pathos,” which implies passion or feeling in Greek, is where the phrase originates. Apathy is the absence of those emotions.
Although it can be challenging to distinguish between the two disorders, it isn’t the same as depression. In both situations, it’s common to feel “blah” about life. It’s not even dejection or rage. You don’t feel much of anything, not even these emotions. You no longer get as excited about things that used to make you happy. You no longer have the drive to accomplish your goals.
Everyone occasionally loses interest in things, but when it happens frequently, it can have an impact on your relationships, your job, and your ability to enjoy life. Talking to your doctor or a mental health expert can help you obtain the treatment you need.
Apathy and depression
Low energy or a lack of motivation are just two of the many similarities between apathy and depression. Depression, in contrast to apathy, is a psychological condition that must be diagnosed using a set of criteria.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) states that in order to receive a diagnosis of depression, a person must exhibit five or more symptoms for at least two weeks, one of which must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, or both.
The symptoms of major depression include:
- disrupted sleep
- depressed mood
- feelings of guilt or shame
- changes in appetite or weight
- decreased concentration
- suicidal ideation
Apathy may result from a problem with the frontal regions of your brain that manage your emotions, goals, and actions. It’s frequently one of the early indications of dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s and others that harm the brain. This loss of interest affects up to 70% of dementia patients.
Apathy may also be a sign of various neurological conditions, including:
- Brain injury from a strong hit to the head
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
To make sure that apathy is the root of your symptoms, seek a diagnosis from your doctor before beginning treatment. Your exam can consist of:
- full medical history, mentioning any previous neurological or psychological issues you may have experienced
- Questionnaires that measure your motivation levels, personality, and behavior
- Imaging tests like MRI, CT, or PET scans to look for any changes in your brain
- excluding other mental conditions with symptoms that resemble apathy
Can you have depression without apathy?
Yes, depression is possible without apathy.
While apathy, often known as a loss of interest or pleasure, is one potential symptom of depression, it’s not necessary for diagnosis. For some people, depression may also show up as rage, addiction, or irritation. These signs of depression may be more prevalent in men.
Intense emotions of worthlessness, ongoing worry about life’s events, or heightened sensitivity to rejection or criticism are some signs of depression that are not consistent with apathy.
There are strategies to control apathy, even if it might be difficult to diagnose and cure. When taking cholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), or rivastigmine, some persons with Alzheimer’s disease feel more motivated (Exelon). Antidepressants don’t seem to be of much assistance, and they might even exacerbate apathy.