Health and Fitness

What is apathy?

Written by Amenorhu kwaku

Apathy refers to a lack of emotional response.

Indifference can have a negative impact on your energy and leave you feeling disconnected from the world. You may want to:

  • Not concerned about your hobbies, pastimes, or personal interests.
  • Have difficulty demonstrating a genuine excitement for the people in your personal life.
  • Disinterested in social interactions.
  • Minimal emotional response or mood swings.

Apathy is a common emotion for most people, particularly during times of stress.

However, indifference can harm your relationships, your daily routine, and your general health. Without therapy, it could worsen various physical and mental health issues that cause it.

Depression versus apathy

Even while indifference is sometimes associated with feelings of depression, this is not the case.

Apathy is a common symptom for those who suffer from depression. It results in:

  • A decrease in enthusiasm
  • Indifference to everyday routines
  • Less energy than normal
  • Feeling or showing interest in other individuals is tough for you

Remorse, feeling sad, and despair are all general signs and symptoms of depression.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the good news is that visiting a therapist can aid you in getting well.

What are the symptoms?

It’s common for apathy to be defined as an overall lack of interest in anything.

As you may have experienced:

  • Fatigue
  • You don’t like activities that you used to like
  • Dealing with the day-to-day commitments and tasks is difficult
  • Lack of ability to experience or express one’s emotions
  • Withdrawal from social interactions and events
  • A tendency for spending more time alone
  • Solving issues in a non-organized and efficient manner

Any area in your life might be affected by apathy.

Various types of Apathy

There are three distinct subtypes of indifference based on the Apathy-Motivation Index created in a 2017 study.

Psychological apathy. By yourself, you are less likely to get started on goal-directed activities like schoolwork or chores.

Societal apathy. The less you interact with other human beings, the less likely you are to care about what they are going through.

Apathy toward one’s own emotions. There isn’t much emotion in your body. There is a possibility that you are unconcerned about how your actions or words affect others.

These categories are likely to be present in someone unable to shake their apathy.

A variety of factors can cause apathy

Although it may not always have a clear-cut etiology, it can result from various neurological and mental disorders.

Some of the conditions that can result in this feeling are:

  • Alzheimer
  • Depression
  • Dysthymia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Front temporal dementia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Supranuclear palsy
  • Stroke
  • Vascular dementia

Situational apathy

Additionally, apathy could be the result of painful or stressful situations.

According to the American Psychological Association, survivors of natural disasters or those who have been imprisoned in conflict zones may experience this syndrome.

If you’ve been through a horrific event, it may make sense to emotionally disengage in order to protect yourself and prevent more suffering. Your ability to relate to others and communicate your emotions may suffer as a result.

This syndrome can set in for teenagers who are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do in the future as they discard identities and interests that don’t fit. The following are examples of people who might be affected by this lack of interest:

  • Their inability to make all of their own decisions
  • Indifference to the routine of daily life

However, long-term emotional alienation and apathy can indicate a more significant condition related to hormonal or brain development changes for both youths and grown-ups.

What are the options for dealing with apathy?

Treatment for this condition mostly depends on the underlying problem.


A therapist can provide a safe space for you to speak about your mental health issues and the problems you’re having, as well as discuss possible solutions.

Therapy can help you identify possible indifference causes, such as a major loss, disappointment, or personal setback.


The FDA has not officially approved any type of drug for the treatment of apathy. Some medications help treat some apathy-related diseases.

According to the most likely cause of your prolonged apathy, your doctor or psychiatrist will offer the best drug for you. There are a few alternatives, such as the following:

  • Aricept, galantamine, and rivastigmine (Exelon)
  • Paroxetine, sertraline, and bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban)
  • Ropinirole (Requip)
  • Antipsychotic medicines
  • Amphetamine, pemoline, and methylphenidate

A new way of life

Therapy and medicine can be helpful for many people, but there are other things you can do on your own to get some comfort.

Try new activities while you’re already feeling demotivated, and it can be not easy. It’s always fine to begin slowly, so keep that in mind.

Find new sources of happiness

Think about whether your interests and passions have changed when nothing else in life matters.

When you no longer like the activities you used to enjoy because they no longer engage or excite you, you may become apathetic.

Think about bringing some life and color to your days if they’ve been spent in a dreary fog:

  • Exploring a new restaurant
  • Strolling (or driving) for a long time through a new area
  • Time in the wilderness
  • Trying new kinds of physical activity
  • Pay attention to what you need

In the long run, burnout and exhaustion can lead to feelings of apathy.

Changing careers or cutting back on working hours is not always an option for many people. It’s vital to make time for yourself if you frequently find yourself going over the edge of weariness.

Try a digital disconnect

Refocusing your energy on the things (and people) you care about most might help alleviate some of the tension caused by sad news and events as well as social media debates.

Open up to loved ones

Sharing what’s on your mind can also help alleviate overwhelm, and you may realize that it progressively becomes easier to access your emotions and get inspired.


There can be an absence of the things that make life worthwhile in apathy. However, it doesn’t have to last forever.

A therapist or doctor can offer advice and support to get to the root of the problem.

If you’re completely depleted of energy and motivation, consulting a therapist may be helpful. A little patience and the right kind of help can heal apathy.

About the author

Amenorhu kwaku