Amotivational Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

He Amotivational syndrome Is characterized by symptoms such as dysphoria, decreased attention, intense anhedonia, alterations in memory and Little desire to compete, work or perform any activity.

In other words, it is a state in which one experiences passivity, lack of motivation, conformity, isolation and total inactivity.

Unmotivated man

The person who suffers from this syndrome never feels like doing anything. That is, at no time do you find anything that motivates you enough to Get up off the couch and do it.

Thus, the amotivational syndrome makes the person totally incapable of doing anything, totally unable to enjoy anything, and only Shall carry out those activities which it is fully obliged to do.

The person with this syndrome allows to lose their work because of inability to go to work, and is able to stop performing Any activity however important it may be.

This state causes the person to gradually isolate himself, lose his ideals and ambitions, stop experiencing emotions or feelings completely, And present a total indifference to what is happening around them.

So that it is well understood: if a person who suffers from amotivational syndrome will be affected by the lottery, this would give him totally the same, he would not have any Ability to experience any emotion of happiness or enthusiasm, and would not even be happy about it.

And is that the amotivational syndrome is not synonymous with being lazy, not wanting to strive or be conformist.

The amotivational syndrome is a state in which the person is totally incapable of experiencing emotion, motivation, interest, enthusiasm and affection. Which predominates indifference and inactivity.

Tired man in bus

Because if we stop a moment to think... If you have to do one thing but you do not find any reason to do it, will you do it?

Many times we do things that we do not try to do like going to work, getting to study, helping someone, etc. But although we do not feel like Doing so is always a reason why we do it.

We work to earn money, we study for Pass the exams And we help to show our commitment or friendship, you may not want or Motivation... But there is always a reason.

And it is precisely this that happens to someone with amotivational syndrome, has no motives. He is not able to find the reason he has to go to work, Study or help, is not able to find the reason for anything, so it ends up not doing so.

Symptoms of amotivational syndrome

Woman lying on couch

Now we know what is the amotivational syndrome, we will see a little more detail about all the symptoms that are experienced or can experience a Person with this problem.

1. Passivity

The person with amotivational syndrome becomes totally passive about all the stimuli around him.

It costs him to focus and pay attention to things, to act actively and to perform any type of task.

2. Apathy

The apathy Is a state of disinterest in which there is a total lack of motivation.

Thus, the person with this type of alteration is not simply passive towards the stimuli around him, but has no interest in them.

3. Conformity

The two previous symptoms make the person adopt a state of conformism about everything.

So anything you tell him will not look good or bad, it will just give you everything.

4. Insulation

In the same way, this state of conformism and disinterest will make the person isolate himself from everything irremediably.

He will not be interested in anything or anyone, so he will be separated from everything and will not get involved or participate in anything.

5. Introversion

He will adopt an attitude that will be characterized by focusing on his internal processes, thoughts and inner world.

It will not focus on the things or thoughts of others, or on external activities, events, or stimuli.

6. Loss of ideals

The lack of interest in everything will also cause him to lose his concern for his own ideals.

These will cease to make sense, since as with everything, you will not find any kind of motivation in them.

7. Lack of emotion

Likewise, you will be totally unable to experience emotions and feelings toward anything and anyone.

As we have said before, if a person with this problem will touch the lottery or give him some good news, or immutate.

8. Indifference

It will present a state of mind marked by absolute indifference.

He will never bow down to one thing or the other, neither good nor bad.

9. Sadness

You will feel sad and depressed most of the time, but you will not know why you feel that way.

The fact that nothing likes, nothing motivates and nothing interests you will make you feel sad without knowing how to identify the reason.

10. Lack of affection

Similarly, you will not feel affection for anyone or you will have many difficulties to do so.

The incapacity to experience emotions and feelings that the person with amotivational syndrome has that for her affection also has no sense.

11. Abandonment of personal care

Nothing will motivate you enough to do it and personal care is no exception.

You will not find any reason to clean, take care of yourself or arrange yourself, so you will not do it if you do not insist.

12. Deterioration of social skills

During the amotivational syndrome you will hardly relate or communicate with other people, since you will not feel like doing it.

This will gradually lose Social skills Which he had previously, and it is increasingly difficult for him to relate to others.

13. Inhibition or diminution of sex drive

He will also have no interest in sex or his own sexuality.

Therefore, your sexual drive will decrease, until you become totally inhibited and unable to have sex.

14. Inability to develop plans for the future

Your state will also make you have no interest or any concern for your own future or that of others.

You will not be able to develop plans or plan how your life will be in the future.

15. Decreased care

The amotivational syndrome also produces cognitive alterations (referring to our ability to think and process information).

Of these, the most noticeable is the decrease in attention, since the person with this syndrome will have difficulty focusing on the stimuli of Its around (mainly because it has no interest in them).

16. Decreased concentration

In the same way you will have enormous difficulties concentrating and keeping your attention on anything.

17. Decrease in calculation capacity

Its calculation capacity will also be impoverished and its operation will be slower than usual.

18. Decreased judgment capacity

As you are indifferent towards most things, you will have difficulty judging or interpreting things as good or bad, including your Own acts.

19. Decreased reflexes

Likewise, in the amotivational syndrome psychomotor alterations are observed, mainly related to reflexes, which are slower.

20. Slow movements

Finally, in the person with this problem will be connoted a greater generalized slowness of all their movements.

Characteristics of a person with amotivational syndrome

María is a 39 year old woman, married and with a 7 year old daughter. The three of them live in a humble neighborhood of Barcelona.

Amotivational syndrome

She has been using Marijuana regularly since she was 15, and although she tried to quit when she became pregnant, she never got it.

She currently feels much more tired than normal, with difficulty falling asleep but with many problems getting out of bed.

He never wants to do things, he finds no motivation at all, and even the things he used to like to do now find them boring.

He worked as an administrative in a multinational food products company but lost his job for 3 months.

She feels guilty for having been dismissed because she was terminated from her employment contract because she was absent from her job on a recurring basis, since She indicates, was totally unable to get up in the morning to go to work.

At present, the only activity that he is doing is to go and get his daughter to school, because despite having financial difficulties, he has hired a Woman to do household chores.

She spends all day sitting in the armchair of her house watching television or reading occasional books.

This situation has caused him serious problems with his partner, with whom he claims to have a marital crisis, as well as with his parents, who do not Understand their current situation.

She says she feels deeply sad and discouraged without being able to identify a motive. Two weeks ago she quit smoking Marijuana forced by her husband.


This case that I just described, would be a clear example of amotivational syndrome, ie:

When a person loses his will for anything, he is motivated by absolutely nothing and is incapable of doing anything but being passive, quiet And without performing any activity.

It may seem strange that a person may suddenly reach this state, but this syndrome is more prevalent than you can imagine, especially Among those who Consume Marihuan to.

Is it the same as a depression?

With what you have read so far maybe a question is coming to your mind... Does the person with amotivational syndrome have A depression ?

The truth is that many of the symptoms are practically identical to those that a depressive person can experience, but not the amotivational syndrome It's not a depression!

The main difference between the two lies in the person's awareness of their condition.

A person with depression is fully aware that he has a depressive state and knows what are his thoughts that make him sad.

However, a person with amotivational syndrome is not fully aware of their condition and can not identify why they feel that way, He will hardly seek help.

Causes of amotivational syndrome

It is not yet known exactly what the origin of this syndrome is but it is clear that drug use (especially marihuana) Is closely related

And is that the majority of cases of amotivacional syndrome that have registered are consumers of Marijuana.

It seems that the effect that Marijuana has on the frontal parts of our brain involved in functions such as social behavior, motivation Or reasoning ability, is the main cause of amotivational syndrome.

However, there are professionals who believe that this syndrome responds to a personality type prior to marijuana use, so that the fact Consuming the drug would not be the cause, but a symptom that there is some alteration in the way of being of the person.

Thus, although the relationship between Marihuana consumption and Amotivational Syndrome is clear, it has not been fully demonstrated that this problem Is directly caused by Cannabis.

Treatment of amotivational syndrome

The first objective of treatment should be the abandonment of drug use, since if you have amotivational syndrome and you consume marijuana or some Psychoactive drug, you will hardly reverse the situation.

Addiction can be overcome through psychotherapy and through psychotropic drugs if necessary.

In addition to focusing on overcoming addiction, the amotivational syndrome itself can also be tatar, as it often persists despite having Stopped consuming.

The first choice treatment should be the ISRSS drugs ( Antidepressants ) Along with cognitive behavioral therapy, to encourage the patient to resume Daily activities, improving relationships with family members and working on the style of thinking that leads to inactivity.


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2. Andrews WN, King MH. Amotivational syndrome: the real management problem of schizophrenia. Can Med Assoc J. 1972 Jun 10; 106 (11): 1208-passim.

3. Cadet JL, Bolla K, Herning RI. Neurological assessment of marijuana users. Methods Mol Med 2006; 123: 255-68.

4. Tunving K (1985). Psychiatric effects of cannabis use. Acta Psychiatr Scand ; 72: 209-217.

5. Tziraki S. Mental disorders and neuropsychological involvement related to the chronic use of cannabis. Rev Neurol 2012; 54: 750-60.

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