What is indifference?

What is indifference?

Indifference involves a lack of interest in all aspects of life, including normal daily tasks and social activities. It often appears in different degrees in healthy people, but it is also a symptom of many different mental health conditions (including depression).

The origin of the word indifference comes from a form of prefix One——Meaning “no”, Greek Sentimental It means “emotion, feeling, pain”. Therefore, indifference was originally defined as freedom from pain. At some point in the 18th century, this meaning became a sense of being without emotion or feeling—indifference, especially for important or attractive things.

Indifference is characterized by indifference and lack of emotion.The term is often used to describe a lack of care or attention, but in the context of mental health, loss of interest in different aspects of life events is usually a sign of a situation.


In a study published in the journal in 2019 Public Library One, The researchers identified and described different subtypes of apathy:

  • Apathy, characterized by a lack of positive and negative emotions
  • Indifferent behavior, characterized by lack of self-issue
  • General indifference, characterized by lack of motivation, poor emotional response and lack of social participation

Research shows that apathy and anhedonia (lack of pleasure) are closely related, and people who experience higher degrees of apathy also report more anhedonia.

Two other forms of indifference that people may experience are:

  • Bystander indifference: This is related to the bystander effect, a phenomenon in which people see that other people need help, but do not intervene or provide help. There are many reasons why people do not take action in these situations, including indifference or indifference to the plight of others.
  • Compassion fatigue: Sometimes people are initially concerned but feel overwhelmed or exhausted physically and mentally. This can lead to a decline in the ability to empathize or empathize with others.
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Some signs of indifference include:

  • Difficulty in completing daily tasks
  • Feeling of indifference
  • Lack of emotion
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Lack of motivation to accomplish the goal
  • Low energy level
  • Reduce participation in activities
  • Not emotional about both positive and negative events

Indifference can usually be a symptom of depression, but the two are not the same thing. Depression is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and has specific diagnostic criteria and symptoms.

Related symptoms

Apathy also often coexists with other symptoms of depression, including anhedonia and lethargy.

  • Anhedonia: The root of anhedonia is a prefix One-, Means “no”, in Greek Hexanone, It means “happy”. So it means being in a state where you don’t like what you usually do. It is similar to indifference in some respects, but the scope of indifference is wider than the scope of anhedonia.
  • Drowsiness: Drowsiness can be a physical or mental state, or both. In both cases, the core components are slow or sluggish. Abnormal sleepiness, tiredness, or tiredness may be an aspect of drowsiness.


Most people feel indifferent from time to time. When this indifference persists and affects many different areas of life, it becomes a major problem.

Some of the different situations that can lead to indifference include:

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  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • anxiety
  • Frustrated
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stroke

When apathy is chronic and severe, it interferes with many different areas of life. It makes it difficult for people to perform well at work, disrupt social relations, and even difficult to complete basic daily self-care tasks.

Research shows that indifference is common and is estimated to affect more than 10 million American adults.


Your doctor will ask about your feelings, your behavior, and how you are working in different aspects of your life. Your healthcare provider will also ask you the following questions:

  • Any reduction or lack of motivation
  • Any changes in thoughts, emotions or behavior
  • How these changes affect your quality of life

In some cases, your doctor may also conduct a physical examination or laboratory tests to rule out other diseases that may cause you to develop symptoms.

Your doctor or mental health professional may diagnose that you have an underlying mental health condition that caused you to develop symptoms. Although it is not an officially recognized disease in DSM-5, some experts believe that a series of symptoms called “indifference syndrome” may be present in various neuropsychiatric diseases.


The treatment of indifference depends on the underlying cause. People may be able to control general apathy through lifestyle changes and self-care, but your healthcare provider needs to address symptoms caused by underlying medical or mental illness. For many situations, this may involve medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

For apathy caused by progressive neurodegenerative diseases, your doctor may prescribe some medications to try to resolve these symptoms.

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Examples of medications that can be used to treat conditions with apathy as a symptom include:


When apathy is related to illnesses such as depression or anxiety, your doctor may also recommend psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a method of addressing underlying thoughts and behaviors that may lead to apathy and lack of motivation.


You can also take some self-help steps to help you overcome feelings of indifference:

  • Set small goals. Taking on too much and failing to complete the task will make you feel defeated and unmotivated. Instead, focus on completing smaller tasks that are easier to manage.
  • Break down large projects into small steps. When you face a big project, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. By working on only a small part of the project every day, you can make progress towards your goals even if you are struggling with a feeling of indifference.
  • Pay attention to triggers. Note whether there are certain situations or stressors that make you feel indifferent. Removing barriers that make you feel unmotivated can help you find inspiration better.
  • Change your daily life. Sometimes, the daily grind can make you feel listless. Look for ways to break the rules, even if these changes are relatively minor.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you feel unmotivated, supporting friends and family members can help you, and getting their support may spark your interest. Contacting your doctor or mental health professional can also help you find a treatment that is right for you.