You are not able to cry, be happy, or even laugh … Beware, you may have “emotional quenching”

A person with emotional calmness may show little or no emotion in emotional contexts. For example, a person in emotional restraint may remember his or her father’s death and list factual details of the death, but may not share much information about how they feel, and may also show a few facial expressions or talk to a monotonous voice.

Have you ever felt that nothing can make you feel joy or happiness? Has a sad event happened to those around you who cried because of it, while you felt completely separated, could not cry or felt sad, as if a thick wall separated from what was happening? If you have experienced this condition, there is a term used to describe this feeling called “emotional relaxation”, “emotional calm” or “emotional detachment”, a term that describes the weak emotional state that some people may experience, especially people taking antidepressants.

A person with emotional calmness may show little or no emotion in emotional contexts. For example, a person in emotional restraint may remember his or her father’s death and list factual details of the death, but may not share much information about how they feel, and may also show a few facial expressions or talk to a monotonous voice. (1)

What is emotional depreciation? And what are its symptoms?

Imagine you bought a movie ticket to watch a comedy movie. During the performance you notice that everyone around you is laughing at the jokes made by the performers in the film. You would like to laugh too, but you can not laugh at the same things that everyone around you laughs at. The same goes for negative emotions. Maybe you are at work and your team has just received some bad news, e.g. the company’s sales have dropped and some people have been laid off. Once again, notice that those around you are clearly upset, but you do not feel the depth of concern that is evident in the traits and behaviors of those around you, even if you are one of those directly affected by the issue, even if you do not have an alternative job opportunity.

Although the natural difference between personalities and temperaments can generate a change in each person’s reactions, behaviors, and feelings, the severe emotional breakdown mentioned in the previous examples may indicate an impairment of “emotional quenching.” It is scientifically defined as numb sensation to positive and negative emotions, with a limited or silent emotional response to events. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), patients with emotional cushioning experience a reduced range of emotions, including love, emotions, fear, and anger. (2)

A person suffering from emotional weakness may also experience an aversion to any activity he or she previously considered enjoyable, creating a marked decline in interest in performing the activities he or she previously enjoyed. (3) Emotional quenching can be temporary, lasting from several minutes to several hours at a time.

Symptoms reported by people with this condition include: inability to laugh or cry even in situations that require it, feeling less sensitive to others, loss of motivation and unwillingness to do something, inability to respond with the same level of satisfaction The usual appearance of the person. enjoyable activities, difficulty in holding and disinterest in relationships, bad feeling, feeling detached from body or mind, forgetfulness.

This is in addition to some other symptoms like slowing down of thinking, decreased sexual desire, loss of concentration, apathy towards yourself or those you love, anxiety and feelings of emptiness or numbness. Emotional suction can be reflected in your facial expressions and other nonverbal cues. (4)

A person experiencing emotional oppression may inadvertently or intentionally engage in potentially harmful self-harming behaviors, trying to feel anything, even if it is painful. These behaviors may include speeding on the highway, or using large amounts of drugs or alcohol. (5)

Causes of emotional depreciation

Emotional disappearance is a condition found in many mental disorders, including schizophrenia and PTSD. If a person has PTSD, stimuli and relapses can cause emotional disconnection or feelings of disconnection from reality, which can lead to emotional alleviation. The “negative symptoms” of schizophrenia can also limit the sufferer’s ability to deal with the world and experience common emotions. (6)

Emotional alleviation was the third most common cause of treatment discontinuation among people with major depressive disorder.

Emotional quenching has also been reported frequently by patients with major depressive disorders and has been identified as one of the most important side effects of antidepressant medications. Studies from Oxford University have shown that between 46-71% of antidepressant users experienced emotional weakness during treatment. (7) Research shows that 50% of depressed people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or SNRIs experience emotional depression as a side effect. (8)

In a similar context, an online survey of approximately 1,431 antidepressant users from 38 countries aimed to determine the most common side effects of treatment, and “emotional alleviation” came first, with 70.6% of symptoms being primarily “feeling departure or separation “. . “(9)

Emotional suppression leads to a reduction in the dose of the drug or to the cessation of taking the drug and switching to another drug. A Canadian study of 896 participants, 49.9% of whom had major depressive disorder (MDD) and 50.1% of whom had bipolar disorder (BP), found that emotional pressure was a major reason for discontinuation of treatment. After weight gain and excessive drowsiness, emotional weakness was the third most common cause of discontinuation of treatment in people with major depressive disorders. (10)

On the other hand, scientists have found that not everyone who takes antidepressant medication experiences emotional stress. So it has been difficult for researchers to come up with a specific reason for this effect. The researchers found that an imbalance between the three major hormones, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, was likely to lead to emotional relief and that those with a deficiency of the underlying hormones would be worse off. (11) (12) (13)

How To Deal With Emotional Mitigation

The good news is that with the right support, emotional cushioning can be brought under control. The treatment a person receives with this condition usually depends on the underlying cause. For example, if emotional stress is caused by a mental health condition such as depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or borderline personality disorder, speech therapy known as “cognitive behavioral therapy” can help you cope. effectively with the condition. (14)

If an antidepressant is causing emotional depression, the psychiatrist may change the medication or adjust the dose. In this case, you can expect to see an improvement within 4 to 6 weeks after adjusting your treatment regimen. A person with emotional relaxation may also find comfort in interacting with others who have had similar experiences. Talking and listening to people with this condition helps to effectively address emotional weakness. (5)

If the person with emotional inhibition has the ability to participate in activities he or she previously enjoyed, such as art, sports, listening to music, visiting a social club, or spending time outdoors, this should be done without hesitation. It is true that this may not immediately improve his mood and may not bring him to the level of satisfaction with which he was previously accustomed, but it can still help in a small way in the effective treatment of emotional weakness. This is because when we do activities we enjoy or spend time with others, we get a neurochemical mixture of neurotransmitters and hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, the so-called “happiness hormones”. (4)

It can also be helpful for a person with emotional distress to do some activities that stimulate their senses during the day, such as: looking at pictures of loved ones or looking at the stars, raising a pet, keeping a ice cube, eating a warm drink. or spicy food, or licking a slice of lemon; These activities will stimulate the senses and restore feeling.



  1. Sharp impact
  2. Emotional side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a qualitative study
  3. DSM-5
  4. Emotional blockage: Causes, symptoms and treatment
  5. Emotional blockage: When you feel numb and detached
  6. Experience and emotional expression in schizophrenia and depression
  7. Emotional absorption with antidepressant treatments: A study among depressed patients
  8. Efficacy of Vortioxetine in Emotional Blunting in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder with Inadequate Response to SSRI / SNRI Treatment
  9. Side effects of antidepressants reported by a large international group: Sharp emotional effects, suicide and withdrawal
  10. Outcomes of treatment effectiveness and tolerance that are most important for individuals with bipolar and unipolar depression
  11. Anxiety and depression are better linkers of Parkinson’s quality of life than apathy
  12. Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  13. Amygdala hypoglycemia and emotional coagulation in moderate / severe pediatric TBI (2686)
  14. Recognize emotional sharpening and find help

Leave a Comment