Feeling Empty? What You Need to Know About Apathy in Depression

Depression can overwhelm our whole bodies, not just our minds. With depression, you may find that you feel a persistent low mood, and sadness overcomes you. 

This can lead to feelings of emptiness and worthlessness that you seemingly cannot get rid of. You may even lose interest in things you once loved, which could lead to apathy. With this in mind, IPG Insights takes a look at apathy and how it is connected to depression. 

What Is Apathy?

Apathy is the term we use for when you just don’t care about anything going on around you. By definition, apathy is therefore the opposite of empathy. Empathy is when you understand and share in the feelings of others. 

In contrast, when you are apathetic, you lack enthusiasm, concern, and empathy for others. You may lose the motivation to do anything, as you don’t have any interest in it or care for it. With apathy, you will lack any desire to do things that involve your emotions, feelings, or things that involve thinking about it.

Whilst apathy does not always involve depression, it is a common symptom of depression, and those who suffer with this mental illness may notice signs of apathy within themselves. So, let’s take a look at the symptoms of depression and how they intertwine with apathy. 

Symptoms of Depression

  • Persistent low mood
  • Feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and emptiness
  • Apathy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed or people
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of pleasure in nearly all activities

What You Need to Know About Apathy in Depression

When you consider the above symptoms of depression, it is easy to see how apathy and depression are intertwined. That being said, while apathy is one possible symptom of depression, it is not part of every person’s experience with depression, as they are two different things. It is important to note that you can also be apathetic without having depression, and vice versa. 

The reason why apathy and depression are so connected is that depression can zap your motivation and enjoyment out of life, leading you to enter a state of apathy. You may feel a “blah” attitude towards things you used to like, or may avoid seeing other people. 

With apathy, you may feel unexcited about things, or tired, bored, disengaged, and disinterested in life. Relationships, goals, activities and more may seem uninteresting to you. While all of these things can be related to depression too, apathy is not the same as depression. 

Depression is a psychological condition that requires a diagnosis. With depression, you must have multiple symptoms of the illness to be diagnosed, whereas a person may simply just be feeling apathetic at times.

You may experience apathy when suffering from depression, but you’ll also likely be exhibiting other key symptoms of depression, too. Whereas someone who doesn’t have any depression symptoms, but is feeling apathetic, may not qualify for a depression diagnosis. It’s not uncommon to feel apathetic at times, especially when stressed. The issue is when it comes along with other symptoms of depression.

To sum up, if you are concerned that you may have depression, then it is important that you speak to a counselor or therapist for treatment. Treatments may involve talk therapy, medication and discovering healthy coping mechanisms. You may also benefit from psychotherapy to uncover ways to cope and to recover. 

In addition, it is important that you practice self-care and self-help tools for relief. With apathy, it is vital to mix up your routine and escape the daily grind to find new things that bring you fulfillment in life.