Abulia is a notion that comes from the Greek language. The term refers to the absence or decrease of energy, strength or will. For example: “The abulia of the government when it comes to solving the problems of the neighbors is surprising”, “I cannot understand the abulia of some young people”, “The school provokes me abulia”.
Abulia is mainly linked to motivation and can appear in adolescence. The young man who is abulia finds no reason to take an action or to make a decision: therefore, he remains passive and inert. In the more advanced degrees of abulia, the intervention of a psychiatrist may be required for the treatment of the individual.
In colloquial language, the idea of adolescent abulia is used to name the young person’s unwillingness to do something. Take the case of the boy who is convinced that going to school does him no good. The young man believes that the knowledge transmitted to him by his teachers is useless and considers that spending several hours in the educational establishment is meaningless. Due to adolescent abulia, the boy does not perform the tasks indicated by the teachers, does not participate in class and does not even study for the exams.
As a clinical picture that needs professional treatment, abulia can include inconveniences to start and maintain movements, difficulties in swallowing food, lack of appetite and limitation of social interactions. In these cases, a doctor must make the diagnosis and suggest the steps to follow so that the person recovers his ability to act and his initiative.
It is important to note that within the field of psychiatry, abulia is not a well-known syndrome, either because some diagnoses point to other disorders or because not all individuals who present this condition consider it worthy of being treated by a professional. However, as expressed in the previous paragraph, the most serious cases go far beyond the apparent lack of will or initiative to make decisions, since it becomes a truly invalidating mental and physical block.
With regard to the symptoms of adolescent abulia, properly speaking, we can distinguish two well defined: procrastination, the attitude of people who postpone their obligations in a systematic way, despite having the time to fulfill them in a timely manner; the apathy, a state of fatigue that is prolonged in time.
Regarding the lack of will, we must not forget that this is not a mere sign of temporary laziness, that can be resolved with rest or canceled with the imposition by third parties: it is a deep emptiness, a sensation from which the patient he thinks he can’t escape. Furthermore, this inability to carry out projects that may seem simple to other people affects both the professional and educational fields as well as the personal one.
All this leads specialists to think that adolescent abulia may be the sign of a mood disorder or depression. When the discomfort continues indefinitely and there seems to be no solution, it is very important that those close to the person who is suffering from it contact a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist to obtain a diagnosis and start treatment.
Unfortunately, many parents and guardians do not understand the seriousness of the aforementioned signs, but rather attribute the lack of will to irresponsibility and reprimand their children for it, thus managing to worsen the situation and dangerously postpone the intervention of a professional. Since adolescence is such a difficult stage for some to go through, no negative signs should be ignored.