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The 16 disorders and alterations of affectivity: why do they occur?

The 16 disorders and alterations of affectivity: why do they occur?

May 23, 2023

Before the appearance and manifestation of a certain psychopathology, an alteration of the affective or emotional state appears inherently.

Usually, this type of psychological expressions tend to be confused since they are often used incorrectly and indistinctly. In order to know concretely the definition of deviations from affect, we have made a list of the main affective disorders .

  • Related article: "The 16 most common psychological disorders"

What is affectivity?

Affectivity is defined as the set of states and tendencies that a person lives in their own and immediate, that is to say, that has a mainly subjective nature.

Further, it greatly influences the conformation of the personality and the behavior of the subject , being therefore transcendental in the psychological development of the individual and is intrinsically associated to the communicational property since this is one of its fundamental purposes. They are usually indicated by using pairs of antagonistic terms such as joy / sadness, pleasure / pain, pleasant / unpleasant, etc.

In the definition of DSM, affect is understood as the behavior that expresses the subjective experience of a state of mind, or what is the same, emotion. Thus, this concept is linked to a more changing and brief phenomenon, while humor refers to sustained and more permanent emotions.

1. Pathological joy

It refers to an extreme state of euphoria and hyperactivity and is related to the presence of a manic episode or an organic picture called "moria," which is characterized by an excess of excitement, puerile behavior and a tendency to play on words.

2. Pathological sadness

Set of symptoms based on an intense feeling of grief, sadness and affliction in which the person experiences a significant decrease in interest in the environment. It is usual in depressive episodes.

  • Related article: "The 6 differences between sadness and depression"

3. Pathological anguish

It is a manifestation related to a remarkable increase of the state of physiological tension accompanied by a permanent sensation of intense fear, as a state of continuous alertness. This deviation is frequent in anxiety disorders, mainly.

4. Indifference or affective coldness

It refers to a state of absence of experiencing affective sensations and is usually linked to apathy or scarce emotional reactivity. It usually occurs in schizophrenic pictures, in pathologies of histrionic personality, in organic-cerebral or endocrine alterations.

5. Anhedonia

Anhedonia is defined by the inability to experience pleasure and it is frequent in schizophrenia and depression.

  • Recommended article: "Anhedonia: causes, symptoms and treatment"

6. Paratimia or affective inadequacy

In this alteration there is an incongruence between the affectivity expressed by the person and the contextual situation in which it manifests itself. It is characteristic of both schizophrenic disorders and organic-cerebral pictures.

7. Emotional or affective lability

This pathology is characterized by sudden changes of affect combined with the inability to emotionally contain oneself . It is typical of dementias and pseudobulbar pictures. In the latter syndrome can occur uncontrollable attacks of laughter or crying, more often the seconds.

  • Recommended article: "Emotional lability: what is it and what are its symptoms?"

8. Dysthymia

This state is defined by the manifestation of a permanent mood under , with little fluctuations. In the DSM V, dysthymic disorder or, what is the same, persistent depressive disorder is distinguished. It is chronic although the intensity of the symptoms is less than in the depressive disorder.

  • More information: "Dysthymia: when melancholy takes over your mind"

9. Dysphoria

It is understood as a feeling of general emotional malaise, with a depressed mood and presence of anxiety and cognitive restlessness, more than physiological. A significant presence in sexual identity disorders has been observed.

10. Aprosodia

This pathology is defined by an alteration in the use of affective language , more specifically in prosody (tone, rhythm, accent, intonation) and emotional modulation. This affectation is found in Parkinson's patients or in patients who have suffered an injury in the right cerebral hemisphere.

11. Alexitimia

In this case, there is also an alteration in the emotional language, although referred to the propositional aspects of the language . That is, the person is unable to find a word that expresses their affective state. It is frequent in chronic pain disorder.

  • More information: "Alexitimia: the inability to say 'I love you'"

12. Affective rigidity

In this affectation the ability to modulate and modify the emotions experienced is lost and it is associated with episodes of mania, depression or in schizophrenia.

13. Ambivalence or ambitimia

In this manifestation there is simultaneously the expression of contrary emotions on the same object or phenomenon . It is found in various personality disorders as it can also occur in non-clinical subjects.

14. Neotimia

It is defined as a feeling "of new appearance", before which the patient claims not to be able to recognize it in himself or have experienced it before. (stolen emotional states or taxes). It is usually associated with psychosis, epilepsy or significant toxic consumption.

15. Apathy

Lack of motivation, lack of "desire to do anything" and indifference towards the received external stimulation that is attributed to depressive states.

16. Abulia

It is defined as the inability to perform any action voluntarily , lack of energy to respond behaviorally. It is related to those pathologies of decreased motivation in the clinical child population.

  • Related article: "Abulia: what symptoms warn of its presence?"

Bibliographic references:

  • CEDE (2012) CEDE Manual of Preparation PIR, Psychopathology. VOL.1.
  • Married, M. (2015) Preparation Manual for the PIR Exam vol. 1 "Editorial MAD.

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