Athymhormia

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Athymhormia is a disorder of motivation, one of that class of neuro-psychiatric conditions marked by abnormalities or deficiencies in motivation. Symptoms include the loss or reduction of desire and interest toward previous motivations, loss of drive and the desire for satisfaction, curiosity, the loss of tastes and preferences, and flat affect. In athymhormia, however, these phenomena are not accompanied by the characterizing features of depression nor by any notable abnormality in intellectual or cognitive function.

Historical Perspective

The diagnostic category was coined in 1922 by the French psychiatrists Dide and Guiraud, originally in reference to the behavior identified in some schizophrenic patients.

Etiology

The etiology of this condition has been hypothesised to derive from abnormalities in the limbic frontal cortex, the striatum, globus pallidus, and dorso-medial thalamic nucleus. In the context of the theory of those who propose the existence of a distinct neural pathway for mood and interest, or the "hormothymic" system, athymhormia may be a disorder of this system.

Further Reading

  • Patrick Verstichel and Pascale Larrouy. "Drowning Mr. M." Scientific American Mind. April 2005.

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