Amotivational Syndrome: What Is It & Is It Connected To Cannabis?

Last Update on August 29, 2022 : Published on June 15, 2021
Amotivational syndrome

Amotivational syndrome is a severe psychiatric condition which is capable of changing a person’s emotions and cognitive ability. The person dealing with syndrome may experience low concentration power, lethargic body, apathy and poor memory. It can be said that this condition was observed in the 1960s amongst those people who consumed marijuana for a long time.

Studies have shown that those who use marijuana in a moderate amount don’t experience much of personality disturbances but the effects of amotivational syndrome also depend on the age when smoking began and how long it had been already. Whereas those who had been heavily consuming cannabis for prolonged periods of time mostly suffer from poor judgement skills and dullness.

This condition is also related to use of various other psychoactive drugs and even heavy cough syrups. Now if someone is not enjoying their life they used to, are completely uninterested in pleasurable things and cannot find joy in life, this condition might be present within them.

Symptoms Of Amotivational Syndrome

As it is noticed, amotivational syndrome has similar symptoms as depression and this is why amotivational syndrome is also confused as depression. However, the common symptoms of amotivational syndrome are:

  • Amnesia
  • Inattention
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of ambition
  • Inability to concentrate on tasks
  • Becoming emotionally unavailable or showing lack of emotions
  • Short term or long term memory loss
  • Activities which need good concentration skills are avoided

What Are The Types Of Amotivational Syndrome?

There are two most common types of amotivational syndrome i.e. Marijuana amotivational syndrome and SSRI induced amotivational syndrome.

1. Marijuana Amotivational Syndrome

It has to be noted that the connection between marijuana and amotivational syndrome is still a debate amongst many researchers. It is because many researchers also believe that it is a recreational drug and it leads to an increase in the well-being of many users.

Despite the contradictions, cannabis is one the most active causes of amotivational syndrome or it is an active risk factor for developing it.

2. SSRI Induced Amotivational Syndrome

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs are basically consumed to treat depression and may make one feel better than before. If such receptors are worn out due to any reason, the person finds it difficult to motivate oneself and feel sadness as well as apathetic. Even though the connection between the two is still on the rocks, researchers around the world would help in finding the exact result.

Treatment Of Amotivational Syndrome

As the symptoms of amotivational syndrome are similar to that of depression, the treatment is done on similar lines. Often the person is recommended with prescription drugs which are also called SNRIs or Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. The doctor usually also prescribes them along with talk therapy.

why choose online therapy

One must think of talk therapy as a treatment method as therapists make sure that they work on physical symptoms too, allow us to express emotions rather than repressing them, helps change our perspective and prevents conflicts with our negative thoughts.

Also, you must note that online therapy is becoming effective in addressing the symptoms of depression as well as managing emotional issues related to the same. Online therapy has increased satisfaction within participants and is a much better user-friendly option.

However, experts would also recommend lowering the dosage of SSRI medication, adding another medication to reduce symptoms or switch to some other antidepressant drugs, as and however the condition demands. Along with this, it is also recommended to cut the usage of

marijuana slowly as an abrupt stoppage can worsen the symptoms of amotivational syndrome.

The Controversy Associated With Amotivational Syndrome

There are a number of studies that conflict with each other when it comes to amotivational syndrome. Some studies say that no such syndrome exists while some other researchers say that it is SSRIs that cause amotivational syndrome. Every theory needs to have detailed research and evidence to prove their points.

Those who say that this syndrome does not exist feel that it is only a form of depression or actually misdiagnosis. However, this theory has been straightforwardly challenged by a number of behavioral scientists.

Wrapping Up

As we have seen that the cause of amotivational syndrome is still unknown but still connected to conditions with excessive use of marijuana and antidepressants, hopefully, the research will find the answer sooner.

But if you or any of your loved ones are dealing with symptoms of amotivational syndrome then it is best to connect with a psychologist today only. If you wish to help you, drop us a message at and we will take care to connect you with an expert.

About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.

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