Emotion suppression

Emotion suppression (also known as flat affect, apathy, or emotional blunting) is a flattening or decrease in the intensity of one's current emotional state below normal levels. [1] [2] [3] This dulls or suppresses the genuine emotions that a person was already feeling prior to ingesting the drug. For example, an individual who is currently feeling somewhat anxious or emotionally unstable may begin to feel very apathetic, neutral, uncaring, and emotionally blank. This also impacts the degree to which the person will express their emotional state through body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. It is worth noting that although a reduction in the intensity of one's emotions may be beneficial at times (e.g., the blunting of an anger response in a volatile patient), it may be detrimental at other times (e.g., emotional indifference at the funeral of a close family member). [4] Emotion suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as motivation suppression, thought-deceleration, and analysis suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of antipsychotic compounds, such as quetiapine, haloperidol, and risperidone. [1] [5] However, it can also occur in less consistent form under the influence of heavy dosages of dissociatives [6] [7] , SSRI's [4] [8] , and GABAergic depressants [9] .


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  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.), 607. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. | https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm17
  3. Gur, R. E., Kohler, C. G., Ragland, J. D., Siegel, S. J., Lesko, K., Bilker, W. B., & Gur, R. C. (2006). Flat affect in schizophrenia: relation to emotion processing and neurocognitive measures. Schizophrenia bulletin, 32(2), 279-287. | https://dx.doi.org/10.1093%2Fschbul%2Fsbj041
  4. [1][2] Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). SSRI-induced indifference. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 7(10), 14. | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989833/
  5. Moncrieff, J., Cohen, D., & Mason, J. P. (2009). The subjective experience of taking antipsychotic medication: a content analysis of Internet data. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 120(2), 102-111. | https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01356.x
  6. Vollenweider, F. X. (2001). Brain mechanisms of hallucinogens and entactogens. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 3(4), 265. | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181663/
  7. Micallef, J., Tardieu, S., Gentile, S., Fakra, E., Jouve, E., Sambuc, R., & Blin, O. (2003). Effects of a subanaesthetic dose of ketamine on emotional and behavioral state in healthy subjects. Neurophysiologie clinique= Clinical neurophysiology, 33(3), 138-147. | https://doi.org/10.1016/S0987-7053(03)00028-5
  8. Bolling, M. Y., & Kohlenberg, R. J. (2004). Reasons for quitting serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy: paradoxical psychological side effects and patient satisfaction. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 73(6), 380-385. | https://doi.org/10.1159/000080392
  9. Oscar-Berman, M., & Bowirrat, A. (2005). Genetic influences in emotional dysfunction and alcoholism-related brain damage. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 1(3), 211. | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2416753/




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