Home Lifestyle Emotional Blunting: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment – Healthline

Emotional Blunting: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment – Healthline

9 min read

With all its ups and downs, experiencing emotion is a normal part of life. Everyone has a different experience of emotions. Some people feel more strongly than others, while other people may have long-term or temporary difficulty feeling a full range of emotion.
That difficulty is sometimes referred to as emotional blunting. Depending on the cause, emotional blunting can last anywhere from a few minutes, up to months or even years.
There are various reasons a person might experience emotional blunting, and what’s causing it will determine how it’s treated. Read on to learn more about how emotional blunting feels, what causes it, and what treatments are available.
Emotional blunting is a term sometimes used to describe a person’s limited emotional reactivity. They may not even be experiencing any emotions to feel, and people with emotional blunting may report feeling an unpleasant numbness instead of emotions.
There are many reasons a person might experience emotional blunting. This can include psychiatric prescriptions, substance use, and having certain mental health disorders.
The defining symptom of emotional blunting is a numbing of emotional experiences. This includes how a person feels internally.
Emotional blunting can be accompanied by blunted affect. It might also be defined by an inability to express emotions in their face, behaviors, and other forms of communication.
The blunted affect that comes with emotional blunting is especially common among people with moderate to severe depression. It can also appear alongside schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When people display emotions in a way most other people see as limited, experts sometimes refer to this as “flat affect.”
Emotional blunting may be associated with the following symptoms:
Emotional blunting isn’t considered a mental health condition. Instead, it’s considered a symptom of an underlying physical or mental cause.
If you’re experiencing emotional blunting, you should schedule an appointment with a mental healthcare professional. They’ll screen your symptoms and review your mental health history to better understand your unique circumstances.
As mentioned previously, emotional blunting is a symptom. There are a variety of possible causes. These include:
It seems that some people are more likely to experience emotional blunting than others. Common risk factors for developing emotional blunting include:
There are two sides to treatment for emotional blunting. One is going to involve working with a mental health professional, and the other is what you can do to help manage it on your own.
Emotional blunting is best treated by addressing the underlying cause or causes. That’s why it’s important to see a mental healthcare professional if you’re experiencing emotional blunting.
Some potential treatment options a mental healthcare professional might recommend include:
While emotional blunting and its causes should be treated by a licensed mental healthcare professional, there’s plenty that you can do on your own to help find relief from emotional blunting.
Emotional blunting is an unpleasant symptom with various possible causes. Treating the underlying causes of emotional blunting may help reduce its severity and frequency in your daily life.
It might take some time for you to see the effects of treatment. Changing medication doses, starting a substance use program, or beginning talk therapy, for example, won’t make emotional blunting disappear overnight. But they’re a start on the road to a fulfilling life.
Emotional blunting is a symptom of various mental health disorders. It can also be caused by certain medications, as well as substance use disorders. But there’s plenty of help available for people seeking treatment.
With the right treatment and a little time, it’s possible to keep emotional blunting at bay. This can help you get back to experiencing life with a fuller range of emotions.
Last medically reviewed on May 13, 2021
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