fbpx

Psychasthenia or Fatigue of the Soul

If you frequently display restless behavior, experience anxiety, insecure impulsivity, have a hard time making decisions, have phobias, and are agitated all the time, you could be psychasthenic. The Colombian psychologist, Felipe Orejuela, explains.

The Woman Post | María Consuelo Caicedo Toro

Listen to this article


I looked up the word psychasthenia in the dictionary and I find that its etymology corresponds to the union of two Greek words: psyché, which means "soul" and asthenia, which refers to "weakness." Making a simple sum of words is understood that psychasthenia is the weakness of the soul but I have the urgency to have a more in-depth explanation of the term which, through additional consultations, indicates that whoever presents with psychasthenia is affected by episodes of anxiety, various compulsions, phobias, and obsessions.

Apparently, psychasthenia is a term that has long since ceased to be used both in specialized books and in conversations with psychologists, and even in consultation with their patients. However, it has once again taken on a particular role behind walls that hide silences, difficult situations, verbal and physical violence, family conflicts, unemployment, debts, complaints, and anguish, built in the day-to-day life by COVID pandemic. That is why it is worth delving into the role that psychasthenia may be playing in our lives.

The Colombian specialist Felipe Orejuela Soto, a psychologist from the University of Antioquia and a magister in health psychology, in a meeting with The Woman Post, clears up the doubts.

The answer to the first question is somewhat intimidating:

The Woman Post: Who is affected by psychasthenia?

Felipe Orejuela: It can affect us all! Anyone can be psychasthenic and not know what is happening to them.

Understanding psychasthenia, then, is important and that is why Felipe Orejuela explains it as "a predisposition of people to be disturbed by various situations that can open space to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders."

The Woman Post: What are the symptoms?

Felipe Orejuela: Concern or fear of certain situations and that something bad could happen, among others. The mind loses energy and memory, attention and consciousness can be affected.

Those fears that the specialist talks about could manifest themselves in the compulsive inspection of the gas pipes or, for example, being returned home to check that the door or windows were properly closed: “The psychasthenic person frequently shows restless behavior. She is anxious, impulsive, and insecure, has a hard time making decisions, has phobias, and gets agitated all the time.”

Also read: ESSENTIAL WOMEN IN THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY

Then he adds, "The pandemic has significantly increased the presence of emotional and mental conditions worldwide and has generated increases in the difficulty of falling asleep and decision-making that includes variables with no other support than uncertainty: Food? If I can't help a sick family member or I have the virus and I don't have someone to help me? What if I go out and get infected? Perhaps then social phobias appear that are channeled through the fear of interacting with each other or agoraphobia that implies fear of being in a public place where the person feels vulnerable.”

Psychasthenia is a condition that could be evidenced in young adults, 18 to 25 years old, a period in which the personality is consolidated. If not handled properly, it could lead to problems in the family, work, and partner relationships.

Measures

In order to detect traits of psychasthenia, advises Felipe Orejuela, “It is pertinent to question our daily functionality, that is, if there are recurring and obsessive situations such as the fears described or repeated reviews of the water and gas taps, doors and windows, it becomes difficult falling asleep or sleeping too much, it is advisable to consult a specialist.”

We can take measures to counteract psychasthenic manifestations at home. In principle, it is necessary to understand that fear, anger, disgust, surprise and happiness are valid emotions and to get in touch with the mind and these emotions and know what they are saying, the consulted psychologist advises these daily routines:

-Maintain proper lifestyle habits: Eat healthy, exercise, and do sleep hygiene, that is, disconnect from electronic devices one hour before going to sleep, time in which we can write, read or paint, for example.

-Give space to leisure: Get away from work and study at times and do what you like.

-Build healthy relationships at the family and social level.

-Meditate listening to relaxing music and breathe deeply. This is how the body is regulated and we connect with ourselves.

Felipe Orejuela is on Instagram as @psicosalud.felipeFacebook, and LinkedIn.