Each person has their own way of experiencing emotions and processing them. While some people emote freely and express their feelings, others may tend to suppress their full range of emotions, or even find it difficult to emote appropriately altogether. This limited emotional reactivity is referred to as emotional blunting, and various factors such as trauma, mental health and substance abuse, can cause this condition.
Emotional blunting signifies a person’s diminished capacity to fully experience their emotions, and react in a way that is appropriate to the situation. In certain cases, such people may not even be experiencing any emotions at all, and could possibly be going through a state of emotional numbness.
Symptoms of emotional blunting include a numbing effect when it comes to emotional experiences. Inability to express emotions, be it through verbal, written, or behavioural means is also diminished. Also, people going through emotional blunting may find it difficult to emote through their face, and modulate their voice as per the emotion they are experiencing.
This condition is a common occurrence for people suffering from depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Emotional blunting could be caused as a result of the following factors:
1. Medications: Antidepressant medications can cause a person to suffer emotional blunting. Sedatives can also lead to triggering inhibitors in your nervous system that reduce the ability to feel emotions.
2. Depression: When a person feels a void inside of them, they start to become non-reactive to their surroundings, health, and hygiene. Depression could make a person emotionally blunt, making it hard for them to process and rationalise their emotions.
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3. Alcohol and substance abuse: Alcohol and drugs such as marijuana can adversely impact the central nervous system, and can cause dissociation with one’s actual surroundings and events in life. This leads to a person going about their life in a state of numbness.
4. PTSD: This disorder can also cause emotional blunting due to a person experiencing a traumatic event. A sense of emotional detachment, traumatic flashbacks, and a negative impact on mental health can lead to emotional blunting.
Emotional blunting can make a person lose their ability to feel both sadness and happiness. It makes one restless, lose appetite and sexual urges, and feel disconnected from society. A person experiencing emotional blunting finds it difficult to talk to other people, and is constantly in self-doubt, with respect to their abilities.
The most practical way perhaps to manage this condition, is to seek professional help. So, if you experience any of the symptoms listed above with yourself or a loved one, then reaching out to a mental health professional will go a long way in reclaiming your overall health and wellbeing.