Inhibition is a pathological condition characterized by a slowdown in intellectual processes, emotions, and movements. It is manifested by a decrease in the pace of speech, weakness of emotional reactions, slowness. Patients are sedentary, inactive, hardly able to maintain a conversation, answer questions after a pause. The diagnosis of inhibition is carried out with the help of clinical conversation, observation, research of the dynamics of mental activity, reaction speed. The methods of treatment include medication, psychotherapy, and psychocorrection.
Inhibition is a slowness of mental and physiological processes. In the scientific environment, the terms “bradypsychism” and “bradypsychia” are used to designate it. The most typical external signs are slow reactions, stretched speech, inability to engage in joint activities or communication, proceeding at a normal pace. Inhibited people often remain alone, seem unsociable, withdrawn for no reason. The most severe variants of the disorder are observed in apathy and stupor, when patients do not react to anything.
There are three types of inhibition: ideatory, motor and complex. The symptom is called ideatory, when slowness is most pronounced in speech and thinking. People show moderate or slightly weakened motor activity, but when trying to conduct a conversation, there is a slowdown – they do not have time to follow the conversation, track the change of topic, answer the questions posed. Others have the impression that the thought process and speaking take a lot of strength from a person.
Motor inhibition is manifested to a greater extent by slowing down movements. She is characterized by physical weakness, relaxed posture, discoordination. People constantly feel the desire to lean on something stable, sit down or lie down. The decrease in the speed of speech is easy, communication difficulties arise only when conducting an intellectually complex or emotional conversation. With complex inhibition, the mental and motor sphere suffers: patients speak quietly, with long pauses, move slowly or remain practically motionless.
Causes of inhibition
Many people are familiar with the state when the usual things seem unbearable, there is a constant feeling of lack of time. Such a slight periodic inhibition has physiological reasons, for example, lack of sleep. It is short-lived, disappears on its own after a full rest. Less often, the slowness of psychomotor reactions is pathological, develops as a symptom of a mental disorder, neurological disease or intoxication of the body. In such cases, people remain inhibited regardless of fatigue, and need special treatment.
The reasons for a person’s slowness are the peculiarities of the functioning of his nervous system and situational factors, for example, leading to asthenization or reducing motivational and volitional abilities. Physiological factors of inhibition act constantly or periodically, but do not cause social and personal maladaptation: a person continues to lead a habitual lifestyle, adjusting it to his slowness. Possible causes of this type:
- Lack of sleep. The body is unable to adapt to sleep deficiency. Its lack at night (for example, with insomnia) is always compensated during the daytime by the development of drowsiness, absent-mindedness, slowness. At the physiological level, inhibition processes in the brain prevail. After a sleepless night, lethargy occurs during the day, regardless of where the person is, what tasks he solves.
- Fatigue. Slowing down reactions, weakness, drowsiness are caused by the body’s need for rest. When the reserves of mental and physical energy are depleted, the body turns on the “economy mode”. Reducing the pace of all types of activity helps to waste the rest of your strength more slowly. After a period of rest, the usual speed is restored. If this does not happen, the development of chronic fatigue syndrome is likely.
- Stress. The reaction to stressful effects is determined by the peculiarities of nervous activity, can unfold by the type of inhibition or hyperactivity. Some people become more active and restless in response to stress, while others show passivity and uncertainty. The second response option is called “rabbit stress”, characterized by sharp disorganization, slowing down of activity.
- The complexity of the task. The reasons for selective inhibition are lack of skills, lack of knowledge to perform a specific activity. A person performs a task slowly or does nothing at all when the task is difficult and incomprehensible. For example, a student at the blackboard who missed the previous lesson and did not do his homework looks inhibited.
- Unwillingness to perform activities. The speed of thinking decreases when it is necessary to perform a task that is subjectively assessed as uninteresting, insignificant, meaningless. Achieving the final result is possible only through the application of volitional efforts, but they are not always enough. As a result, a person hesitates, gets distracted, postpones work for the future.
- Phlegmatic temperament. The innate causes of slowness are the predominance of inhibition and inertia of the nervous system. People with such features are called phlegmatic. They may seem inhibited, especially for those who are dominated by the excitation of the central nervous system, and the speed of all processes is high.
- Features of upbringing. Sluggishness, the predominance of inhibited personality traits may be the result of upbringing in a family with a measured strict daily routine, the lack of the possibility of independence. In both cases, the child grows dependent on his parents, unable to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Getting into an unfamiliar situation, he becomes confused, indecisive, slow.
Somatic and mental diseases
The implementation of mental operations, complex motor acts is provided by the work of different parts of the brain. With organic and biochemical changes in the central nervous system, persistent pronounced inhibition may develop, regardless of lack of sleep, fatigue or situational reasons. It requires treatment, in combination with other symptoms of the disease violates the social adaptation of a person – prevents the performance of professional activities, limits the ability to communicate with relatives, friends. The most common causes of pathological inhibition:
- Vascular diseases of the brain. Acute and chronic disorders of cerebral circulation lead to a deterioration in the nutrition of brain cells, hypoxia. This negatively affects the speed of intellectual functions, the focus of attention. Slowness, absent-mindedness are most characteristic of patients with atherosclerosis, hypertension, vascular thrombosis.
- Parkinson’s disease. One of the key symptoms of the disease is hypokinesia – a decrease in spontaneous physical activity. Patients can remain motionless for hours, their movements are constrained, unfold only after the poise, slow down. Walking with small steps, a masked face, viscosity of thinking, confusion of speech is characteristic.
- Epilepsy. A decrease in the rate of mental processes occurs with an increase in epileptic dementia. The thinking of epileptics is viscous, rigid, concrete. Speech is often impoverished, slowed down, but accelerated speech production is possible with a large number of stereotypical repetitions, patterns. Inhibition is more evident in the intellectual sphere.
- Schizophrenia. Bradypsychia in schizophrenia is formed on the basis of emotional and volitional disorders, poverty of motives. Patients are uninitiative, behave aloof. Slowing down of thinking is accompanied by a decrease in the speed of motor-speech activity, difficulties in verbalization of thoughts. Secondary causes of inhibition are intellectual defect, productive schizophrenic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations).
- Depression. Motor and mental retardation are part of the classic triad of symptoms of endogenous depression, but can also manifest in other depressive disorders. With mild forms of the disease, lethargy, slowness, stiffness of movements are observed. Severe depressions can occur with stupor, mutism, inability to respond to external stimuli.
- Anxiety disorders. With a high level of anxiety, a state of psychomotor retardation occurs. Patients pronounce every word with effort, as if overcoming an obstacle. The reasons are emotional overstrain, stiffness of thinking, concentration of attention on an alarming situation.
- Hypothyroidism. Insufficiency of thyroid hormones reduces the rate of metabolic processes of the central nervous system. On the basis of this, there is a change in the emotional sphere and cognitive abilities. Patients experience lethargy, apathy, depression. They become slow, hypochondriacal, whiny. They perceive new information worse, they remember it poorly.
Toxic poisoning of the body develops with parasitic diseases, alcohol intake, narcotic drugs and medicines. In most cases, there is a violation of the exchange of neurotransmitters of the central nervous system, which leads to a change in the rate of biochemical reactions and neural transmissions, which is manifested by an acceleration or slowing down of the pace of mental activity, inadequate emotions, behavior. Inhibition appears when the following substances enter the body:
- Opioids. Mild intoxication has mild signs. With poisoning of moderate severity, a person becomes complacent, sedentary, sluggish. Due to the influx of dream-like fantasies, maintaining a conversation is difficult. The speech is quiet, unintelligible. Vegetative symptoms: constriction of the pupils, pallor of the skin, dryness of the mucous membranes, low blood pressure.
- Sedatives, sleeping pills. Intoxication with these drugs is characterized by lethargy, drowsiness, discoordination of movements. There is often an instability of emotions with rapid transitions from laughter to crying. With mild poisoning, the mood rises, a feeling of joy develops, which is gradually replaced by anger, tearfulness. The average degree of intoxication is always accompanied by a slowdown in thinking, speech, and movements.
- Cannabinoids. The state of acute intoxication proceeds with a pathological change in the direction of thinking: it becomes illogical, inconsistent, incoherent. The pace is more often accelerated, but sometimes pathological inhibition develops, which is manifested by a feeling of “freezing of thoughts”, inability to comprehend what is happening. At the same time, the mood remains upbeat.
- Parasite toxins. In chronic parasitic invasions, small doses of toxic substances affect the nervous system for a long time. Poisoning develops, the main symptoms of which include fatigue, a feeling of overwork, insomnia. Children’s patients are often diagnosed with anemia, they look sleepy, apathetic, sluggish.
Lethargy, fatigue, weakness are common reasons for people to consult a neurologist. Less often, the initial examination is carried out by a therapist or a psychiatrist. First, a clinical interview of the patient, observation and examination is carried out. In order to objectively confirm the presence of inhibition, a pathopsychological examination, psychophysiological tests determining the reaction rate are performed. To clarify the diagnosis, instrumental studies of the brain and its vessels, blood tests for hormone levels can be prescribed. The standard diagnostic complex includes:
- Clinical conversation. During the survey, patients complain of slowness, memory impairment, and a decrease in intellectual abilities. They say that they have become worse at coping with professional duties and daily chores, they cannot support a conversation. Possible additional symptoms are drowsiness, headaches, and absent-mindedness. Children have capriciousness, tearfulness for no particular reason, lack of interest in games.
- Observation. Responding to the doctor, patients often pause, stretch their words. The voice is quiet, they speak indistinctly, the question is answered after silence, so it may seem that auditory perception is impaired or it is difficult to understand the meaning of what is said. In behavior, they are slow, passive. The movements are awkward, performed through force.
- The study of thinking. Pathopsychological tests are conducted to assess the speed of the thought process: an associative experiment, the selection of antonyms and others. According to the results, a slowdown in the pace of cognitive functions, a decrease in the number of representations, “getting stuck” on one thought is determined. Intellectual activity is characterized by inertia, lack of mobility.
- Determination of the reaction rate. In the diagnosis of inhibition, psychophysiological methods are used that measure the reaction time to a stimulus (sound, light) and parallel changes in the bioelectric activity of the brain, heart rate, respiratory rate. With inhibition, a significant increase in the time of a simple visual-motor and auditory-motor reaction, depression of the alpha rhythm on the EEG, slowing of breathing is revealed.
The methods of basic therapy depend on the cause that provoked the inhibition. As part of the treatment program, various methods are used: drug correction, psychotherapy, targeted stimulation of intellectual functions and motor activity. All activities are aimed at restoring the physiological brain processes responsible for the dynamics of psychomotor activity, as well as training mental and physical skills.
Drug therapy is prescribed to most patients, aimed at improving the metabolism of nerve cells and tissues, protecting them from damaging factors, slowing down death. The restoration of active blood supply increases the functioning of various parts of the brain. As a result, mental activity is activated, the symptoms of inhibition are reduced. Patients are shown taking neuroprotectors, nootropics.
Psychotherapy and psychocorrection
Psychocorrection classes are focused on increasing the speed of cognitive functions. They include such exercises as the selection of associations, generalization of concepts, analysis of logical sequences, solving intellectual problems. The correctness of the results and the speed of completing tasks are taken into account. During psychotherapeutic sessions, methods of social adaptation of a person with inhibition are mastered. The specialist gives recommendations on the choice of a professional field, helps to master behavioral and speech skills that compensate for slowness.
In order to improve brain function, to increase the flow of oxygen to the tissues, patients are recommended to adjust the daily routine, be sure to include moderate physical activity in the fresh air – hiking, active games, sports. To activate thinking, daily intellectual loads are necessary – reading books, learning foreign languages, creative activities. This advice is especially relevant for older people who have completed their professional activities.