The 6 Differences Between Boredom And Apathy: How To Distinguish Them?

The 6 differences between boredom and apathy

Sometimes we experience emotions or sensations that bear a certain resemblance to another and that can lead to confusion.

This time we are going to break down the main differences between boredom and apathy first knowing what characterizes each of them in order to learn to easily distinguish them, focusing on those elements in which both sensations diverge.

What do we understand by boredom and apathy?

Although at certain moments we may have doubts about what exactly we are feeling, the truth is that there are differences between boredom and apathy that help us distinguish them and be able to correctly label our state. But to do this, the first thing we must be clear about is what each of these feelings consists of, so we will begin by defining them in order to have the basis we need before moving forward.

Boredom is a feeling of discomfort that a person experiences when they are experiencing a certain situation that does not cause interest or motivation It usually occurs when faced with repetitive stimuli or stimuli that cause rapid fatigue in the subject. It can also be generated precisely by a lack of stimuli.

On the contrary, apathy has to do with a state of indifference to stimuli The person who is suffering from this condition would show a lack of emotionality and enthusiasm. He would have lost the motivation to carry out any activity, of any kind. It would not be a response to a specific stimulus, but rather it would be a generalized state in this person.

Once we have made this first approach to both concepts, we can delve into the differences between boredom and apathy to continue correctly distinguishing these two phenomena.

The main differences between boredom and apathy

Below we will compile a list of the main differences between boredom and apathy.

1. The question of desire

The first clear difference that we find in this matter is given by the desire to perform an action. When we talk about boredom, the person wants to perform an action different from what they are doing (if you are doing any). But the case of apathy is different. An individual who is experiencing apathy will not want to carry out the activity he is doing or any other. He doesn’t want to do any of them.

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2. Motivation

Another difference between boredom and apathy comes through motivation. A person who is bored has motivation to carry out an activity that satisfies him, since he does not like the situation he is experiencing at that specific moment, either due to lack of activity or because the activity he is doing is tedious.

However, During the state of apathy there is no such motivation to carry out any activity The person is in a state of total loss of interest in performing any exercise, whatever its nature.

3. The end

If we focus on the purpose or usefulness of these states, we could observe that boredom is acting as a warning signal to the individual to move him towards the search for another type of action that satisfies him, so in a certain way it would be a driver to make the person direct his behavior towards activities that were positive for him.

On the contrary, apathy does not drive the person to act, quite the opposite. It would be plunging him into a kind of lethargy through which he would not feel like initiating any type of action. Therefore, we observe that this is one of the big differences between boredom and apathy.

4. Cause

As for the cause, boredom can simply come from a lack of motivation towards the specific task (or non-task) and a desire to perform another one, as we have already seen. But apathy, in some cases, can have a pathological component In fact, it is considered that at a clinical level, a continued state of apathy can be an indicator of risk for depression.

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In other cases, when it is considered that it does not reach the level of minor depression, it can be included in dissociative identity disorder. In addition, it must be taken into account that sometimes apathy can also have a chemical origin, for example as a side effect when taking certain drugs.

5. Symptom

Continuing with the differences between boredom and apathy, we see that apathy can represent a symptom in a whole variety of diseases, starting with depression, as we have already seen in the previous point. But also It can be observed in patients suffering from other pathologies, such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Wernicke’s disease or also schizoid personality disorder.

As for boredom, it does not have a clinical significance in itself, as it is a transitory state that usually disappears when the person finds a task that motivates them more or that for any reason is more pleasant, causing them to end like this. your frustration.

6. Remedy

Another point that represents one of the differences between boredom and apathy is the remedy that can be given.

In the case of boredom, it seems clear that the solution would lie in finding a purpose with which to spend time in a pleasant way Active entertainment is more enriching than passive entertainment in that sense, which would act as a kind of temporary patch.

Therefore, it seems that boredom can be remedied in a reasonably simple way, also having multiple ways to do so, since normally it is not a single activity that can eliminate boredom, but a great variety of them. The only thing the subject needs is to find some and get to work to eliminate the unpleasant sensation in which he is immersed.

But apathy has more complex roots and therefore requires more elaborate solutions. This occurs especially when we are talking about clinical apathy, as we saw in the previous points. At that point, the help of a professional psychologist will be required, since apathy would be a symptom within a pathology that requires therapy to be cured.

The dangers of chronic boredom

We have reviewed a series of differences between boredom and apathy to realize that they are actually very different concepts and, apparently, apathy has greater complexity and risks than boredom. However, there is a form of boredom that can also carry some dangers. It’s about chronic boredom.

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There is a profile of people who, faced with continuous situations of boredom, They may experience such discomfort that the chances of them choosing to engage in risky behavior will significantly increase to try to compensate for this feeling. These types of behaviors include the consumption of substances such as alcohol or drugs.

Others could trying to relieve anxiety caused by boredom through disproportionate intakes of food, which can lead to eating disorders, such as bulimia.

Obviously, these are extreme cases and also tremendously complex, which would have to be analyzed in detail, since it is most likely that another series of variables were involved in the problem that would have ended up causing said situation in the individual.

Apathy and apathy

Going deeper into the differences between boredom and apathy, we are going to pay greater attention to some of the characteristics of the latter. This affective state supposes in the individual, as we have already seen, an emotional flattening, in which he does not feel either positive or negative emotions. His lethargy leads him to not emotionally channel any stimulus, neither in one sense nor the other.

But also, apathy usually leads to another phenomenon, which is apathy It is a psychopathological state in which the person has lost the lack of will to carry out any activity and also feels that they do not even have enough energy to do so. Therefore, he finds himself immersed in an emotional flattening and without the strength or desire to participate in any activity or exercise.

Not all cases of people with apathy show such extreme symptoms but when this is the case, we would enter the field of pathology and therefore the individual should receive the necessary psychological help to overcome and recover an adequate emotional state, since we have already seen that in many cases apathy can be the prelude to the Depression.

After this compendium of differences between boredom and apathy, we now have the tools to be able to distinguish between both phenomena and understand in which cases we should refer to each of them.