Aboulie : Symptoms and Treatment

Abulia is a mental disorder that is characterized by an absence or reduction of willpower. This disorder is most often present during a psychiatric illness. His treatment combines psychotherapy and medication. 

Aboulie, what is it?


Abulia is a motivational disorder. The word aboulie means deprived of will. This term refers to a mental disorder: the person who suffers from it wants to do things but cannot take action. In practice, she is unable to make decisions and carry them out. This differentiates this disorder from apathy because an apathetic person no longer has initiative. Abulia is not a disease but a disorder encountered in many psychiatric illnesses: depression, schizophrenia… It is also seen in people with chronic fatigue syndrome or burnout.


Abulia is a disorder most often associated with psychiatric illnesses: depression, schizophrenia…

Drug addiction can also be a cause of abulia, as well as diseases: chronic fatigue syndrome, burnout or narcolepsy. 


The diagnosis of abulia is made by a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. People suffering from psychiatric illness such as depression or schizophrenia may be affected by abulia. Motivational disorders represent an important component of behavioral disorders. Abulia is a syndrome favored by psychiatric illnesses. Substance abuse is a risk factor for abulia.

Symptoms of abulia

A decrease in willpower 

Abulia is manifested by a decrease in the spontaneity of action and language. 

Other signs of abulia 

The decrease or absence of will can be accompanied by other signs: motor slowing, bradyphrenia (slowing down of mental functions), attention deficit and increased distractibility, apathy, withdrawal…

Intellectual abilities are preserved.

Treatment of abulia

Treatment depends on the diagnosis. If the abulia has an identified cause such as depression, burnout or drug addiction, it is treated (medication, psychotherapy). 

If the abulia is isolated, it is treated by psychotherapy which aims to understand why the person has developed this syndrome.

Prevent abulia

Abulia cannot be prevented like other motivational disorders. On the other hand, it is important that a person who notices changes in his personality (or whose entourage has made this observation) consults a specialist.

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