Suffering from Apathy? New Study Offers Hope
Life can seem nearly impossible for those who experience apathy. Apathy is a symptom of depression and refers to the lack of motivation, interest, or emotion.
Researchers at University of Connecticut have found two new drugs that restore normal behavior in rats who previously lacked motivation, which is promising in terms of future treatments.
The researchers induced apathy in rats by reducing dopamine within the brain, subsequently causing apathy. Those rats were found much less likely to work for treats, but when they were administered one of the experimental drugs, their motivation to work for the food returned.
The experimental drugs stimulated a build up of dopamine within the brain, similar to cocaine and amphetamines; however, it would be counterproductive to give someone who is depressed doses of cocaine and amphetamines, given the abuse potential. The experimental drugs provided a longer acting and steady, but mild, increase of dopamine. Future research will delve into whether the drugs truly do have less potential for abuse.