Depressed Affect

In psychology, affect describes emotions that are expressed and therefore observable by others.

For example, flat effect is a psychiatric symptom in which individuals have no displayed emotions whatsoever. Depressed affect is a mental and physical state that frequently occurs among persons who feel trapped in their emotional or physical condition.

Examples include prisoners, abuse victims, or isolated individuals (such as a submarine crew) - it is believed the lack of stimulation is linked to depressed affect. This causes the person to shift into a mental and physical state of neutrality that can extend to extreme apathy and disregard for normal tasks such as eating/caring for oneself, etc. In its most extreme form it can actually lead to the death of the victim.

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