Negative Affect Syndrome (NAS)

Negative affect syndrome (NAS) is characterized by persistent unpleasant moods which negatively influence an individual’s day-to-day activities and wellbeing. Specifically, those with this general psychological state have heightened feelings of anxiety, irritation, pain, and despair. This syndrome occurs when the brain goes through a significant imbalance regarding costs and benefits like when a person feels so overwhelmed because of multiple unmet needs. Thus, feelings of hopelessness, melancholy, and nervousness ensue. NAS as a category is purposefully broad; it is a reaction to the highly complex and specific DSM.

For instance, a working student just got fired from his job, was not able to work on his term paper which was due the next day, and caught his girlfriend cheating on him. These unfortunate events triggered his psychological states of despair, anxiety, pessimism, and annoyance. He then had negative feelings for several weeks that he was not able to comply with his academic requirements, has been unemployed for 3 months now, and rarely engaged in social activities.

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