Low Motivation Is A Symptom Of Schizophrenia, But Scientists May Have Found A Way To Treat It

Now, doctors say they’ve uncovered the roots of schizophrenics’ lethargy: “Inaccuracy in estimating how difficult an effortful goal would be.” Confronted with a task, they seem to underestimate the pleasure they’d get out of it and overestimate the amount of effort required to accomplish it.

But there’s a trick to solving the problem. Break the effort into smaller, easier chunks. They give an exercise example: Don’t tell somebody to lose weight, tell them to walk a little more each day. “That’s something we would do for everyone else, but it might have been avoided in patients with schizophrenia because we thought they weren’t experiencing as much pleasure from their activities as they actually are,” Gard said. “We can help them to identify things that are pleasurable and reward them toward larger goals.”

Source: Gard D, Sanchez A, et al. Do People With Schizophrenia Have Difficulty Anticipating Pleasure, Engaging in Effortful Behavior, or Both? Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2014.

Read the full story:


I wonder if recognizing this and consciously attempting to analyze the situation might help me become more motivated.

I must admit I back away from tasks because they seem too hard to tackle.

Really,thinking positive helps a bit

That doesn’t seem to help with the whole ‘not able to initiate a task’ though. I think scientists all have different ideas about what avolition really is. Even the internet has different definitions of abolition. There’s the part of motivation where you choose to do something or not (what this topic is about), then there’s the inability to start something even if you choose to do it.

I have most of my problems in the 2nd part. If I think about doing anything, I can decide to do it, but I’m blocked from being able to initiate it.

That’s what AA taught me. Don’t ‘quit drinking’, just don’t have a drink today. That was easier. When I took my sponsor’s advice and applied the same to my mental health issue, I improved. It wasn’t me saying, ‘I will become healthy!’, it was, today I will go for a walk and pick up my laundry. Do that enough days in a row and good new habits form.