Flat Affect: Symptoms & Signs

A flat affect is the loss or lack of emotional responses to a situation or event that would typically elicit emotion. People with flat affect may appear to be completely unemotional or apathetic. Other associated symptoms include speaking in a monotone voice and a reduction in facial expressions. A flat affect is sometimes referred to as a blunted affect, although a blunted affect often refers to a reduction in emotions that is not as severe as that seen with flat affect. Flat affect can occur in association with schizophrenia or in some types of depression.

Other causes of flat affect

  • Acute Psychosis
  • Brain Trauma
  • Drug or Alcohol Intoxication
  • Drug Withdrawal
  • Medications
  • Vegetative State

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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