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Animia: characteristics, causes of this symptom and treatment

It is said that the face is the mirror of the soul. Through the face, or rather the faces, we can express emotions and moods: laughter, sadness, anger and most feelings are visible on our face. We use different facial expressions to adapt to communicative situations, whether consciously or not. we show the feelings that we consider appropriate or that interest us depending on the place and the environment in which we let's find.

This ability to change faces is called a social face. Some people cannot express emotions through the face. This condition is known as animia, and it usually appears in some patients with catatonic schizophrenia or those diagnosed with major depressionIn addition to being a common symptom in Parkinson's disease.

A large percentage of people with Parkinson's disease have great difficulty or the complete inability to use emotional expressions in their communication and interactions. The relationship of animia to other symptoms affecting the muscles is unknown.

Animia is a motor disorder that affects all the muscles of the face. Changes in body language, combined with reduced facial expression and speech impediments, They can make communication difficult and cause problems in the social relationships of people who suffer from this disease. condition.

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In this article we will talk about the anime, its main effects, causes and possible treatments.

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What is anime?

Animia can be defined as the lack of expressing emotions. This condition can appear as a symptom of schizophrenia, in some melancholic patients and is common in Parkinson's disease. This condition is also called stone face or masked face. The scientific term for animia is hypomimia.

We have a total of 42 facial muscles. These muscles are used to show many different emotional states and feelings, often this happens without us being really aware of it.

Movement control is affected throughout the body in people with Parkinson's disease. This includes the facial muscles needed to show emotion. In some Parkinson's patients and as the disease progresses, the different muscles of the face lose their ability to Answer: They are stiff and slow to react, making the person's expression appear blank and unresponsive. emotion.

The condition involves a disconnect between thought and feeling, makes the face look different from what people are actually feeling, thinking or saying. Patients with Parkinson's disease may seem disinterested or even indifferent, when in fact this is not true. They may also appear to show no emotion or sometimes convey the feeling of being angry.

All this can be a source of problems in social relationships with strangers and also in the immediate environment, which in the long run can lead to internal psychological difficulties. It is difficult for these patients to lose the ability to express love or other emotions to their family or closest circles. The person may have difficulty recognizing the expression of their own emotions in the mirror.

In the case of patients with catatonic schizophrenia or diagnosed with major depression, animia does not problematically affect their psychological state. People are not aware of the loss of facial expression they suffer fromIn these patients, other psychological symptoms and mood disorders derived from their pathological condition weigh more heavily.

Animia can differ in its expression from person to person, depending on the severity of the underlying condition. Associated physical symptoms can cause people to have trouble expressing themselves and maintaining relationships with others. Some treatments can help improve your muscles' range of motion.

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How does this symptom manifest itself?

Parkinson's is a disorder of the nervous system that causes cognitive impairment. Parkinson's disease, as well as all its manifestations, including animia, appear progressively and a series of phases are described. Not all Parkinson's patients will have loss of facial expression, although most will..

As animia progresses, the patient's eyes appear more open and the face will begin to exhibit abnormal movements, accompanied by facial rigidity. The expression on the face is serious, even expressionless, as if made of rubber. In addition, many patients with animia develop bradykinesia, their muscles react slower than normal and are slow to move.

Little by little, with the loss of movement, the ability to show basic emotions also disappears, patients can no longer smile or raise their eyebrows to indicate surprise. Later stages of the disease can affect swallowing and the ability to communicate effectively.

While Parkinson's patients may not have trouble recognizing or feeling their own emotions in the early stages, in the most serious stages it can be difficult to transmit, but also to understand what others feel through the face.

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What causes animia?

At present, the exact reason that causes the appearance of animia is unknown. In the case of Parkinson's disease, this condition affects the motor pathways of the brain, and it has been suggested that it could be due to the loss of cells in the gray matter of the brain region. Hypomimia occurs in 70% of Parkinson's patients.

When the nerve endings that produce dopamine wear out or break down, chemical messengers are no longer producedlike dopamine. This results in the loss of the ability to control motor function. Dopamine helps control muscle movement, and without enough dopamine, movement regulation is impaired. The lack of this substance affects the muscles of the face, as well as those of the whole body.

Several important ways that Parkinson's disease can affect the facial muscles include:

  • Appearance of muscle rigidity: which can prevent you from smiling or raising your eyebrows.
  • Development of bradykinesia: Decreased movement speed can make it appear that a person has no visible facial responses, which could make it difficult to accurately interpret a conversation.
  • Loss of control of autonomic movements: The ability to involuntarily move the face can be significantly affected by Parkinson's disease. These movements can occur due to emotional stimuli or other reasons.
  • Alteration of mood: Depression and apathy that frequently occur with the disease can affect the appearance of the person's face.
what is anime
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As we have seen, animia is usually a frequent symptom of Parkinson's disease. Treatment of the disease requires a multidisciplinary approach which includes: pharmacological treatment combined with physiotherapy, speech therapy, voice control techniques and communication.


Some medications, which are used in Parkinson's disease to treat motor problems and range of motion, may also help reduce symptoms of animia such as stiffness facial.

The main pharmacological treatment for Parkinson's is Levodopa., which helps the brain produce dopamine, and combat the deficit associated with the loss of gray matter. The usefulness of this medication in reducing the symptoms of loss of facial expression has been demonstrated. Levodopa is usually combined with other medications to reduce its side effects.

Other drugs can stimulate the production of dopamine or other neural chemicals in the brain that are agonists of dopamine, that is, they help increase its production. Among those included some inhibitors used to treat depression.

Physiotherapy and speech therapy

Physiotherapy and some techniques can also help reduce muscle stiffness and control tremors. Another highly recommended treatment option is speech therapy. A speech therapist can help with swallowing problems and other symptoms of animia.

voice control techniques

Voice control techniques can help people with Parkinson's speak more clearly or increase pitch. The process incorporates specific voice work and articulations, as well as other behaviors related to speech.

Communication techniques

You can try to improve direct communication with the close circle, explaining the disease and its effects on facial expressions and allowing others to ask questions about one's own emotions. Participating in creative and physical activities can also help combat animia.

All the treatments explained are carried out jointly. It is more than advisable to also carry out some type of therapy to deal with animia and especially in the case of Parkinson's at diagnosis and development of the disease.
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