Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Robert J. BolandEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1314


Apathy; Fatigue


From the Greek lēthargia (from lēthargos: “forgetful”), “lethargy” is a general term that can be used to describe either a physical or mental state. Physically, it describes a condition of low energy, which can range from moderate fatigue to severe stupor. When used to describe a mental state, “lethargy” refers to mental inactivity, either from mental fatigue or apathy. Given the range of meanings, “lethargy” does not imply any cause and can be used to describe the malaise of major depression, the muscular weakness of multiple sclerosis, cancer-related fatigue, or the torpor of a nearly comatose state.


References and Readings

  1. Cornuz, J., Guessous, I., & Favrat, B. (2006). Fatigue: A practical approach to diagnosis in primary care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 174, 765–767.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Davis, M. P., & Goforth, H. (2014). Fighting insomnia and battling lethargy: The yin and yang of palliative care. Current Oncology Reports, 16, 377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryBrigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA