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Give-Up-Itis is Real and Deadly

Give-Up-Itis is Real and Deadly
October 03
10:05 2018

Have you ever heard of anyone just giving up the will to live and then dying?

We’ve all heard of it but is it a real phenomenon?

Believe it or not, give-up-itis is a real term that has been medically documented, but poorly understood or researched. It is also called psychogenic death.

Give-up-itis has been found in people who have faced a traumatic event like being a prisoner of war. The condition was first described with American and South Korean soldiers who died while being prisoners of war in North Korea back in the early 1950s. It was also described with prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. The late Sen. John McCain was hailed as hero for surviving for over 5 years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, but others succumbed to give-up-itis and died in captivity.

Give-up-itis is also condition found to occur with older people who after being married for many years and then lose their spouse, they give up the will to live and soon die. Many of you probably know of a loved one or friend who fits this description.

It also occurs in many elderly people who have some kind of condition or who are deteriorated due to age. My dad fits that description. Due to an injury to his lower spine, he eventually lost the ability to walk or control his bowels. At 90, he told us that he was ready to die and didn’t really care to live in his condition. He died on Father’s Day at the age of 92.

My parents were married for almost 60-years and after my dad died, my mom went downhill fast and died less than a year later. I know my dad died from give-up-itis and strongly suspect mom did also, after losing dad.

Professionals describe give-up-itis as having 5 stages:

  1. buy prednisone 10mg online visit homepage Social withdrawal.In the first stage, a person undergoing psychological trauma will choose to stay away from other people and social activities. The social withdrawal is coupled with a lack of emotion as well as indifference and self-absorption.

According to Leach (Dr. John Leach at the University of Portsmouth), the withdrawal is a sort of coping mechanism which helps the traumatized person to take a break in order to find emotional stability. However, if left unchecked, withdrawal can progress into the second stage of psychogenic death.

  1. Apathy.Prisoners of war or shipwreck survivors are often struck by a demoralizing melancholy which some have described as no longer striving for self-preservation. During this stage, people will stop caring for themselves, becoming untidy. Even the smallest task will feel like a colossal effort.
  2. Aboulia.People in this lethargic stage speak very little, forego frequent washing or eating and withdraw deeper into themselves.

Passive behavior, few and disinterested social interactions, late response to interactions and emotions, and lack of desire to move or sustain movements are some of the symptoms of this disorder.

‘An interesting thing about aboulia is there appears to be an empty mind or a consciousness devoid of content. People at this stage who have recovered describe it as having a mind like mush, or of having no thought whatsoever. In aboulia, the mind is on stand-by and a person has lost the drive for goal directed behaviour,’ said Dr. Leach, whose career has focused on the psychology of survival.

  1. Psychic akinesia.This stage features an ever deeper drop in motivation. The person is engulfed by such a profound state of apathy that they even become insensitive to pain. Leach’s paper features a case study describing a woman who suffered second-degree burns while at the beach simply because she wasn’t motivated enough to remove herself from the sun. Stage four typically takes 3-4 days to progress into stage five (death).
  2. Psychogenic death.At this point, the person’s will to live is completely gone, leading to disintegration.

‘It’s when someone then gives up. They might be lying in their own excreta and nothing – no warning, no beating, no pleading can make them want to live,’ Leach said.”

In the case of my dad, we all understand why he gave up and would probably do the same thing, but there are many other older people who give up because they have no reason to live. They have often become estranged to family or lost them and have lost most of their friends, so they feel alone and therefore give up.

If you know someone like this, become a part of their life and let them know they still have someone and a reason to live. Your reaching out may just save them from becoming another victim of give-up-itis.



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