I’m Feeling Numb Emotionally, What Do I Do?

April 25, 2024

woman up late at night representing emotional numbness

Have you been wondering “Why do I feel emotionally numb?” If so, you’re not alone.

Emotional numbness is a diminished, subdued, or absent emotional response. During moments typically filled with joy or sorrow, you might find yourself feeling empty or disconnected. This state is neither positive nor negative and doesn’t imply a total absence of feelings.

Emotional numbness can be a temporary phase or a more enduring condition that may require mental health treatment.

If you’re struggling with feeling emotionally numb for extended periods, it may be time to reach out for help.

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Need Help Getting Mental Health Treatment?

Call our mental health specialists today at (844) 759-0999 to get insurance-covered treatment for mental health disorders.

Symptoms of Feeling Emotionally Numb

Emotional numbness manifests differently for each person. Generally, you might notice a constraint in your emotional range. Perhaps you respond less intensely to situations that previously elicited strong reactions, or you might feel emotions internally without any visible external expression.

In circumstances that ordinarily would provoke sadness or happiness, you may find yourself feeling neither of these emotions, complicating your ability to connect with others.

Additional indicators of emotional numbness can include:

  • Sense of disengagement from life
  • Inability to tap into your emotions
  • Feeling of being disconnected or distant from people
  • Pervasive sense of dullness, affecting both body and mind
  • Challenges in feeling positive emotions, such as joy
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed (anhedonia)
  • Preference for solitude over social interaction

Individuals experiencing emotional numbness may unknowingly employ tactics to avoid facing their feelings. This avoidance can manifest through behaviors aimed at dodging certain people or situations, possibly without conscious recognition. Denial, a typical defense mechanism, is often used to sidestep emotional discomfort and the potential for negative experiences.

woman looking aways representing feeling numb emotionally

What Causes Feeling Numb Emotionally?

Various factors can contribute to emotional numbness. While depression and anxiety are the most commonly recognized causes of this emotional dampening, other significant factors include:

  • Stress and its related hormones: High levels of cortisol can result in emotional numbness and a diminished emotional reaction in some people.
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): Altered levels of stress hormones due to PTSD are associated with depression and anxiety symptoms, including emotional numbness.
  • Side effects of medication: Drugs prescribed for depression and anxiety can impact mood-regulating hormones and brain functions. Specifically, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) influence serotonin in the brain, potentially affecting dopamine levels as well.
  • Depersonalization-derealization disorder: Individuals with depersonalization-derealization disorder may feel emotionally or physically numb.
  • Fatigue: Chronic physical fatigue and burnout may lead to emotional dullness.

How to Stop Feeling Emotionally Numb

Addressing emotional numbness involves focusing on underlying causes and incorporating strategies to reconnect with your feelings. Here are some steps to consider:

Seek professional help

  • Medical evaluation: Consult with a healthcare provider to review any medications or health conditions that might be influencing your emotional state. Adjustments in medication or treatment plans may alleviate some symptoms.
  • Therapy: Engaging with a mental health professional can provide a safe space in which to explore the roots of emotional numbness. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other therapeutic approaches can offer strategies to manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or any underlying issues contributing to numbness.

Practice mindfulness and meditation

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves staying present and fully engaging with the moment without judgment. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your feelings and thoughts, reducing tendencies toward emotional avoidance.
  • Meditation: Regular meditation practice can result in a deeper connection with your emotions, enhancing your ability to observe and process feelings without overwhelming distress.

Develop healthy lifestyle habits

  • Physical activity: Exercise can elevate mood, reduce stress, and improve overall mental health, helping to break through emotional numbness.
  • Sleep and nutrition: Prioritizing sleep and a balanced diet can significantly affect your emotional and physical well-being, supporting mood regulation and energy levels.

Build social connections

  • Social support: Building and maintaining relationships can provide emotional support and decrease feelings of isolation. Sharing your experiences with trusted friends or support groups can offer comfort and understanding.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy: Reconnecting with hobbies and activities that bring joy can stimulate positive emotions and reduce feelings of numbness.

Express yourself

  • Creative expression: Art, writing, music, and other creative outlets offer ways to express feelings that might be hard to articulate verbally. These activities can provide a therapeutic outlet for exploring and expressing emotions.
  • Journaling: Regularly writing down your thoughts and feelings can enhance emotional awareness and offer insights into patterns of emotional numbness.

Set small, achievable goals

  • Goal setting: Start with small, manageable goals that encourage you to take steps outside your comfort zone. Achieving these goals can build confidence and gradually rekindle emotional engagement with your surroundings and activities.

Keep in mind that overcoming emotional numbness is a gradual process. It requires patience, self-compassion, and often, professional support. Recognizing the issue and taking steps to address it marks a significant first step toward initiating recovery and improving emotional reconnection.

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Get Treatment for Feeling Numb Emotionally at Connections

Seeking help for mental health issues is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you have been feeling emotionally numb and you need help recalibrating your life, reach out to Connections for effective depression treatment in Southern California.

If you fear engaging with treatment, keep in mind that we limit intake at our luxury treatment center to just six people at any one time. not only does this help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed, but you can also benefit from plenty of personalized attention, as well as the support of peers with living experience of feeling emotionally numb.

The unique aspect of all depressive disorders and other mental health conditions means that Connections treatment plans are targeted and personalized, including medications, behavioral interventions, and holistic therapies.

To get mental health treatment for yourself or a loved one, call 844-759-0999 for immediate assistance.

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