Mojopenia is a term used to describe a relatively common collection of symptoms. By my observation, it is seen in slightly more males than females, most commonly in the age group of 25 to 65.

The symptoms of this syndrome include feelings of lack of energy, sluggishness, complicated by additional features of sadness and worry. The patient describes a feeling of being “burned-out” and say: “I lost my mojo.” Hobbies and recreational activities lack the usual satisfying interest and curiosity. There is a relative loss of interest and lack of curiosity about new activities and interests. The role of the individual in the “big picture” is lost Feelings and emotions are dampened and suppressed. There is a vague sense of boredom, discontentment or being “in a fog.”  

More severe mojopenia is expressed as confusion, hopelessness, intolerable feelings, and suicidal ideation, but suicide ideation is typically uncommon in the mojopenia presentation.

If employed, the patient may feel dread in going to work. There are sensations of being “stuck” because the job likely provides necessary income for regular living expenses. Work performance is sub-standard because of tardiness or poor job performance. The patient recognizes that their performance is not consistent with their potential. There is a fear of being “found out” regarding poor job performance.

The patient may feel the symptoms in their body. There may be difficulty sleeping, or tiredness and sleeping during the day. There may be decreased interest in partner sexual relations or usually interpersonal relationships. Sexual energy is unpredicable and may be absent, decreased, or at times, increased. 

The symptoms usually do not reach the clinical threshold of a major depressive disorder or a generalized anxiety disorder. Mojopenia has many features similar to the DSM IV-TR diagnosis of dysthymia. Mojopenia is also commonly thought of as "mid-age crisis" or a simple mild depression, but, as previously noted, has many other associated features.

At times, client may self-distract with an addictive behavior. Substance abuse and addiction may include: alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling and others. There may be health, legal or family consequences to the addictive behavior.

A medical cause of mojopenia must be investigated and evaluated, as the patient may be suffering from any number of clinical medical conditions, including: hypothyroidism, congestive heart failure (CHF), electrolyte/hormonal imbalance or an immune deficiency.

The treatment of mojopenia is amenable to any number of psychotherapy orientations. Depending on the clinical presentation, the therapist may conceptualize the client's presentation using: client centered psychotherapy, existential psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) or a family systems approach. A deeper understanding of the patient's internal working model is accomplished with a long-term frequent psychoanalytic approach.

Psychopharmacological medication is likely to be considered in some limited particular presentations.

Mojopenia is a term coined by Dr. Gonda in the summer 2011 after seeing several patients with similar clinical presentations.


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