Is Aphantasia a Disorder?

Recent research reveals that aphantasia, while not a mental disorder, can be a psychological stressor for some who newly discover they have it. Psychologist Merlin Monzel discussed these findings with the Aphantasia Network.
Play Video

Aphantasia Is Not a Disorder With Merlin Monzel

This study delves into the potential classification of aphantasia, marked by the inability to visualize, and concludes that aphantasia is not a disorder. However, its discovery can act as a psychological stressor for some.

A team from the University of Bonn in Germany assessed if aphantasia aligns with the criteria for mental disorders, such as its rarity, impact on daily life, deviation from societal norms, and personal distress. Despite being present in only 3-4% of the population, aphantasia typically doesn’t hinder daily activities, ruling it out as a mental disorder.

Yet, for about 30% of those with aphantasia, its discovery can be a significant psychological stressor. To shed light on these findings, Psychologist Merlin Monzel joined a live discussion hosted by Aphantasia Network Founder Tom Ebeyer.

Monzel, M., Vetterlein, A., & Reuter, M. (2022). No general pathological significance of aphantasia: An evaluation based on criteria for mental disorders. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. doi:10.1111/sjop.12887