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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Other namesDiscomfort, uneasiness
SpecialtyFamily medicine, Internal medicine, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Psychiatry, Clinical psychology
SymptomsFeeling of uneasiness or discomfort
Diagnostic methodBased on symptoms
Differential diagnosisPain, anxiety, depression

In medicine, malaise is a feeling of general discomfort, uneasiness or lack of wellbeing and often the first sign of an infection or other disease.[1] The word has existed in French since at least the 12th century.

The term is often used figuratively in other contexts, in addition to its meaning as a general state of angst or melancholia.


Malaise is a non-specific symptom and can be present in the slightest ailment, such as an emotion (causing fainting, a vasovagal response) or hunger (light hypoglycemia[2]), to the most serious conditions (cancer, stroke, heart attack, internal bleeding, etc.).

Malaise expresses a patient's uneasiness that "something is not right" that may need a medical examination to determine the significance.

Malaise is thought to be caused by the activation of an immune response, and the associated pro-inflammatory cytokines.[3]

Figurative use[edit]

"Economic malaise" refers to an economy that is stagnant or in recession (compare depression). The term is particularly associated with the 1973–75 United States recession.[4] An era of American automotive history, centered around the 1970s, is similarly called the "malaise era."

The "Crisis of Confidence" speech made by US President Jimmy Carter in 1979 is commonly referred to as the "malaise speech", although the word itself was not actually in the speech.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Malaise: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". medlineplus.gov. Archived from the original on 2016-09-16.
  2. ^ Sommerfield, Andrew J.; Deary, Ian J.; McAulay, Vincent; Frier, Brian M. (1 February 2003). "Short-Term, Delayed, and Working Memory Are Impaired During Hypoglycemia in Individuals With Type 1 Diabetes". Diabetes Care. 26 (2): 390–396. doi:10.2337/diacare.26.2.390. PMID 12547868. Archived from the original on 13 September 2016 – via care.diabetesjournals.org.
  3. ^ Dantzer, Robert (1 December 2016). "Cytokine, Sickness Behavior, and Depression". Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America. 29 (2): 247–264. doi:10.1016/j.iac.2009.02.002. ISSN 0889-8561. PMC 2740752. PMID 19389580.
  4. ^ One example can be found in The Next 200 Years: A Scenario for America and the World, by Herman Kahn et al., published in 1976, p. 2.
  5. ^ ""Crisis of Confidence" Speech (July 15, 1979)". Miller Center, University of Virginia. Archived from the original (text and video) on July 21, 2009.

External links[edit]