Despair is characterized by lack of hope and by a sense of waiting for hope to return. In present day Western society, despair is commonly suppressed or at least a (usually successful) attempt is made to hide its existence from others. This is said to leading to a partial numbing of the psyche so that the emotional and sensory life are diminished. Anxiety provoking data is effectively filtered out and the numbing effect intensified unless the despair is worked through. In this respect it is not dissimilar from grief.
In industrialized countries despair is typically associated with alienation from society. There is growing desperation among the poor in both the industrialized and developing countries.