Anhedonia is a condition in which people do not enjoy or get pleasure from things they usually find pleasurable. It can be caused by brain injuries, depression, bipolar disorder, and drug abuse. There are different levels of anhedonia, some being mild and others severe. The severity level depends on the individual’s ability to feel emotions such as happiness and sadness or have a general lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy with friends. If you think you may have this condition please see your doctor for diagnosis because there are treatments available that can help return the emotional response back to normal so that one can live their life normally once again.
One way anhedonia could occur is if someone doesn’t experience any feelings at all during events.
What psychological diseases can anhedonia be a symptom of?
Some of the more common psychological diseases that anhedonia is a symptom of are depression, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder. These disorders can be debilitating and difficult to manage on their own. For this reason it’s important to have a sense understanding as to what these disorders are in order to better understand what anhedonia is and keep it from developing into something worse.
In most cases (though not always) anhedonia initiates between the ages of 18-25 for adults and develops as a result of genetics or upbringing events that mix with life traumas such as sexual abuse or mental illness diagnoses like paranoia or schizophrenia.
Anhedonia can be a symptom of major depressive disorder.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder characterized by persistent sadness, hopelessness and lack of interest in activities, among other symptoms ( 1 ). MDD is considered to be the leading mental health diagnosis worldwide, with up to 21% lifetime prevalence informed from self-reported data when populations were asked about their ever experience of MDD at least once during life. As many as 1/3 of individuals diagnosed with depression will also suffers from anhedonia, according to researchers at Yale University. Scientists believe that ‘”anhedonia’ indicates some cognitive processes which may have a neural correlate and could provide clues for refining or developing a new concept for this state”.
A form of depression called inhibited anhedonia could be another reason one feels no pleasure when.
Anhedonia is usually the result of a mood disorder or schizophrenia, in which case the person may have difficulty connecting what they’re feeling to other emotional responses. They feel numb and detached from their surroundings and emotions, so anhedonia becomes a side effect of such strong psychological problems. ( 2 )
Anhedonia is an inability to experience pleasure, and may be seen as a negative symptom of schizophrenia. The neurological mechanisms and implications of hedonia are still being researched.
Rosalyn J. Mckittricks-Pender & Homma (2012) reported that ‘schizophrenia patients showed decreased heart rate reactivity to both pleasant stimuli and stressful stimuli when compared with the healthy control group.
Anhedonia can also be related to OCD in some cases, causing people to feel dissatisfied with things that would usually make them happy- they may realize it isn’t normal to not enjoy hobbies that are typically pleasurable or they can become hyper aware of how every detail impacts their feelings while experiencing a lack thereof for most other things.
It has been shown to be the result of decreased activity in the reward centers of the brain, and it can often lead to a vicious cycle where patients find themselves less motivated to engage with life. There are many treatment methods for this condition, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Anhedonia and Psychotherapy
Anhedonia has been linked to decreased dopamine levels in the brain which may lead to symptoms such as lack of motivation, loss of interest in normal life pleasures (e.g., sex), weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, etcetera. Psychotherapies have been found to be effective treatments for people with depression and low moods because they help individuals learn skills for overcoming negative thoughts and feelings; these include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps change thinking.
Anhedonia is a relatively new term that refers to the inability or decreased capacity for pleasure, with accompanying symptoms of emotional numbing, social isolation and withdrawal. There are many treatment methods available for anhedonia including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in which patients learn how to identify thoughts and feelings that trigger their negative moods. With these strategies at your disposal you can get back on track by understanding what’s causing your depression and feeling better about yourself again! So if you’re living with this debilitating condition it’s time to take charge of your life.
Last Updated on July 31, 2021 by Marilyn Walker