Understanding Anhedonia’s Meaning, Causes, Symptoms. Top Anhedonia Treatments.

What is Anhedonia? Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure. It’s a common symptom of depression and other mental health disorders. Learn the top signs, types, symptoms, causes, and risk factors of Anhedonia.

Guide to Anhedonia

Have you ever felt like you can no longer find joy in things that used to make you happy? Do you find yourself losing pleasure in activities you used to enjoy? Then, you might be experiencing anhedonia. It is a psychological condition characterized by the inability to feel pleasure or to be able to experience feelings of joy. The condition is often associated with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. Next we will provide an in-depth insight into this disorder’s meaning, symptoms, causes, and treatment.


What is Anhedonia in Simple Terms?

The disorder is distinguished by a lack of pleasure or ability to experience joy in activities once regarded as enjoyable and rewarding. It is typically associated with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders in combination with other mental disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Symptoms include a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, a bleak outlook on life, reduced libido, and a lack of social interactions or interest. Various factors, such as chronic stress, trauma, and drug abuse, can cause the condition. Treatment options for individuals with anhedonia include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, medication, and other alternative therapies. It is essential to seek professional help and support to manage this condition.

Detailed Definition

What is Anhedonia?

Anhedonia is derived from the Greek word “the absence of pleasure.” It is a psychological condition characterized by an individual’s inability to feel pleasure or joy. This condition hinders an individual’s ability to find happiness in activities they used to enjoy. Anhedonia is common in people with depression, and it often persists even when the symptoms of depression have improved. The inability to feel pleasure can affect social interactions, work, and other areas of an individual’s life.

Anhedonia pronunciation

The proper way to pronounce anhedonia is: an·hee·dow·nee·uh.

Anhedonia Definition

Anhedonia can manifest in many forms, from difficulty finding enjoyment in activities such as sports or hobbies to a lack of emotional connection in social situations to an inability to find pleasure or satisfaction in activities or conversations. While it is a common symptom of depression, which can be treated with the proper care, even people without depression can experience this condition.

The disorder can take many forms, including:

  • Losing interest in activities that once gave pleasure.
  • Feeling completely flat and disconnected from things.
  • Losing motivation and enthusiasm.
  • Feeling numb, unable to experience joy.
  • Feeling detached from other people.

An individual with the disorder may have difficulty experiencing happiness, satisfaction, or fulfillment and may find it challenging to engage in activities they once found pleasurable. This loss of interest or pleasure can significantly impact a person’s emotional well-being and overall quality of life.

People with the disorder may experience difficulties in emotional processing, increased negative thinking, and the inability to feel hope or optimism. It is often accompanied by depression, fatigue, and insomnia.

It can also have physical manifestations such as:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Body aches.
  • General physical discomfort.
  • Overall loss of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Sometimes, people may feel isolated from friends and family or unable to engage in meaningful conversations or activities. When looking for the answers to how to help this condition, we sometimes ignore that we might have other mental health problems that need immediate treatment. Over time, it can damage relationships and affect your daily functioning. It can also lead to substance abuse to feel “pleasure” again.

In-depth Meaning: anhedonia’s definition psychology diagnosis

In-depth Anhedonia Meaning

In psychology, the disorder refers to the inability to experience pleasure or find enjoyment in activities that are typically pleasurable or enjoyable. It is a crucial symptom and diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, although it can also be a symptom of other mental health disorders.

It can manifest in different ways, such as a lack of interest or pleasure in hobbies, social activities, sex, or even basic daily activities like eating or spending time with loved ones. It may lead to a general feeling of emptiness or a loss of motivation and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

Psychologists and mental health professionals use the condition as a marker for diagnosing depressive disorders and determining the severity of an individual’s condition. Treatment for anhedonia typically involves a combination of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, and in some cases, medication.

Anhedonia can be divided into two main types:

  1. Physical Anhedonia.
  2. Social Anhedonia

Social anhedonia meaning

Wondering what is social anhedonia? Social Anhedonia meaning is the difficulty or inability to find pleasure in social interactions or activities. Individuals with social anhedonia may struggle to derive satisfaction from spending time with friends, participating in social events, or socializing. This can lead to feelings of detachment or isolation.

Anhedonia vs depression

The disorder is a symptom commonly associated with depression, although it can also occur in other mental health disorders. It is the inability to experience physical sensations of pleasure or enjoyment. It encompasses losing interest or pleasure in sensory experiences such as taste, touch, and sexual activity. Individuals with physical anhedonia may no longer derive joy from activities like eating their favorite food, engaging in physical intimacy, or experiencing pleasurable sensations.

It is a core symptom of major depressive disorder but can also occur in other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. It can significantly impact a person’s emotional well-being, quality of life, and capacity to experience positive emotions.

It can exist on a continuum, ranging from mild to severe, with varying degrees of impairment in pleasure and interest. Treatment for anhedonia often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to address the underlying causes and improve the individual’s ability to experience pleasure and engage in meaningful activities.

Clinical Meaning of Anhedonia

It is a complex psychological concept that refers to the diminished ability or complete inability to experience pleasure or enjoy activities that are typically enjoyable or satisfying. It is a symptom that manifests across various mental health conditions, most notably major depressive disorder.

It is a severe condition that describes the near-complete absence of:

  • Enjoyment.
  • Motivation.
  • Interest.

A core feature of depression, clinical manifestations of this condition can include deficits in experiencing pleasure, approach-related motivated behavior, and learning to match expectations to the environment. [1]

What is musical anhedonia?

Musical anhedonia is a specific type of anhedonia that refers to the inability to find pleasure or derive enjoyment from music. Individuals with musical anhedonia may not experience the emotional and pleasurable responses typically associated with listening to music.

This condition is still being studied and understood, but some theories suggest it may be related to brain structure or function differences. It is worth noting that even though someone may not experience pleasure from music, they can still perceive and understand it on a cognitive level.

It is crucial to differentiate musical anhedonia from other reasons someone may not enjoy or enjoy music, such as personal preferences or a lack of exposure to specific genres. Musical anhedonia is a relatively rare condition, and its impact on the individual’s overall quality of life may vary.

If someone suspects they have musical anhedonia or concerns about their ability to experience pleasure in activities they once enjoyed, consult a We Level Up mental health professional for further evaluation and appropriate support.

What is sexual anhedonia?

Sexual anhedonia, also known as pleasure dissociative orgasmic disorder, is when individuals have difficulty experiencing pleasure or satisfaction during sexual activities, specifically during orgasms. This condition is uncommon and can be distressing for those who share it.

People with sexual anhedonia may still be able to engage in sexual activities and achieve orgasm physically. Still, they do not feel the expected pleasurable sensations or satisfaction typically associated with it. This lack of pleasure may extend to various sexual activities, including masturbation or sexual intercourse.

Sexual anhedonia can be a primary condition, meaning it occurs on its own without any underlying physical or mental health conditions, or it can be secondary, arising as a symptom of an underlying medical or psychological issue. Potential causes of sexual anhedonia can include medications, hormonal imbalances, neurological conditions, psychological factors like depression or anxiety, or prior sexual trauma.

If someone is experiencing sexual anhedonia and it is causing distress or difficulties in their relationships or overall well-being, it is vital to seek medical or mental health support. A healthcare provider or mental health professional can thoroughly evaluate any potential underlying causes and recommend appropriate treatment options.


Anhedonia Treatment

There are various treatment options available. The most effective treatments are cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and medications. CBT helps identify, challenge, and alter negative thought patterns contributing to the lack of pleasure and joy. Other therapies, such as psychodynamic therapy, art therapy, or group therapy, can also help patients understand the causes of their anhedonia and work on ways to recover. Medication such as antidepressants can also help restore the neurotransmitter balance that has been disrupted.

Regardless of the person’s treatment choice, the individual must seek professional help to ensure proper condition management.

The diagnosis process

If you’re experiencing anhedonia, a healthcare provider will evaluate your emotional state and mood through thoughtful questioning. To rule out any physical causes, they may also conduct a physical examination. Additionally, obtaining your complete medical history is integral to this evaluation.

As anhedonia often coexists with depression, healthcare providers may suggest blood tests to identify or dismiss any potential underlying conditions that could impact your mental well-being. These tests specifically check for a vitamin D deficiency or hypothyroidism (an imbalance in thyroid hormones).

Treating Anhedonia: Exploring the options

If you’re wondering how to treat anhedonia, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, healthcare providers can help alleviate this symptom by identifying and addressing the underlying cause. The treatment options may involve:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Antipsychotic or antidepressant medications
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
  • Ketamine injection
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Sometimes, a combination of treatments, such as medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, may be necessary. It’s essential to communicate any side effects, including suicidal thoughts, to your healthcare provider when starting a new treatment. Additionally, continuing treatment even after feeling better can help prevent the return of the disorder.

Anhedonia treatment therapy, medication, and self-care

Top 8 Treatments for anhedonia

Finding anhedonia treatment can help improve an individual’s overall well-being and happiness. We will look at the most effective treatments for anhedonia and how you can benefit from them.

Common treatments for anhedonia include:

  1. Medication: Antidepressant medication, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help to reduce symptoms. SSRIs regulate the brain’s serotonin levels, which promotes better moods and emotional stability. Studies have shown that other medications that boost dopamine and norepinephrine help alleviate symptoms. However, it’s essential to consult your doctor before taking any medication.
  2. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is an effective treatment. It helps identify and address the underlying thoughts and emotions contributing to the condition. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can benefit patients by focusing on changing negative thought patterns and beliefs. Additionally, psychotherapy helps you to develop effective coping strategies, which can help you manage stress and other negative emotions.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Incorporating healthy habits into daily routines can positively impact mood and overall well-being. Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and reducing stress can help improve mood and potentially alleviate symptoms.
  4. Social support: Seeking support from friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional support and help counter feelings of isolation. Engaging in social activities, even if it feels challenging initially, can potentially promote feelings of connection and enjoyment.
  5. Mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation and self-care activities, such as engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, or practicing relaxation techniques, can enhance self-awareness and promote a sense of pleasure and enjoyment.
  6. Exercise: Exercise can do wonders for improving an individual’s mood. Regular physical activity boosts feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins and serotonin. This leads to increased energy levels, reduced stress, and an overall improvement in an individual’s well-being. Even a 30-minute walk daily can significantly affect an individual’s mood and emotional state.
  7. Self-care: Taking care of yourself with healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and practicing mindfulness, can contribute to an overall improvement in your mood. Self-care is essential for individuals because it promotes overall well-being, which can then lead to more positive feelings.
  8. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): TMS therapy is a non-invasive procedure that stimulates the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. Studies have shown that it effectively treats depression and anhedonia by increasing activity in the brain’s pleasure center. TMS therapy also works as a mood regulator, making it a valuable solution for people struggling with this condition.

Treating at home can include simple tasks like:

  • A simple stroll.
  • Yoga session.

These physical activities can boost your happiness by releasing dopamine and activating your brain’s pleasure center.

The disorder can significantly impact an individual’s happiness levels and overall quality of life. However, the good news is that several effective treatments are available, from medication to psychotherapy, TMS therapy, exercise, and self-care. By investing in these treatments and adopting healthy habits, anyone can find joy in life again. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication or starting any treatment. Remember, this disorder can be treated, and you can regain control of your emotional state.

Anhedonia medication brands table

Medication can be one component of the treatment approach, particularly when associated with depression or other mental health disorders. The specific medication prescribed will depend on the underlying condition causing the illness.

For depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are commonly prescribed antidepressant medications. These medications can help improve the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can, in turn, alleviate depressive symptoms.

In cases where the disorder is associated with other mental health conditions, medication options may vary. Antipsychotic medications sometimes treat secondary disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Other drugs, such as mood stabilizers or anxiolytics, may also be prescribed based on the specific symptoms and diagnosis.

Top 6 Treatment Medications Chart

Here’s a table of medication prescription brands, with their recommended dose, treatment purpose, and duration.

Medication BrandDoseTreatment PurposeDuration
Prozac (Fluoxetine)Starting dose: 20 mgDepression, AnhedoniaSeveral weeks to several months
Zoloft (Sertraline)Starting dose: 50 mgDepression, AnhedoniaSeveral weeks to several months
Cymbalta (Duloxetine)Starting dose: 30 mgDepression, AnhedoniaSeveral weeks to several months
Abilify (Aripiprazole)Dose: 10-30 mgAnhedonia associated with bipolar disorder, schizophreniaAs prescribed by the healthcare provider
Wellbutrin (Bupropion)Dose: 150-300 mgDepression, AnhedoniaSeveral weeks to several months
Lamictal (Lamotrigine)Dose: As prescribed by healthcare providerBipolar disorder, AnhedoniaAs prescribed by a healthcare provider
The specific medication, dose, treatment duration, and purpose should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Medication is often combined with other therapeutic interventions, such as psychotherapy, counseling, or lifestyle changes, to treat comprehensively. A healthcare provider or psychiatrist typically chooses to prescribe medication and the selection of a specific drug based on an individual’s particular circumstances and needs.

If you are suffering, get guidance via We Level Up’s qualified healthcare professionals. They evaluate your symptoms and determine the appropriate treatment, including the potential use of medication if warranted.


Anhedonia causes

There are various potential causes of anhedonia, and it can be associated with several medical, psychological, and environmental factors.

The causes of this disorder vary from person to person, and often, multiple factors contribute to its development. If you or someone you know is experiencing anhedonia, call the We Level Up Mental Health Center for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment options.

What causes anhedonia?

Some common causes include:

  1. Depression: Anhedonia is a prominent symptom of major depressive disorder. The neurochemical imbalances associated with depression can affect the brain circuits related to experiencing pleasure.
  2. Other mental health disorders: It can occur in other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders.
  3. Chronic stress: Prolonged exposure to chronic stress can disrupt brain function and neurotransmitter balance, diminishing the capacity to experience pleasure.
  4. Physical health conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and certain hormonal imbalances, can contribute to anhedonia.
  5. Medications: Certain medications, particularly some antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, may have anhedonia as a side effect.
  6. Substance abuse: The excessive use of substances like alcohol or drugs can affect the brain’s reward system, leading to anhedonia.
  7. Genetics and biology: Some genetic and biological components may predispose some individuals to anhedonia.

The disorder is closely linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. It is common among individuals struggling with a mental health disorder and can be a symptom of depression. It can also be seen in those recovering from traumatic experiences or going through emotional times.

The 2 Types

Generally speaking, there are two types of anhedonia. physical and social anhedonia. Social anhedonia involves the inability to enjoy activities and interactions with other people.

On the other hand, physical symptoms involve the loss of pleasure or enjoyment in activities or experiences that do not include other people or relationships.

The two main types of this condition are illustrated below with examples:

  • Social Anhedonia – You don’t want to spend time with other people.
  • Physical Anhedonia – You don’t enjoy physical sensations. For instance, an embrace does not stimulate you; you feel empty with it.  Your favorite dishes have a bland flavor. Even sex can become dull with sexual anhedonia.

Social anhedonia can manifest as difficulty forming attachments to others, avoiding or being anxious in social situations, a strong preference for being alone, and difficulty expressing emotions. Additionally, people experiencing social anhedonia may find it challenging to appreciate jokes or to be entertained by activities that involve other people. Physical symptoms involves difficulty experiencing pleasure or enjoyment from activities such as eating, exercise, hobbies, or sexual activity.

What Does It Feel Like?

It can feel like a sense of emptiness and the absence of emotions. It’s as if a dark cloud is following you, blocking any trace of sunlight. This feeling may manifest in:

  • Numbness.
  • Boredom.
  • Apathy.
  • Negativity.
  • Disrupt your sleep patterns.
  • Bleak mood.
  • Lack of ability to tackle daily tasks.

Additionally, it can affect your sex drive. You may have difficulty connecting with others, feeling like you have nothing to offer regarding love, affection, or appreciation. This can result in feelings of social isolation or even social anxiety disorder.

Anhedonia Symptoms

People with physical symptoms may find that activity that once brought pleasure no longer generates positive feelings or emotions. They may struggle to feel motivated to engage in activities they once enjoyed and can often feel overwhelmed when thinking about engaging in them. They may also have difficulty understanding or appreciating things that might otherwise be enjoyable for other people. This can considerably impact the person’s well-being and ability to form relationships with others.

Anhedonia symptoms include the following:

  • Social withdrawal
  • “Avolition Anhedonia” or a diminished pleasure emanating from daily activities
  • A lack of relationships or a withdrawal from previous relationships
  • Less of an interest in previous hobbies
  • “Orgasmic Anhedonia” or a loss of libido or a lack of interest in physical intimacy

Symptoms of social anhedonia may include:

  • Very few or no relationships at all
  • Complete withdrawal from existing social relationships
  • A diminished capability to express emotions
  • Fake emotions in social situations (e.g., pretending to be happy at a celebration)
  • Preference for being alone

Physical symptoms may include:

  • A complete loss of libido (ejaculatory anhedonia) or interest in sexual interactions
  • Frequent illness or other physical health issues

Anhedonia Depression

Physical anhedonia is closely related to depression. Individuals with severe symptoms may experience difficulty in social situations, feelings of worthlessness, and a depressed mood lasting for several weeks. In these cases, it is imperative to seek professional help to seek help in dealing with the condition. Without the support of a professional, it may become more challenging to treat moving forward.

Physical symptoms can be challenging to manage when the individual experiences other forms of mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. In these cases, the individual must seek help from a mental health professional to effectively manage the condition.

Anhedonia Treatments

Treatments for anhedonia typically include a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is commonly used to help individuals recognize and modify the negative thoughts and behaviors associated with it. Drugs such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers may also be recommended. Finally, engaging in enjoyable activities, practicing relaxation techniques, and increasing physical activity can help manage the disease.

How to cope with anhedonia?

Even though this condition may indicate a severe mental health disorder, it’s crucial to avoid self-diagnosis.

Recognizing that the disorder is a common issue and can be treated with professional help is essential. Self-help strategies, such as talking to a friend or maintaining an active lifestyle, can also be necessary for managing symptoms. Additionally, since it can be a symptom of an underlying mental health issue, it’s vital to seek professional help if symptoms persist.

Anhedonia Cure

There’s no known way to prevent the disorder. But, treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medications to cure the condition. Regardless of the person’s treatment choice, the individual must seek professional help to ensure proper condition management.

Does it go away?

The disorder can go away or improve under the supervision of a healthcare provider and a mental health professional. It doesn’t go away on its own. You should start feeling better once you begin treatment. The disorder may come back after treatment. You can reduce your risk of the symptom recurring by following your healthcare provider’s treatment plan, even if you feel better.

Anhedonia Test

This disorder is a complex mental health condition. Diagnosing can be challenging as its symptoms often overlap with other mental health problems. Anhedonia Test can help you understand the factors contributing to your lack of enjoyment in activities and subsequently diagnose the symptoms. There are various Anhedonia Tests available online, most of which are free.

The Anhedonia Test can be done online and is generally a screening tool for mental health professionals. Anhedonia Test usually consists of questions that give you an idea about your level of emotional enjoyment, including activities you’re passionate about. One example of a question in an Anhedonia Test can be, “How often do you feel excited about something?”. The answer options typically range from “Never” to “Very Often.” Based on your answers, the test indicates your level of Anhedonia.

Causes Of Anhedonia

Unfortunately, what causes this condition explicitly is unknown. Studies show this condition could be intimately related to some mental functions. Researchers discovered that “depression anhedonia” frequently involves the area of the brain that manages motivation, anticipation, decision-making, and rewards. [3]

They postulated that individuals living with this condition might be incapable of motivating themselves and anticipating positive outcomes. They also struggle to estimate the work necessary for a particular reward appropriately. This condition is connected to several mental health conditions. It is regarded as one of the main characteristics of depression. Moreover, physical and social anhedonia are frequently reported by those with schizophrenia.

This condition has been linked to bipolar disorder depression, according to research. Doctors use the degree of anhedonia to measure the severity of a patient’s bipolar illness. Furthermore, symptoms like anhedonia may happen when using recreational drugs or going through withdrawal. Additionally, studies have shown that those with this condition may be more inclined to begin using recreational substances. They might also be more prone to develop addictions. [4]

What is Anhedonia treatment like? When looking for the answers to how to help anhedonia, we sometimes ignore that we might have other mental health problems that need immediate treatment. therapy and medications are the most effective treatments. But, treatment usually includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help the individual identify and adjust unhelpful thoughts or behaviors, or interpersonal therapy to help the individual learn how to better interact with others. Medications may include antidepressants or mood stabilizers.
What is Anhedonia treatment like? When looking for the answers to how to help anhedonia, we sometimes ignore that we might have other mental health problems that need immediate treatment. therapy and medications are the most effective treatments. But, treatment usually includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help the individual identify and adjust unhelpful thoughts or behaviors or interpersonal therapy to help the individual learn how to better interact with others. Medications may include antidepressants or mood stabilizers.

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Risk Factors

Risk factors include a family history of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Females are at a heightened risk of suffering from this condition. Other risk factors include:

  • Eating disorders
  • A history of abuse or neglect
  • Recent trauma and heightened stress
  • Major illnesses

If you have been diagnosed with depression or schizophrenia, there is an increased risk of developing this condition. Living with PTSD from a traumatic event or events may put you at risk of this condition. [5]

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Overlap with other mental health problems

Anhedonia can occur in various mental health conditions, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. However, recognizing the presence of the disorder is a crucial step in getting proper treatment. Talking to a qualified mental health professional is essential if you are experiencing a lack of pleasure. The We Level Up Mental health Centers can conduct a thorough evaluation and offer a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. Remember, with proper treatment, you can recover and learn to experience pleasure once again.

Anhedonia vs Avolition

  • “Affective flattening alogia avolition and anhedonia are all negative symptoms of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.” The main difference between avolition and anhedonia is that avolition is a total lack of motivation, making it hard to get anything done. In comparison, this condition refers to losing the ability to feel pleasure.

Apathy vs Anhedonia

  • To differentiate the difference between anhedonia vs apathy. First, this condition is distinct from apathy. While apathy refers to a lack of motivation or energy investment on many levels, this condition is the lack of a specific feeling: pleasure. It can, however, be a sign of apathy.
Anhedonia abolition can be a negative symptom of a more severe mental condition.
Anhedonia abolition can be a negative symptom of a more severe mental condition.

Anhedonia ADHD

  • ADHD can cause intense sadness, loneliness, and a lack of interest in life activities. People with ADHD and anhedonia may be more likely than others to develop depression and anxiety. One reason it is crucial to seek ADHD and anhedonia treatments is that therapy may help reduce the risk of complications, such as depression.

Anhedonia Depression

  • Depression is also a severe mental illness. It causes persistent sadness, hopelessness, and the inability to find pleasure in anything. During episodes of depression, you may also have changes in sleep and how you eat, feel anxious or restless, and have difficulty concentrating. Depression can make you feel worthless and guilty and drain your energy.

Anhedonia Bipolar

  • This condition is a hallmark of depression and is highly prevalent among individuals with bipolar mood disorders. [6]

Anhedonia BPD

  • BPD is a disruptive, complex condition that often occurs along with other mental health disorders and anhedonia. Many people with BPD also have depression. The co-occurrence complicates each condition and can make symptoms worse.

Anhedonia PTSD

  • This condition is a common symptom following exposure to traumatic stress and a feature of the PTSD diagnosis. In depression research, this condition has been linked to deficits in reward functioning, reflected in behavioral and neural responses. [7]

Anhedonia Schizophrenia

  • This is a condition that wipes your ability to enjoy or have pleasure. This mental health condition is often associated with schizophrenia, which can negatively impact a person’s quality of life.
    • This condition can manifest in various ways, from physical to social apathy. This condition can look like behavior you may not immediately associate with this condition.
    • Schizophrenia is a mental health condition characterized by hallucinations, disordered thinking, delusions, and reduced social participation. Schizophrenia is a complex and typically lifelong condition, which is considered one of its negative symptoms.

What is Anhedonia? Video

From social withdrawal to a diminished interest in hobbies, anhedonia can impact various aspects of life. Physical symptoms may include a loss of libido or frequent physical health issues.

While the exact cause is unknown, studies suggest a connection to the brain’s areas managing motivation, decision-making, and rewards. It’s associated with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use.

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Anhedonia Fact Sheet

Also Known As Lack Of Pleasure

Anhedonia pronunciation (an·hee·dow·nee·uh)

Anhedonia means losing interest in previously pleasurable activities due to a mental disorder or physical illness. It can also refer to difficulty experiencing pleasure from activities typically considered enjoyable, such as eating or spending time with friends. It can feel like you are emotionless. It’s a typical symptom of numerous mental health disorders like depression. Treatment can help recover interest in life’s activities, like being around family & friends or listening to music. It is commonly associated with depression but can also be related to other mental health issues, such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Moreover, it is a psychological condition stemming from depression that can also be a symptom of other mental health issues such as schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder.

It can also be caused by various sources, ranging from physical illnesses or medications to traumatic experiences to genetic predispositions. People experiencing this disorder often feel that they cannot enjoy anything and that genuine pleasure is out of reach. They may have difficulty engaging in activities that used to bring them joy or talking about topics that used to be interesting. Leading to a loss of motivation, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.

Seek Immediate Assistance If You:

  • Have suicidal ideas.
  • May cause injury to oneself or others.


An inability to enjoy activities that one would generally find delightful.

Signs & Symptoms

It is the incapacity to experience joy. It’s a typical sign of sadness and other mental health conditions. Most individuals are aware of what pleasure is.

Set Up A Consultation With A Physician If You:

  • Experiencing depressive symptoms.

Common Causes

Factors other than underlying sickness can contribute to a lack of pleasure. Overwork, a recent tragedy, money issues, unfavorable weather, and monotonous activities are a few examples.

It is a prevalent symptom of depressive disorders, and substance use disorders are the lack of the ability to experience pleasure. It might be brought on by a decline in activity in the ventral striatum, a part of the brain associated with motivation and rewards.

As soon as possible, speak with your doctor or a mental health professional if you are experiencing this condition.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 5.3 million American adults suffer from the disorder. Additionally, research from the World Health Organization finds that an estimated 250 million people worldwide suffer from depression, a potential symptom of this condition.

Additionally, about 70% of individuals with severe depressive conditions experience this condition. A person experiencing this condition can be diagnosed with depression even if they don’t have a low or depressed mood because it is a vital sign of major depressive disorder.

70% of Depressed

About 70% of individuals with serious depressive illnesses experience this condition.

Source: NIMH

1 Billion

With 1 billion individuals affected annually, or 16% to 19% of the world’s population, mental diseases are a significant source of disability.

Source: NIH

1 In 5

In any given year, 1 in 5 Americans will have a mental disease.

Source: CDC

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Impact on Relationships

This condition in relationships can be harmful. When someone with this condition can’t tell another person they care about or enjoy spending time with them, the relationship can be damaged. For romantic relationships, the loss of libido, a common physical symptom, will significantly affect the couple. For instance, “sexual anhedonia male” is the experience of normal ejaculation without pleasure or orgasm.

Ejaculatory anhedonia causes may be associated with depression, fatigue, physical illness, hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), hypogonadism, hyperprolactinemia, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or during or after cessation of SSRI antidepressants or antipsychotics. Ejaculatory anhedonia treatment, also known as sexual anhedonia treatment, can include Dopamine agonists (drugs that increase dopamine), oxytocin, phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, and alpha-2 receptor blockers like yohimbine hydrochloride are medications that may help with orgasm function.

Social Anhedonia

Note that social anhedonia differs from social anxiety. It’s not that you have fear associated with social situations, but rather that you fail to feel any joy or excitement around spending time with others. Symptoms or warning signs of social anhedonia include:

  • Disinterest in spending time with friends or family
  • Lack of interest in participating in social activities or groups that you once loved
  • Shrinking of your social world because it’s stopped giving you joy
  • Lack of emotion and emotional expression, which can result in a flat affect or in putting on fake emotions for the sake of others
  • Overall social withdrawal

According to the CDC, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and a significant contributor to the global disease burden. [8] One of the most common depressive anhedonia quotes says, “Everything else just kept picking and picking, hacking away. And nothing was interesting, nothing. The people were restrictive and careful, all alike. And I’ve got to live with these for the rest of my life, I thought.” ― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye.

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How Is Anhedonia Treated?

This condition, or loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, is characteristic of depression, some types of anxiety, as well as substance abuse, and schizophrenia. This condition predicts poor long-term outcomes, including suicide and poor treatment response.

The good news is that combining therapy and anhedonia treatment medications is usually the most effective treatment for anhedonia and depression. Anhedonia medication and supplements that alter how the brain processes rewards are beneficial to the symptoms. Moreover, some people also experience an improvement with lifestyle changes. For example, meditation, dietary changes, and better time management may help some people experience greater satisfaction.

Best Medication for Anhedonia

While selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the medications of the first choice for depression and anhedonia, other drugs are also available. Amphetamines such as Dexedrine act on dopamine and are particularly effective in people with chronic symptoms due to treatment-resistant depression.

ECT Treatment

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for patients with MDD. It effectively treats this condition, a core symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD) resulting from maladaptive reward processing. [9]

Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT for short, is a treatment that involves sending an electric current through your brain, causing a brief surge of electrical activity within your brain. The treatment aims to relieve the symptoms of some mental health problems, particularly when accompanied by detachment from reality (psychosis), a desire to commit suicide, or refusal to eat. It also helps improve treatment-resistant depression, a severe depression that doesn’t improve with medications or other treatments.

MDD Treatment

Overcoming MDD isn’t easy, but symptoms can be treated with medication and therapy.

  1. Medications

The most common medications used to treat people with MDD include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). In addition, some people may be prescribed tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), but these drugs aren’t used as extensively as once. These medications increase levels of certain brain chemicals that result in a decrease in depressive symptoms.

SSRIs are a type of antidepressant medication that people may take with MDD. Examples of SSRIs include:

  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)

SSRIs may cause headaches, nausea, and insomnia at first. However, these side effects usually go away after a short period.

SNRIs are another type of antidepressant medication that can treat people with MDD. Examples of SNRIs include:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)

Sometimes, TCAs might be a treatment method for people with MDD. Examples of TCAs include:

  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

The side effects of TCAs can sometimes be more severe than those from other antidepressants. TCAs may cause drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain. Carefully read the information provided by the pharmacy and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. The medication usually needs to be taken for a minimum of four to six weeks before symptoms begin to improve. Sometimes, it can take up to 12 weeks to improve symptoms.

If a medication doesn’t work, talk to your provider about switching to another drug. According to the National Institute of Mental Health [10] (NAMI), people who didn’t get better after taking their first antidepressant medication had a much better chance of improving when they tried another drug or a combination of treatments.

Even when symptoms begin to improve, you should continue taking your medication. It would be best to stop taking medication under the provider’s supervision who prescribed it. You may have to stop the drug gradually instead of all at once. Suddenly, stopping an antidepressant can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of MDD can also return if your exogenous and endogenous depression treatment is ended too soon.

Overcoming MDD isn’t easy, but symptoms can be treated with medication and therapy.
Overcoming MDD isn’t easy, but symptoms can be treated with medication and therapy.
  1. Therapy

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves meeting with a therapist regularly. This therapy can help you cope with your condition and related issues. The two main types of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). CBT can help you replace negative beliefs with healthy, positive ones. You can improve your brain’s response to negative situations by deliberately practicing positive thinking and limiting negative thoughts. IPT may help you work through troubling relationships contributing to your condition.

In most cases, a combination of medication and therapy effectively treats people with MDD.

3. Lifestyle Changes

Adjustments to your lifestyle and everyday activities can also help improve symptoms of endogenous depression. Even if the activities aren’t enjoyable, your body and mind will adapt over time. Here are some things to try:

  • How to treat anhedonia? Go outside and do something active, such as hiking or biking.
  • Participate in activities that you enjoyed before you became depressed.
  • Spend time with other people, including friends and loved ones.
  • Write in a journal.
  • How to deal with anhedonia effectively? Get at least six hours of sleep each night.
  • Maintain a healthy diet that consists of whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables.

Anhedonia Treatment at Home

How to fix anhedonia? This condition can be challenging to treat at home. In many cases, treatment starts with tools to help you manage the mental health issue likely causing the symptoms, such as depression and schizophrenia. The first step in your treatment should be seeking the help of a medical professional. A primary care professional should be your first choice to rule out a medical cause of your symptoms. If they don’t find any medical issues, they may recommend you see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health professional.

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How To Overcome Anhedonia?

Looking for effective ways how to get out of anhedonia? As a mental health treatment center, we understand that coping with anhedonia can be problematic, especially with your relationships and daily living. The We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. We Level Up FL offers a robust treatment and support system through our mental health treatments to help you recover. You can trust treatment backed by leading recovery specialists practicing evidence-based therapy. We Level Up FL Treatment Center offers intensive therapy under one roof. Dealing with mental health illness can be easier with comprehensive mental, body & spirit treatment.

Call us now for a free mental health assessment! In addition, for the substance abuse or dual diagnosis approach, our inpatient treatmentinpatient medical detox, and primary residential addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility. For more anhedonia treatment resources, call us about your symptoms, and we can help you determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.

The We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals to help you cope. We work as an integrated team providing mental health information and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

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[5] Frewen PA, Dozois DJ, Lanius RA. Assessment in psychological trauma: psychometric and neuroimaging perspectives. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2012;3. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v3i0.8587. Epub 2012 Jan 11. PMID: 22893841; PMCID: PMC3402136.

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[8] Depression – World Health Organization

[9] Cano M, Lee E, Worthley A, Ellard K, Barbour T, Soriano-Mas C, Camprodon JA. Electroconvulsive therapy effects and reward circuitry anatomy: A dimensional structural neuroimaging approach. J Affect Disord. 2022 Sep 15;313:243-250. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2022.06.062. Epub 2022 Jun 25. PMID: 35764228.

[10] InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Depression: How effective are antidepressants? [Updated 2020 Jun 18]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK361016/