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What is Anhedonia?

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Everyone has hobbies and interests. Some people may be more passionate about them than others. And, you might go through periods of time when you aren’t as “interested” in something as you once were. You might also go through changes when it comes to things you enjoy doing. Maybe you’re not as into going on out the weekends as you used to be. Or, maybe you’ve changed some of the activities that bring you joy.

But, what happens when the things you typically enjoy stop bringing you pleasure completely? You might be dealing with Anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure.

What Does Anhedonia Look Like?

People who are dealing with Anhedonia have an inability to experience pleasure from the things they once enjoyed. If you engage in an activity you used to love and you don’t feel anything while doing it, you could be struggling with this condition.

There are countless examples of Anhedonia that could be used to describe it. If you used to enjoy running every morning but no longer do, that could be a sign. If you typically enjoy playing music every day after work but can’t find joy in it anymore, that could be another tell-tale sign.

But, how can you tell Anhedonia from a loss of interest in a hobby? There are a few common symptoms that tend to go along with the condition, including:

  • Social withdrawal

  • Lack of relationships

  • Loss of libido

  • Loss of interest in hobbies you once enjoyed

Anhedonia can also present itself physically. Food might not taste as good as it once did. Physical touch, whether it’s something as simple as a hug or something as intimate as being with your partner, might not bring any more pleasure.

Some people with Anhedonia can feel “numb” to things, which is a scary and lonely place to be.

What Causes Anhedonia?

Typically, Anhedonia is linked to depression. People who have extreme depressive episodes are more likely to experience it. But, it can also be tied to other mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, or trauma.

It’s important to get a proper diagnosis when it comes to Anhedonia. If you’re worried you might have it, talking to your doctor is the best first step you can take. They will undoubtedly as a series of mental health questions. They can also rule out any underlying physical problems by checking your hormone levels and doing blood work because a loss of interest in certain things can stem from other conditions. Ruling those things out will allow a mental health professional to give you a better, more helpful diagnosis.

How Should You Treat Anhedonia?

After getting a proper diagnosis, Anhedonia is typically treated with talk therapy. Sharing your feelings with a therapist can help them get to the bottom of why you’re struggling to find enjoyment.

A therapist may also link your Anhedonia with other mental health conditions, including depression. Understanding where it comes from and how it’s connected to your mental well-being will make a big difference in your ability to move forward.

Once you and your therapist know what might be causing your Anhedonia, you can develop the coping mechanisms and skills needed to overcome it.

The good news? This is a fairly common condition. Even if you’ve never heard of it before, it’s important to understand that you aren’t alone. More importantly, understand that you don’t have to live this way forever. It’s not always easy to admit you’re struggling or to show vulnerability. But, by working with a therapist, you can overcome your lack of enjoyment and start to appreciate the things you used to love once more.

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