Have you ever felt a loss of interest in things that were previously pleasing to you? This can indicate that you are experiencing anhedonia. This condition can indicate symptoms of major depressive disorder or other mental disorders. Anhedonia can also be caused by certain medical conditions. Find out more about anhedonia through this article!
What is Anhedonia?
Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure or pleasure. In someone with anhedonia, things that previously brought pleasure no longer feel pleasant when done. Anhedonia can be a symptom of major depression or other symptoms of health problems.
In general, anhedonia is divided into two main types, namely:
- Social Anhedonia, where one does not want to spend time with others.
- Physical-Anhedonia, where one does not enjoy physical sensations such as favorite foods that turn bland, hugs that do not provide comfort, and lose their attraction to sex.
This condition can affect a person’s social relationships with family members or friends. You no longer have the motivation to socialize or spend time with other people. You also have no interest in participating in various events because you feel that it is not useful.
A person who is experiencing anhedonia can also experience social anxiety so that it is difficult to meet other people, especially new people. This condition can also affect romantic relationships. Someone with anhedonia cannot express love or express the pleasure of spending time with others because they do not have these feelings.
Causes of Anhedonia
Anhedonia is closely related to depression, but not everyone with anhedonia is depressed. On the other hand, not all people who experience depression also experience symptoms of this one. The use of drugs to treat depression such as antidepressants and antipsychotics used to treat depression is thought to cause anhedonia.
Anhedonia can be associated with other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Anhedonia can also be experienced by someone with certain physical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and coronary artery disease.
Scientists suspect that the cause of anhedonia is a change in brain activity. Someone with anhedonia has a problem with the brain in terms of producing and responding to dopamine, which is a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure.
Risk factors for anhedonia
There are several factors that can cause a person a higher risk of experiencing anhedonia. These risk factors include:
- Has a history of being harassed or neglected
- Experienced a recent traumatic or stressful event
- Eating Disorders
- Having a disease that affects the quality of life
- Have a serious illness
- Female sex.
The symptoms of anhedonia can vary from person to person. Common anhedonia symptoms include:
- Withdraw from social life.
- Withdraw from previous relationships.
- Negative feelings towards yourself and others.
- Less verbal and non-verbal expressions due to reduced emotional ability.
- Difficulty adjusting to social situations.
- Loss of lobido and interest in physical intimacy
- Tends to show false emotions, like pretending to be happy in a relationship
- Persistent physical illness or frequent illness.
The doctor will interview the patient and ask about the symptoms they are experiencing and about the patient’s mood in general. You can make a list of the symptoms you are experiencing before consulting a doctor. You can mention events where you feel you have lost your pleasure.
Doctors need clarity about the symptoms experienced by patients to be able to make the diagnosis. After that, your doctor may also do a physical examination to determine whether you have physical problems.
Other tests that might be done are like a blood test to find out whether there is a vitamin deficiency or thyroid problem that might be related to your mood disorders.
Generally, anhedonia is a symptom of a mental disorder or certain physical disorders. Therefore, doctors may conduct other examinations according to the conditions that are suspected to underlie anhedonia.
Anhedonia’s treatment can be a challenge. The actions chosen must be adapted to the underlying cause of the anhedonia itself. For example, if anhedonia is caused by depression, surely treatment for depression must be done to overcome this condition.
First of all you can consult with a medical professional to find out whether there is a medical condition that underlies anhedonia. If this medical cause is found, the doctor will recommend medication to treat the medical condition.
If no underlying medical condition is found, the doctor can recommend you to consult a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional.
After learning the mental condition that underlies anhedonia, your doctor will recommend treatment according to the mental condition you have. If anhedonia is confirmed to be a symptom of depression, possible treatments include:
- Medicines, doctors can prescribe antidepressants or other types of drug classes. Use the medication according to the recommended dosage to get maximum treatment results and reduce the risk of side effects.
- Electroconvulsive therapy, therapy for mental disorders using electricity flowed into the body. This treatment is believed to be one of the most effective treatments for dealing with depression.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation, therapy uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells. This therapy uses an electric current but is smaller than electroconvulsive. This therapy is given to severely depressed patients who do not respond to the use of drugs.
- Vagus nerve stimulation, performed by implanting a tool similar to a pacemaker in the chest to stimulate the vagus nerve.