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Anhedonic Depression: A Misunderstood Mental Illness

anhedonic depression

Anhedonic depression is a mental illness that is often misunderstood. This type of depression is characterized by an inability to feel pleasure in activities that used to bring happiness. People who suffer from this illness can feel isolated and alone because they don’t understand what is wrong with them. In this blog post, we will discuss anhedonic depression in more detail, and provide information on how to get help if you are suffering from this condition.

What Is Anhedonic Depression?

what is anhedonic depression

Anhedonic depression is a type of major depressive disorder and is characterized by an inability to feel pleasure in activities that used to bring happiness. This can include things like hobbies, social activities, and even sex. People with anhedonic depression often withdraw from their usual activities and interests and may start to isolate themselves. This is because they don’t understand what is wrong with them, and may feel like nobody else can relate to their experience.

Types Of Anhedonic Depression

types

There are two types of anhedonic depression:

  • Primary anhedonic depression: It is a condition where the person has always had trouble experiencing pleasure. This may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, or it may be due to genetic factors.
  • Secondary anhedonic depression: It is a condition that develops after a major life event, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a job loss. This type of anhedonic depression is often more difficult to treat because the person may have underlying issues that need to be addressed before they can begin to feel better.

The anhedonic condition can also affect in two ways:

  • Physical anhedonia: where the person has a reduced ability to experience pleasure from physical activities or sensations. This may include things like not being able to enjoy the taste of food, or not being able to feel pleasure from physical touch. This may lead to a loss of interest in sex or may make the person feel disconnected from their own body.
  • Social anhedonia: where the person has a reduced ability to experience pleasure from social interactions. This may include things like not being able to enjoy time spent with friends or family, or not being able to feel pleasure from sexual activity. This may lead to the person feeling isolated and alone.

These feelings of numbness may or may not be situational depending on the person. For some, the feelings may come and go depending on their circumstances, while for others, the feelings may be constant. Regardless of how often the feelings occur, they can be very debilitating and make it difficult to lead a normal life.

How Is It Different?

How is it different?

Anhedonic depression is often confused with regular depression, but there are some key differences between the two. there are certain differences such as:

  • Regular depression is characterized by a general feeling of sadness and despair, while anhedonic depression is characterized by an inability to experience pleasure.
  • Anhedonic depression can cause people to withdraw from their usual activities and interests, while regular depression may not.
  • Anhedonia may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, while regular depression may not.
  • Anhedonic depression is often more difficult to treat than regular depression.

This condition is often misunderstood as it does not exhibit the traditional symptoms of depression. This can make it difficult for people to seek help, as they may not realize that they are suffering from a mental illness.

Causes

causes

The exact cause of anhedonic depression is unknown. Certain things may increase your risk for developing anhedonic depression. These include:

  • Chemical imbalance: An imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, may play a role in it’s development.
  • Genetic factors: Anhedonic depression may run in families, which suggests that there may be a genetic component to the condition.
  • Stressful life events: Major life changes or trauma can trigger anhedonic depression. This is more likely to occur in people who have a history of depression or other mental health disorders.
  • A history of abuse or trauma: This can lead to changes in the brain that make it difficult to experience pleasure.
  • Environmental factor: People who live in poverty or who have a history of abuse or neglect may be at increased risk for anhedonic depression.

Though, the exact cause of anhedonic depression is unknown. Several risk factors that have been listed above contribute to the development of Anhedonic disorder.

Symptoms

symptoms

Symptoms of anhedonic depression can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Withdrawal: People with This condition often withdraw from their usual activities and interests. This is because they don’t understand what is wrong with them, and may feel like nobody else can relate to their experience.
  • Loss of interest: People with This type of depression often lose interest in things that used to bring them happiness. They may not enjoy hobbies or social activities like they used to. They may also lose interest in sex.
  • Fatigue: People with This condition often feel tired and run down. This can make it difficult to do everyday activities.
  • Sleep problems: Anhedonic depression can cause sleep problems, such as insomnia or hypersomnia.
  • Changes in appetite: People with anhedonic depression may have a change in appetite. They may lose weight or gain weight.
  • Anhedonia: The main symptom of anhedonic depression is anhedonia, which is the inability to experience pleasure. This can make everyday activities feel like a chore.

People might not exhibit all of the symptoms or they might confuse them with regular depression. It is important to seek professional help in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Effects

If left untreated, anhedonic depression can have a significant impact on your life. It can lead to:

  • Increased risk of suicide: Anhedonic depression can increase your risk of suicide. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional immediately.
  • Isolation: Anhedonic depression can cause you to withdraw from your friends and family. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Decreased productivity: Anhedonic depression can make concentrating and getting things done difficult. This can lead to decreased productivity at work or school.
  • Low metabolism: This mental illness also causes low energy levels and motivation, which can lead to a decrease in metabolism.
  • Financial problems: Anhedonic depression can make it difficult to hold down a job or keep up with bills. This can lead to financial problems.
  • Self-harm: People with anhedonic depression may turn to self-harm as a way to cope with their symptoms. This can include cutting, burning, or other forms of self-injury.
  • Substance Abuse: People with anhedonic depression may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with their symptoms. This can lead to addiction and other problems.
  • Occupational Problems: Anhedonic depression can make it difficult to maintain a job as you might have no motivation to work or be productive. This can lead to occupational problems.
  • Relationship Problems: Anhedonic depression can make it difficult to maintain healthy relationships. This is because you might withdraw from your loved ones or have difficulty experiencing pleasure.

Hence, Anhedonic depression can have a significant impact on your life if it goes untreated. It is important to seek help from a mental health professional if you think you may be suffering from anhedonic depression.

Treatment

There are several ways you can help yourself or ask for professional help. several new treatments are available.

Self-Help

self help

You can do several things to help yourself if you think you may be suffering from anhedonic depression.

  • Educate yourself: Learning about anhedonic depression can help you understand what you are going through. It can also help you realize that you are not alone.
  • Reach out to others: Connecting with others who have anhedonic depression can help you feel less alone. There are several online support groups available.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help improve your mood and increase your energy levels. It is important to find an activity that you enjoy so that you will be more likely to stick with it.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can help improve your mood and energy levels. It is important to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for overall health. It can also help improve your mood and energy levels.
  • Reduce stress: Reducing stress can help improve your mood and make it easier to cope with anhedonic depression. There are several stress-reduction techniques you can try, such as yoga or meditation.

Therefore, a change in lifestyle could prove to be effective in treating mild anhedonic depression.

Professional-Help

Professional help

If you are struggling to cope with anhedonic depression, there are several professional treatments available.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy can help you change the negative thought patterns that contribute to anhedonic depression.
  • Interpersonal therapy: This type of therapy can help improve your relationships. It can also help you learn how to communicate better.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: This type of therapy can help you understand the root causes of your anhedonic depression.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): This treatment is typically used as a last resort. The patient is put under general anesthesia and electrodes are placed on the scalp. A small electrical current is then passed through the brain, which can help to improve mood by interfering with brain chemistry.

Therefore, It is a serious mental illness that can have a significant impact on your life. If you think you may be suffering from this condition, talk to a mental health professional or your friends to start your journey of recovery.

Medication

Medications are proven to be most effective in treatment of depression. Some common medications are:

  • Melatonergic agents: These medications can help to improve sleep. For example, Agomelatine.
  • Monoaminergic agents: These medications can help to improve mood and energy levels. For example, moclobemide, clomipramine, bupropion, venlafaxine, fluoxetine, amitifadine and levomilnacipran, and sertraline.
  • Glutamatergic agents: These medications can help to improve cognitive function. For example, ketamine.
  • Stimulants: These medications can help to increase energy levels and motivation. For example, methylphenidate.
  • Psychedelics: These medications can help to improve mood and increase creativity. For example, psilocybin.
  • Atypical antipsychotics: These medications can help to improve symptoms of anhedonic depression. For example, aripiprazole, quetiapine, and olanzapine.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These medications can help to improve mood and energy levels. For example, duloxetine, and desvenlafaxine.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These medications can help to improve mood. For example, fluoxetine, and sertraline.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: These medications can help to improve mood and energy levels. For example, amitriptyline, and imipramine.

Most of these medications have proved effective in treating the symptoms of this type of depression. A combination of different types of medications or medication and therapy is much more effective in the treatment of anhedonic depression.

Experimental Procedures

Some experimental procedures are being studied for the treatment of this type of depression. These include:

  • Deep Brain Stimulation: This procedure involves implantation of electrodes in the brain. The electrodes deliver electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain that are thought to be involved in the regulation of mood.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: This procedure uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It is thought that this may help to improve mood by increasing neurotransmitter activity.
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation: This procedure involves implantation of a device that sends electrical impulses to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is thought to be involved in the regulation of mood.

If you think you may be suffering from this condition, it is important to seek professional help. If you are not sure where to start, you can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They will be able to provide you with information about the best treatments available and help you find the right therapist.

Conclusion

To summarize, It is a mental illness that is characterized by a lack of pleasure in activities that are usually pleasurable. It can also cause fatigue, low energy levels, and difficulty concentrating. It is often mistaken for other mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. However, it is important to seek professional help if you think you may be suffering from this condition. Treatment for anhedonic depression often includes medication and therapy. If you are ready to commit to treatment, you can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to find the right therapist for you.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, Therapy Mantra is here for you. We are the leading providers for online therapy and counseling. Our team of highly trained and experienced therapists can help you work through your depression. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You may also visit our website to book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app for more information.