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Anhedonia – Symptoms of Depression – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment – Zdrowie Wprost

Anhedonia - Symptoms of Depression - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - Zdrowie Wprost

Healthy people who do not suffer from mood disorders cannot imagine the difficulties that people with depression and other illnesses face that lead to a lack of enjoyment and joy in life. Many patients experience loneliness, which causes them to lead a seemingly normal life. Unfortunately, even sooner or later, untreated anhedonia begins to prevent normal functioning.

Transient states of mood disorders, called affective-depressive disorders, which may appear, for example, as a result of the change of seasons and lack of sufficient amount of sunlight, are a separate issue and require slight differentiation.

Anhedonia is a major symptom of depression. Her letter should prompt you to seek professional help and seek medical advice as quickly as possible. We often try to overcome depression and the lack of pleasure associated with it with willpower or over-the-counter medications and herbs, but this is impossible. Only properly selected pharmacological agents and treatments can achieve the expected results, improve the quality of life of the sick person and relieve anxiety and depression, which leads to a lack of happiness in life.

Anhedonia – What do you want to know about it?

The term “anhedonia” was introduced into psychiatry in 1896 by Théodore-Armand Ribot. He studied the symptoms and causes of depression. During his research, he noticed that in patients with symptoms of depression and other mental disorders, one of the first symptoms of the disease is a lack of feelings of joy and pleasure, which were previously provided by, for example, sequential emotions.

Interestingly, patients often had no reason to feel bad, because their lives seemed perfect. Such is the case today – depression is a disease of civilization that affects not only people with experience in life who, due to problems, lose confidence and joy in life, but also well-off people, successful in their professional and private lives, with the passions and interests that they used to give before their illness so much pleasure.

Anhedonia is a common symptom of early-onset depression, which indicates the need to seek professional help. However, patients try to hide their emotional state, which leads to serious problems and may make treatment difficult. If a sick person does not feel pleasure, loses interest in his hobbies, stops participating in social life, avoids people, suffers from a lack of motivation to act, does not feel positive emotions, then we can assume that he suffers from depression or other disorders whose symptoms are anhedonia. Before diagnosing depression, tests are required to rule out other conditions, such as neurological diseases.

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The term “anhedonia” was created by combining two Greek words – “an” – which means “without” and “hedone” – which means “pleasure”. Anhedonia is a condition that requires treatment in a psychiatric clinic and psychotherapy, as well as support from the patient’s environment. It is very important, but relatives of a person experiencing a lack of happiness in life should also see a specialist so that this does not unintentionally worsen the patient’s condition. Thanks to the comprehensive procedure, drug therapy and psychotherapy can achieve the expected effect in the long term. Symptoms of anhedonia must be distinguished from transient states of emotional distress and physical exhaustion, which often occur in people with work burnout. We should not look for symptoms of depression in temporarily refusing social gatherings if the person quitting continues to enjoy life and pursue a passion. On the other hand, disturbances in the perception of both positive and negative emotions, accompanied by gradual or sudden social isolation, are disturbing.

Causes of anhedonia

It is not fully known what causes anhedonia. Since it is an acute symptom of depression and appears in less severe cases of depression and other mood disorders, it is mainly caused by lifestyle. The fast pace of life, putting one’s ambitions before one’s physical and mental abilities, the constant pursuit of money, as well as the need to juggle different responsibilities, make more and more people suffer from depression and suffer from anxiety symptoms that are typical of various types of disorders on a neurotic basis.

Although the exact cause of anhedonia is not known, depressed moods, lack of feelings, and lack of happiness in life are often associated with fatigue and exhaustion as well as family problems. Depression is the main cause of anhedonia, but it can also be a symptom of mood disorders and other mental illnesses. Anhedonia can be caused, for example, by bipolar disorder, anxiety neurosis, and other psychiatric diseases. Interestingly, in some cases, anhedonia may be associated with metabolic disorders and severe nutritional deficiency related to vitamins and minerals important for the functioning of the nervous system.

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Anhedonia – Symptoms

The symptom of anhedonia is not a temporary lack of pleasure, for example from being in a hitherto favorite group of family and friends. Anhedonia is more than a temporary lack of joy in life, which is associated for example with family or professional problems. The person with anhedonia begins to have serious problems with feeling any emotions, approaches tasks and activities that previously gave him pleasure, approaches the cold, and does them spontaneously and without emotional interference. Active people with depressive mood disorders gradually withdraw from their current life. In this case, the symptoms of anhedonia are especially pronounced, because a person who has been energetic, full of life and pursuing his passion until now, completely changes the way he works.

The main symptom of anhedonia is the absence of both positive and negative emotions. A person with anhedonia does not enjoy work, success, private life, and hobbies. Lack of cheerfulness and depressed mood are the main symptoms of other diseases, so they always require examination of the patient by a psychiatrist.

The Sneath-Hamilton Plasure Scale (SHAPS) is used to diagnose anhedonia. This test can be done not only in a psychiatric or psychiatric clinic, but also in your home. Although it does not give a clear answer to the question of whether we suffer from anhedonia, its results may point in the direction of more diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Anhedonia – treatment

Treatment of anhedonia includes the use of, inter alia, serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin and norepinephrine, which are classified as antidepressants. Interestingly, anhedonia may be one effect of such antidepressant therapy, which is an important clinical problem in the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. It happens that the undesirable effects of antidepressants lead to anhedonia in the remission of the disease, that is, after the acute symptoms of depression have subsided. Treatment that aims only to reduce bothersome symptoms of anxiety and depressed mood may do more harm than good by depriving the patient of the desire for social contact and the ability to feel emotions. For this reason, treatments with antidepressants are often carried out, which reduces the risk of anhedonia caused by medication.

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Treatment for anhedonia also includes psychotherapy. From the patient’s point of view, it is extremely important not only for the success of drug therapy. Properly selected psychotherapy allows to detect and eliminate the causative factor of the symptoms of anhedonia, which increases the chance of a full return to normal functioning.

Treatment of anhedonia is difficult and its success depends on an example. From accurate diagnosis, to the appropriate selection of pharmaceutical preparations, because not all drugs currently used are effective for every patient, the cooperation between the patient and the psychotherapist, as well as the support that the patient receives from the people around him.


Anhedonia is a condition that manifests itself in a lack of joy in life and a lack of pleasure that has so far resulted from, for example, spending time with family and friends, fulfilling dreams and developing feelings and interests. Anhedonia is a common symptom of mental disorders, but it also occurs as a result of treatment aimed at reducing anxiety and depressed mood. Then we deal with drug-induced anhedonia, which appears during the remission of the treated disease.

Anhedonia is one of the symptoms associated with depression. It can be identified using, among other things, the SHAPS pleasure scale. Importantly, anhedonia is not manifested by the temporary loss of joy in life and the persistent manifestation of a tendency, for example, to self-isolation and surrender from maintaining social ties without emotional disturbances. Anhedonia is a typical symptom of focal depression, but its diagnosis must take into account an accurate diagnosis, thanks to which, for example, neurotic disorders and other diseases may cause a lack of joy in life and a loss of the ability to feel pleasure, as well as to feel and display driven. Positive feelings.

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