the reason why you may feel more depressed and unhappy

anhedonia is a word that describes the problem that some people face when they cannot enjoy pleasures. It comes from the Greek still– “absence” and hedon “pleasure”, and it is about this, about don’t feel hedonisticenjoy or lack of satisfaction and pleasure in all aspects of life. A person suffering from anhedonia cannot enjoy good food, a good book, a walk or a vacation… Social or sexual relationships also do not bring you any joy.. This is a problem that can appear gradually and may be related to mental health issues such as bipolar disorder or depression. We tell you what it is, why it occurs and what treatment.

– Is it hard for you to feel or do you feel emotional anesthesia? maybe depression

What is anhedonia?

As we have already mentioned, anhedonia is the permanent loss of the ability to experience pleasure. This phenomenon does not occur suddenly, but develops gradually. gradually, a person distances himself from his usual interests and leaves behind the motives that used to move him in everyday life.

Thus, a vicious circle is created, a feedback process from which it is difficult to get out without outside help, warns psychologist Pilar Conde, medical director of Clínicas Origen. Lack of desire, for example, to communicate with family and friends, makes a person isolate. This isolation, in turn, contributes to their bad mood, the feeling of loneliness, despondency and helplessness that is characteristic of some depressive episodes.

Anhedonia itself is not a disease. Rather, “this a symptom that may also be associated with other diagnoses such as bipolar disorder and other serious mental conditions.” In the same way, it can manifest itself in situations anxiety and grief processes. This phenomenon does not distinguish between ages, since it can occur at any stage of life, affecting both children and adolescents, in whom anhedonia usually manifests itself along with signs and manifestations of irritability.

What are the causes of anhedonia?

There are several reasons that can cause this disorder: the physical or biological part, as a result of a deficiency in the dopaminergic system (dopamine is a hormone of pleasure). On the other hand, there is also associated with mental illness such as schizophrenia, as well as pathologies such as substance dependence. “In both cases, there is a clear annulment of the pleasure of everything,” explains psychologist Juvenal Ornelas of MundoPsicólogos.

how to add psychologist Pilar Conde from Clínicas OrigenMoreover, in a psychological context, the lack of experimentation with pleasure is exacerbated by the “loss of interest and satisfaction in activities that we enjoyed and brought us personal benefit.”

There are different degrees to which this can be observed. maybe one lack of sexual desire or lack of satisfaction in general. It can be confused with depressive symptoms, but in this case, physical tests should be done.

– Personality test: Do you suffer from alexithymia or lack of feelings?

Is it a disorder or a personality trait?

“It’s a disorder, not a personality trait,” says Ornelas. It may appear after you have lived your usual time. For example, a person who has been using drugs for some time may end up producing a picture of complete lack of enjoyment from what they are doing. As well as if there was a loss of pleasure in interpersonal relationships.

As we have said, this may also be due to biological factors related to dopamine or deep depression caused by drugs or schizophrenia.

In fact, people who suffer from depression or a major anxiety disorder, drug problems, or schizophrenia are most likely to suffer from anhedonia. “But it’s not something that’s common in the rest of the population, like being shy, introversion or coldness. Therefore, it is not a personality trait,” says Juvenal Ornelas.

– Characteristics and traits of people with antisocial disorder.

How is anhedonia diagnosed?

Health professionals have a variety of tools at their disposal to evaluate people’s mental health. These tools include SHAPS scale and MADRS scale, which can be used to assess the degree of anhedonia in humans. It is important to note that these questionnaires are not enough to make a diagnosis. This should be done by the doctor, taking into account more of the characteristics of the patient.

SHAPS scale, which means Snight-Hamilton anhedonia scale it is used to measure anhedonia, which is the inability to experience pleasure or interest in a rewarding activity. This scale assesses aspects such as enjoying everyday activities such as watching television or listening to the radio, spending time with family and friends, enjoying hobbies, enjoying favorite food, beautiful scenery and small things. life.

On the other side, MADRS refers to the Montgomery-Osberg Depression Rating Test. a widely used tool to measure the severity of depression. One of the factors assessed by the MADRS scale is anhedonia along with other symptoms associated with depression. Anhedonia is one of the key indicators of depression, and its presence and severity can be assessed by this factor using the MADRS scale.

What are the consequences of suffering from anhedonia?

Anhedonia has a great impact on the quality of life and well-being of the person suffering from it. As the psychologist points out, first of all, anhedonia produces “Social isolation, total apathy socially and personally.” Also on a personal level, this disorder causes lack of desire to do something because no pleasure comes from any activity, project, etc. It can even affect nutrition. A person with anhedonia may also suffer from eating disorders because food is not satisfying. Relationships are also not good because nothing is fulfilling.

How to treat anhedonia?

To treat and combat this problem, it is necessary to solve related aspects. For example, if the subject has anxiety, the disorder should be treated. Just like if you have depression or drug problems, these problems need to be addressed.

By eliminating the accompanying problem, we have ensured that the subject gradually regains pleasure from small actions. we must focus slowly on how the small details of everyday life become relevant again. All this can be accompanied by pharmacology and much more. physical exercise this increases the dopamine level in the subject. Isolation exacerbates all symptoms, and socialization radically relieves all symptoms.

As psychologist Pilar Conde recalls:this is a reversible situation. With appropriate treatment, the desire to do and be is restored. One tool that needs to be worked on is behavioral activation, which is the gradual resumption of interrupted activities, starting with those that report more well-being and require less effort.”

– Personality Test: Have you become a lonelier person?


SHAPS: Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale. SnightRP et al. Hedonic Tone Rating Scale Snight-Hamilton Pleasure Scale. Br J. Psychiatry. 1995;167(1):99–103.

MADRS: Montgomery-Osberg Depression Rating Scale.

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