This article will discuss how depression can steal the person’s ability to feel interested in things, be it a hobby, or life itself. For that, the article will explain what depression is, and introduce the concept of Anhedonia.
Aside from that, the article will show ways people can improve their mood and maybe go back to being interested in things.
Why does depression make me lose my interest in things?
There are moments in life when people are not interested in anything. It can happen even when a person is not depressed. But losing interest in things is usually one of the main symptoms of depression.
It seems that this loss of interest is related to depression through the imbalance of dopamine in the brain. When a person loses interest, a part of their brain called the ventral striatum is not working as well.
While another, called the ventral region, is overworking, and this can cause not only that but mostly, the imbalance of dopamine levels.
But the loss of interest in a person with depression is also related to their feelings. Being depressed can cause a person to see the world in a more negative light, it is as if the world lost its color. And through that, having the interest in doing anything decreases.
But let’s understand a little more about what depression is.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental illness that affects about 5% of the world’s population. Cases of it have been increasing across the globe, and people from all ages and backgrounds can develop depression. But some situations make a person have a higher chance of getting depressed.
Normally women have a higher chance of it than men. Not only them, but people that are going through a traumatic experience as well, and people that have a family history of the condition, or have gone through a previous episode of depression.
It is a condition that causes people to experience intense sadness, along with the loss of meaning, and interest in things. Not only that, but depression also makes people feel empty, lowers the person’s self-esteem, and decreases their sense of self-worth.
Each person feels depression in a very particular way. But some symptoms are the most common ones. They are:
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Change in eating pattern
- Loss of energy
- Lack of ability to focus
- Excessive crying or inability to cry even when they feel like it
- Thoughts of death and suicidal thoughts
For a person to be considered depressed they need to have experienced the symptoms for longer than 2 weeks. And the type of depression each person has is related to how often and how intense their symptoms are.
Anhedonia, what is called when people lose interest in doing things, is a very particular symptom of depression. Let’s discuss it a little more.
What is Anhedonia?
Anhedonia is the word used to express the loss of interest in things the person used to love. It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected to a mental Illness. Some people can go through moments in life when they are not interested in anything, but it is not related to mental illness.
But for the most part, Anhedonia is related to having some conditions. It is common in people that are depressed, who have bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. In cases in which people are extremely anxious, stressed, or are going through the trauma they can also lose interest in everything.
There are two types of Anhedonia, the physical and social types. In the first, the person loses interest in things such as thirst, or hunger. When someone is going through this, they do not want to eat, for example. But it is only considered Anhedonia if the person loved to eat before.
As for social Anhedonia, it is the loss of interest in being in any social interaction. Some symptoms can show a person is experiencing Anhedonia. They are:
- Distancing from connections, even old ones
- Negative thoughts about themselves and others
- Difficulty navigating through social situations
- Lack of drive-in doing things
- Intense complaining
Anhedonia can be treated, and there are also lifestyle decisions that can help you cope with it. Let’s discuss what is out there.
How can I cope with this?
There are many ways one can treat and cope with Anhedonia. If you are depressed, the first thing to consider is to look for professional help. Having a therapist that you can talk about how you feel, will make a lot of difference at this moment.
They will be someone that can listen to you without judgment, and help you think in what ways you can connect to people and your feelings again. In some cases, when the symptoms of depression are too intense, it might be necessary to go to a psychiatrist and medication.
But if you feel you are not interested in anything, take your time. Understand that this is a moment, and it won’t last forever. If you start to feel guilty or demand too much of yourself, things will certainly become even less pleasurable.
One thing you can do is to consider writing a list of things you are/were good at. Even though when you are depressed it is hard to find things you are good at, putting those on paper can help you have a different look on yourself.
This can cause you to consider going back to doing some of those things. You can also make a list of things that have a positive effect on you. It can be going for a small walk or listening to music you love.
But try to find things that can help you release some happy hormones in your brain. This will not only give you a sense of well-being at the moment, but it will also motivate you to do some more.
Hopefully, in time you will realize what are things that have a positive impact on you, and focus on those, so slowly they can become interests.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Why did depression make me lose interest in everything?
What are other reasons that can cause me to lose interest in things?
You might have lost interest in things because you feel like you are stuck in a rut. This can make you feel like you have no choices, you do things because you have to. You might also not be interested in things because you are doing things that don’t speak to you, and this can affect your motivation.
You can also lose interest if you believe it will be too hard to do something. This can make you want to avoid the chance of failure. Or because you are not pursuing what you want, you might be going for the next best thing, and this can be frustrating.
What is apathy?
Apathy is what happens when a person doesn’t have the motivation to do anything, or they even stop caring for what is going on around them. It is often a symptom of mental health issues, or even Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
But apathy is not the same thing as depression. Although they can be similar, in depression you experience other emotions, such as sadness, won’t doesn’t happen with apathy.
It causes you to lack the energy to put on the effort of doing things. Which can cause you to depend on others. But on the other hand, it causes you to isolate yourself and feel no emotions.
To battle apathy, you should try and get in touch with people you love, even if you don’t feel like going. Try to improve your health, take care of your body, by exercising, what you eat, and your sleep. Try to keep active in doing things you love. And if it all seems too hard, try to look for a support group.
What is the difference between rumination and emotional processing?
There is the main difference between rumination and emotional processing. Ruminations are usually related to negative thoughts. In rumination people are stuck in what they are thinking, there is no flow in their line of thought.
They are not necessarily looking for a solution. In ruminating, the person is just thinking about the problem without looking at it from the bigger picture or looking for possibilities on what to do.
On the other hand, emotional processing is a healthy way for a person to deal with their emotions and thoughts. In it, the person establishes a line of thought in which they can consider the whole event, and is open to looking for solutions for what has been happening.
Are intrusive thoughts a sign of mental illness?
Intrusive thoughts come to your mind and you can’t move past them. They are usually harmless, but to some people, it can be so intense that it is a sign of a mental health issue.
Persistent intrusive thoughts are usually frequent in people that have Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. In it, the person has thoughts they can’t control, and with it, they have an urge to repeat behavior as a way to avoid something bad from happening.
Delusional thoughts, or paranoid thoughts, which are other forms of intrusive thoughts, can also be present in people that have the diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. If a person notices they are having intrusive thoughts, and suspect they have a mental health condition, it might be important to seek professional help.
What is thought blocking?
Thought blocking is described as any experience in which a person can feel unable to think, speak or move as a reaction to something going on around them. It can go on for a few seconds, or even a few minutes, but in extreme cases, it can go on for hours.
It is a condition that puts a person’s body through extreme stress. It can cause people to isolate themselves. This is because they are afraid of scaring others, but are also afraid of experiencing the thought block.
Because of that, social support is extremely important to help them accept the condition and feel supported and cared for by people that love them.
This article showed what depression is, how it affects people’s lives, and how it causes people to lose interest in things. Along with that, the article explained the concept of Anhedonia, what it is, and when people experience it.
Finally, the article suggested ways people can cope with this lack of interest in things and depression.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.