Depression : “Nothing interests me anymore” (How to overcome anhedonia)

Front the article we will address the issue of what to do when your depression is making you feel “nothing interests me anymore”. We will understand the concept of anhedonia and how to fight it off with utmost grace. 

Nothing interests you anymore?

Interest arises from intrinsic motivation. If you think you don’t find anything interesting nor do you feel motivated to do those things which interests you, here are some ways to understand and cope with your anhedonia.

What is anhedonia? 

“For the past 7 years, I have had the smallest flickering of emotions, what I feel on a daily basis is practically nil. I have no desires to truly speak of, as nothing I do is rewarding or satisfying.” This is exactly how anhedonia feels. 

In Greek, anhedonia directly translates to “without pleasure.” It is a condition where one does not find anything interesting. They have a lack of motivation, satisfaction and interest in anything.

What are the symptoms of anhedonia?

The two main types of anhedonia are social and physical anhedonia.

Social anhedonia is a disinterest towards social contact and a lack of motivation in being a part of social situations. 

Physical anhedonia is an inability to feel tactile pleasures such as eating, touching, or sex.

The symptoms of anhedonia include:

  • social withdrawal
  • a lack of relationships or withdrawal from previous relationships
  • negative feelings toward yourself and others
  • reduced emotional abilities, including having less verbal or nonverbal expressions
  • difficulty adjusting to social situations
  • a tendency toward showing fake emotions, such as pretending you’re happy at a wedding
  • a loss of libido or a lack of interest in physical intimacy
  • persistent physical problems, such as being sick often

What are the reasons being anhedonia?

  1. Depression

Anhedonia is considered a vital symptom of depression. And it can show up in people with seemingly unrelated health concerns like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and substance abuse issues.

  1. Antidepressants

Research says, the medicines, usually antidepressants prescribed in treating depression may also cause anhedonia. 

  1. Drug use

Recreational drug use can also cause anhedonia in people.

  1. Changes in brain activity

Difference in brain activity especially in the prefrontal cortex is found to be a neurological cause behind anhedonia. Research states, this area of the brain is overactive in people with anhedonia. 

A few studies show that a part of the basal ganglia called the nucleus accumbens has been referred to as the “pleasure center”. Other brain areas involved are the striatum ( responsible for reward system) and the insula (consciousness and self-awareness).

Neurotransmitters like dopamine, GABA and Cytokine are considered responsible for anhedonia.

Anhedonia, caused due to malfunction in the brain’s reward system?

Anhedonia characterizes defects in the reward system of our brain. It is not simply a reduced ability to find enjoyment in your interests. 

People with anhedonia experience pleasure the same way as the rest of the population, but the areas of motivation, risk taking, decision making and the computations regarding either getting or rejecting a reward are defective.

The Medical News Today provides a vivid example in this context of interplay between different aspects of pleasure: ” If we experience something and enjoy it — eating a new type of candy, for instance — we might want to do it again. However, if the candy costs $1,000 per piece, we might not bother. Or, similarly, if it is known to cause cancer, we will probably give it a miss. If the candy is free and safe, however, we will tuck in. If we are required to walk to the next room to get a piece, we will probably make the effort. But, if it is stationed half a mile away, we might pause for thought. And, if it’s in the next town, we will forgo the pleasure. But even if the candy is healthful, placed on the table next to us, and free of charge, we might take a piece even if we have just eaten a three-course meal.”

The different aspects of pleasure are ingrained in our mental reward system whose dysfunction is considered responsible behind anhedonia.

How to cope if you are suffering from anhedonia?

Physical activity

There is an extensive body of literature documenting an inverse association between level of depressive symptoms and physical activity (PA).

According to the article “Relations Between Anhedonia and Physical Activity” by

Adam M. Leventhal, anhedonia may be inversely associated with physical activity for several reasons and “deficient pleasure may be an important affective mechanism underlying physical behavior”.

Even if you may not find exercise pleasurable, it will help you stay fit and healthy. Your lack of motivation can be ruled out with physical activities which will keep you fit and motivated too. 

Set goals either in the morning or the evening to get yourself engaged in any sort of physical activity, be it yoga, cardio, walk, skipping or any other form of physical activity. 

It is very important to commit to yourself and carry on with your physical activity on a daily basis. Discipline will keep you hopeful and determined. 

Healthy sleep habits

Sleep is an integral part of a person’s physical as well as mental health.  Reducing exposure to screen, atleast one hour before sleep, will help you gain a peaceful one.  Try to replace screen time with over-phone calls,  reading or talking to family members.

 Healthy sleep habits include maintaining a specific time of going to bed and waking up. This will help you overcome the damaging effects of anhedonia and help boost energy levels.

 Socialize

Socializing helps you connect with people and  get over loneliness and triggering negative thoughts. 

If socializing in person does not help you, try out social media. You can talk to strangers who are suffering from the same thing as you over chatrooms and forums.

Therapy or counseling

Anhedonia can affect your daily life and make you trapped in a vicious circle of worthlessness and misery. 

If you think self help can no longer help your condition, please do consider therapy or counseling. They will help you out with either medication or talk therapy or a combination of both based on the severity of your condition.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion

From the article, we got an idea about the topic “Depression : “Nothing interests me anymore”. It talked about what anhedonia is and how it is caused. Various ways to cope with anhedonia is also discussed. 

FAQs: Nothing interests me anymore

Is anhedonia a mental illness?

No it is not an illness but it is one of the symptoms of depression.

Does exercise help anhedonia?

There is an extensive body of literature documenting an inverse association between level of depressive symptoms and physical activity (PA).

According to the article “Relations Between Anhedonia and Physical Activity” by

Adam M. Leventhal, anhedonia may be inversely associated with physical activity for several reasons and “deficient pleasure may be an important affective mechanism underlying physical behavior”.

Even if you may not find exercise pleasurable, it will help you stay fit and healthy. Your lack of motivation can be ruled out with physical activities which will keep you fit and motivated too. 

Set goals either in the morning or the evening to get yourself engaged in any sort of physical activity, be it yoga, cardio, walk, skipping or any other form of physical activity. 

What does it mean to feel emotionless?

Schizoid personality disorder is one of many personality disorders which make you feel emotionless and distant. 

Symptoms :

If you have schizoid personality disorder, it’s likely that you:

  • Prefer being alone and choose to do activities alone
  • Don’t want or enjoy close relationships
  • Feel little if any desire for sexual relationships
  • Feel like you can’t experience pleasure
  • Have difficulty expressing emotions and reacting appropriately to situations
  • May seem humorless, indifferent or emotionally cold to others
  • May appear to lack motivation and goals
  • Don’t react to praise or critical remarks from others

What is ejaculatory anhedonia?

Ejaculatory anhedonia is the experience of normal ejaculation without pleasure or orgasm.

Experts believe that orgasmic anhedonia/PDOD occurs because of a problem with neurochemicals in the brain, particularly dopamine.

Does anhedonia ever go away? 

Anhedonia can affect your daily life and make you trapped in a vicious circle of worthlessness and misery. 

If you think self help can no longer help your condition, please do consider therapy or counseling. They will help you out with either medication or talk therapy or a combination of both based on the severity of your condition. With therapy anhedonia goes away.

What is an example of anhedonia?

An anhedonic mother finds no joy from playing with her baby or , might suddenly find they get no enjoyment from reading. 

What is alexithymia?

Alexithymia is a broad term to describe problems with feeling emotions. In fact, this Greek term used in Freudian psychodynamic theories loosely translates to “no words for emotion.” While the condition is not well-known.

What is the flattened affect?

A flat affect can be a negative symptom of schizophrenia, meaning that your emotional expressions don’t show. 

An interesting cause of anhedonia?

Anhedonia characterizes defects in the reward system of our brain. It is not simply a reduced ability to find enjoyment in your interests. 

People with anhedonia experience pleasure the same way as the rest of the population, but the areas of motivation, risk taking, decision making and the computations regarding either getting or rejecting a reward are defective.

The Medical News Today provides a vivid example in this context of interplay between different aspects of pleasure: ” If we experience something and enjoy it — eating a new type of candy, for instance — we might want to do it again. However, if the candy costs $1,000 per piece, we might not bother. Or, similarly, if it is known to cause cancer, we will probably give it a miss. If the candy is free and safe, however, we will tuck in. If we are required to walk to the next room to get a piece, we will probably make the effort. But, if it is stationed half a mile away, we might pause for thought. And, if it’s in the next town, we will forgo the pleasure. But even if the candy is healthful, placed on the table next to us, and free of charge, we might take a piece even if we have just eaten a three-course meal.”

The different aspects of pleasure are ingrained in our mental reward system whose dysfunction is considered responsible behind anhedonia.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/what-is-anhedonia

lose.https://motivationgrid.com/5-reasons-why-nothing-seems-to-make-you-happy-anymore/

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