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arcentaus

Is Anhedonia rare?

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It's one of the few Depression symptoms to which most of society seems completely oblivious. When I mention my problems online, the vast majority of responses confuse it with ennui, and recommend that I simply try something new. Considering there's no good medication for it yet and so little is known about it, it seems to be rare. Is it? Even, very rare? I hesitate to say something like that, but since it's so hard to find info about it, I can't help but ask the question. What do you think?

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Because depression prevents people from enjoying the things they once did, I would say anhedonia isn't really rare.  When I'm really depressed and force myself to do something I enjoy like run or watch my favorite movie, my pleasure level is zero.

As for medication, antidepressants treat the condition as a whole so the anhedonia would disappear as well as any other symptoms of depression.  When you go on an antidepressant and it doesn't seem to be working, the psychiatrist will keep adjusting the levels and if that fails will change the medication completely.  Everybody's body chemistry is different which is why what work for one person doesn't work for another.

When you're on here, never hesitate to say or ask anything.  Everybody is here to help and can relate with no judgement passed.

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30 minutes ago, Azzurra18 said:

Because depression prevents people from enjoying the things they once did, I would say anhedonia isn't really rare.

Fully agree, it's one of the symptoms of depression. Someone with mild depression may not have it but pretty much anyone with moderate to severe depression can relate.

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Is a state of complete Anhedonia (enjoying nothing but food and sex, or nothing at all, for months at a time) common? How long does it typically last for severely depressed people? My current impression is that it comes in waves amongst other symptoms, whereas for others Anhedonia is a constant.

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Because everybody is different, for some it can come in waves but for others it can be a constant as you stated and how long it will last varies just like any symptom of depression.  When I was at my worst in regards to depression I suffered from insomnia for what seemed like forever.

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ive had it constantly for over two and a half years and i find that even some people who are otherwise severely depressed have a hard time understanding

Edited by survival0302

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I think part of the problem in determining this kind of thing is that, as a colloquial term, what one person may describe as anhedonia might be significantly different from what another may be experiencing. Adding to the complications that everyone experiences anxiety and depression a little bit differently, this really turns into a semantic mess. For instance: I experienced a "loss of interest" or desire in a lot of things that I used to enjoy during the first 10 or so years of my depression, and if you were to define the word anhedonia for me at the time, I probably would have agreed that the definition fit me. However, after experiencing this recent episode of anxiety induced depersonalization, the nature of the illness changed quite considerably.

Where, as before, I would describe my experiences as a significant reduction of the ability to enjoy things. I COULD still experience the sensation. It's just extremely difficult to enjoy anything when you're sad all the time. After depersonalizing from myself though, I would describe this as a neurological inability to experience emotion or pleasure what so ever. Everyone in your family could die, and it doesn't matter. You could win a million dollars and it doesn't matter. Can't experience pleasure, fear, anger, embarrassment, or sadness. Romantic and sexual attraction are gone as though they never existed. There's just nothing. So, from my perspective, I would consider anhedonia as an evolutionary defense mechanism triggered by, and as a symptom of extreme, prolonged anxiety, rather than as a symptom of depression.

But then again, who's to say? A person who's been paralyzed, and a person who has lost their legs may experience similar symptoms of immobility, but in different ways. Recommending spinal surgery may be useless for someone without legs, and trying to fit prosthetic limbs wouldn't help someone who's paralyzed. However, mood disorders and similar afflictions aren't as simple as just looking at a physical ailment, and perhaps that's really where the problem lies. Maybe there should different, more specific words to describe and differentiate between these particular niche's. All I can say is that the way I experienced "anhedonia" when I was severely depressed, and the way I experienced it after depersonalization are significantly different, and I think there is a confusion that exists in the medical, and psychiatric community as well. Which makes trying to find the proper treatment extremely frustrating since everything is just thrown under the same umbrella, whenever it probably shouldn't be. At-least not in such a generalized way.

Edited by Just The Wind

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Some recent reading on anhedonia that echos many of the same concerns and feelings that I have about the condition.

Quote

We suggest that current clinical definitions of anhedonia are too broad. As the processes of reward wanting and liking are found to rely on separate neural systems, depression research must attend to these distinctions in order to develop specific neurobiological models and novel treatment targets. As a multifaceted construct, anhedonia requires a more thorough characterization than is currently provided in the DSM or common self-report assessments. We propose that clinical symptoms of anhedonia be divided into motivational and consummatory anhedonia in order to closely parallel the animal literature on reward. Additionally, we propose that an alternative way to conceptualize anhedonia is by focusing on decision-making, rather than general mood, as this strategy lends itself particularly well to translational research approaches.

When Ribot first defined anhedonia, the field of neuroscience was still in its infancy. In the ensuing 113 years, understanding of the neurobiological systems involved in the processing of rewards has grown exponentially, while the construct of anhedonia remains relatively unaltered. We believe that in order to fulfill the promise of sophisticated neurobiological research methods, we must adopt equally sophisticated behavioral measures and clinical definitions.

Source

Edited by Just The Wind

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I'd say it's very common in depression. Actually, from what I recently learned in an intensive therapy program, anhedonia is one of the two main symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD).

There's a list of 9 criteria for MDD and to be diagnosed, you have to have at least 5 of them. However, included in those 5 must be one of the first two criteria:

1. Depressed mood for at least a 2 week period, which represents a significant change from the person's normal mood.

2. A loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a 2 week period.

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Well said....

On 5/30/2017 at 5:01 PM, Just The Wind said:

I think part of the problem in determining this kind of thing is that, as a colloquial term, what one person may describe as anhedonia might be significantly different from what another may be experiencing. Adding to the complications that everyone experiences anxiety and depression a little bit differently, this really turns into a semantic mess. For instance: I experienced a "loss of interest" or desire in a lot of things that I used to enjoy during the first 10 or so years of my depression, and if you were to define the word anhedonia for me at the time, I probably would have agreed that the definition fit me. However, after experiencing this recent episode of anxiety induced depersonalization, the nature of the illness changed quite considerably.

Where, as before, I would describe my experiences as a significant reduction of the ability to enjoy things. I COULD still experience the sensation. It's just extremely difficult to enjoy anything when you're sad all the time. After depersonalizing from myself though, I would describe this as a neurological inability to experience emotion or pleasure what so ever.

Maybe there should different, more specific words to describe and differentiate between these particular niche's. All I can say is that the way I experienced "anhedonia" when I was severely depressed, and the way I experienced it after depersonalization are significantly different, and I think there is a confusion that exists in the medical, and psychiatric community as well. Which makes trying to find the proper treatment extremely frustrating since everything is just thrown under the same umbrella, whenever it probably shouldn't be. At-least not in such a generalized way.

Edited by survival0302

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