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Answers To Curing Anhedonia/numbness/apathy, No. 1


itstrevor

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I still use l-phenylalanine occasionally (similar to tyrosine), sometimes a few times a week, which gives me a slight mood boost, increases my motivation, and makes me more talkative. These effects last 1-3 hours for me. It seems to have less of an effect if I use it every day or too often. 5-htp and tryptophan have no effect, but I know they work for other people.

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I was about to write this earlier though I am not in the same mood as then. I skipped fluoxetine 2.5 mg. Basically at that time I felt it boiled down to selfesteem. Being able to take on the world, knowing nothing is the end of the world and so on. Some tolerance for doing misstakes. I am an phobic-laid,inhibited person which sadly fscked up quite seriously recently due to alcohol. I am glad that I've met people who is laughing at that misstake.The combination of 5 mg selegiline, 5 mg escitalopram, 2,1 g sarcosine(dont know if it's doing anything) + 2,5 fluoxetine put me in that state. Selegiline hasn't been tried out enough but I am quite sure the thing which is the major thing.

Matt pointed out for him it's some sort of defensive mechanism probably related to panicattacks. Panicattack was the thing bringing this on 1994 after a period of "stress". I think "this" is mainly about emotional numbing and derealization though I have this lack of wanting and liking thing as well but this emotional numbing I think is at the bottom of it.

Fear of fear, fear of change, fear of emotion and so on. In my experience crowned by some fear of seeing anyone. This is where I think dopamine may be helpful. This won't go away for me without drugs. I've lost too much time not taking some seriously working on dopamine due to foremost stupidity of doctors.

Dopamine is like "will to live", "self esteem" and so on. Imagine getting your head emptied from that. If there's anxiety going on then yes maybe SSRI. If it some fear of whatever then go for dopamine either in the form of Wellbutrin or MAO-inhibitors. If there's also a need for drive possibly with the risk of increased anxiety then maybe some norepinephrine either in form of Reboxetine, Wellbutin or MAO-I.

Not much more to do if you were sort of brought up to hate yourself.

Sure there's also the option of phenylalanine, tyrosine, 5-htp. I wouldn't call 5-htp particulary "natural" as it's an extraction and sent overseas, nothing you would be able to do without technology anyway therefore I shrug away somewhat from pseudonatural things. The only thing I noticed with it was penisissues but I wasn't taking it for long.

Hence, nothing of this I've brought up(including this short period of low dose selegiline) except for Wellbutrin really has helped me with anhedonia (at least social). I see overcoming fear and therefore implicitly overcoming emotional numbness is of a more urgent matter for those it affects.

Edited by General_Failure
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Anyone here ever take an fMRI to see whats going on in their brains?

Trait anhedonia was inversely related to anterior caudate volume, but positively related to ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity during the processing of positive information. These findings may reflect a specific kind of vulnerability for the development of psychiatric affective disorders and suggest that trait anhedonia may be linked to a volumetric reduction in the basal ganglia and to a prefrontal functional abnormality during hedonic processing.
We report an association between the lacunar volumes in the white matter and depressed mood, anhedonia, apathy, and anergia, thus supporting the role of subcortical ischemic vascular disease in the pathogenesis of late-life neuropsychiatric disorders.
Edited by alex617
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Now continuing on from my previous important post above, I wish to know what I'm thinking in that post (including this post as well) is true or false. Here is something else I'm thinking and I wish to know if this is true or false as well:

You might be thinking that over time as I continue to think positive and focus on other things and such, that this will bring back my ability to experience pleasure. Although this is something that would work if I were depressed, this is not something that is going to work for this numb feeling I'm having (which is not depression). Why I come to this conclusion is because my mind did not just shut down (numb) my ability to experience pleasure for no reason since any function of the mind is there for a very important reason and does not just simply occurr for no reason or for a pointless reason and that it can just go away or ease up by thinking positive and such over time (although this would be the case for depression in helping the depression get better, but not for this numb feeling). In shutting down my fear, my mind had to also shut down my ability to experience pleasure for a very important reason. That reason could be that, if my ability to experience pleasure were to be left on while my fear were to be shut down, that might of killed me, caused seizures, abnormalites in the brain, etc. Therefore, both the fear and my ability to experience pleasure had to be shut down.
So no matter how much I think positive and such over time, as long as my fear remains shut down, this is not going to restore my ability to experience pleasure because, again, if my ability to experience pleasure were to be turned on to any degree while my fear were to remain shut down, that would cause serious problems and there is no way the mind would ever do that because that is just how the mind works to protect you. I can even take supplements and everything including medication to try and restore my ability to experience pleasure, but this won't do anything as long as my fear remains fully shut down as it is now.
Now the reason my fear remains shut down (numb) in the first place is because I feel uncomfortable having these panic attacks and taking the risk of having many panic attacks each day for that matter. So my mind has decided to protect me from having these panic attacks since I feel uncomfortable. If I were to feel completely comfortable, that would be very likely to return my ability to experience pleasure as well as my panic. But since I feel that I will never be comfortable with this (and I don't think any human being would ever feel completely comfortable with something like this either, especially if it could mean having many upon many panic attacks each day), this is the reason why I feel that my ability to experience pleasure could forever remain shut down and never get better regardless of how positive I think and such over time.
Or maybe there could be ways to help me feel comfortable having panic. I know that exposure therapy is where you purposely try to make the panic happen as well as trying to feel comfortable having the panic as well. But this would be the only way for my ability to experience pleasure to return is if I were to instead cause my fear to return and, instead of focusing on my pleasure and how to make that return through thinking positive and such, I would have to instead focus on my fear and how to make myself panic as well as finding ways to help myself feel comfortable having the panic. But since I am treatment resistant in terms of panic disorder and can't be desensitized and such, will my ability to experience pleasure be restored or at least significantly restored anyway over time?
Edited by MattMVS7
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Anyone here ever take an fMRI to see whats going on in their brains?

I have tried to find a place to do a fMRI but have not had any luck. Most fMRIs are done in a research setting and I've contacted a few of them but they were unable to help. If you find a place let me know.

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Another thing that I think we have to be careful of is the assumptions made by those reading articles citing "reduction on brain size" or "brain region volume." I personally do not believe that there is a causative relationship between brain size and depressive/anhedonic symptoms, but rather I see them as having a correlative relationship. For example, there are different average "brain region volumes" for males and females, and yet both genders seem to have the ability to experience euphoria and intense emotions. We also see animals as having smaller brain sizes, yet we have no indicators that animals become demotivated and distressed by any "emotional numbness."

We do know that in depressive disorders there is a shrinkage of the hippocampus, and, if one gives this any thought, it makes sense. The hippocampus grows new brain cells (and helps produce new memories) that are gradually proliferated. We see that in depression, it is often not good for the brain to hold on to memories so, in a way, it "shuts down" (or at least slows down) production. When depression lifts, the hippocampus begins to function normally again (my educated guess), and, partially for this reason, we see a correlative increase in BDNF.

I don't have any proof to substantiate this, but it's my best guess.

Edited by itstrevor
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I sometimes question if what I have is anhedonia. I was watching NCIS and a guy cut his own throat and I felt no reaction. Stuff like that used to make me cringe.

Do others here experience similar?

Also I have noticed some improvement. I can experience most emotions in the present, but when looking back it doesn't feel like it really happened. My past doesn't feel like my own. Anyone with similar experience?

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I remember when I was much younger I almost cried because my aunt gave me a book of old stamps - I cried because I thought she was so kind to give something away to me. By High School things like that didn't cause me to cry (obviously, as that is ridiculous) yet I could still feel euphoric. I think that there is a sadness and euphoria that is allotted in proportion to your stage in life, and with people each phase consists of different things that affect the self. With anhedonia, there is a numbing of the emotions to prevent possible damage due to overactivity, or there is an underactivity caused by hypothyroid, drugs, etcetera.

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yeah, my girlfriend is extremely sensitive (what a couple) and when we sit in front of the tv watching scary stuff she twists and shrieks and covers her eyes while i sit passive... like my heart is anesthetized and my mind rationalizes what just happened with a couple of seconds delay. Even tho, i must say, lately ive started having a bit of spontanoeus "jumping" over the sofa when sudden scary things happen

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Hey there! After reading through this thread I've finally decided to make a post myself, as I also suffer from anhedonia.

After prolonged stress and a bad breakup last autumn, I had an acute schizophrenia-like psychotic episode. Since I started to hear voices and had delusions, I was sent to hospital. They put me on Abilify and Sobril/Benzodiazepin, which made me calmer and able to think normally. In the beginning of 2014, I came home from hospital and stopped taking the Benzodiazepin, because I no longer had anxiety. After a few weeks, I had no more feelings or emotions. All gone! I asked my psychologist and doctor what the hell had happened, and they both said anhedonia's a negative symptom of schizophrenia. I was told it would go away by itself after a few months, so I waited. In May I got so impatient I asked for medication for it. I was first put on an AD, which did not work at all. I began searching the web for treatments myself, and I came across Amisulpride. My doctor agreed to prescribe me some, but I had to discontinue due to super high prolactin levels as a side effect. My doctor told me he would not give me anything else, as he knew of nothing else that could treat my anhedonia. Not impressed by that answer I did more research and ordered some supplements online (licorice root, L-tyrosine, Sam-E) which I've now been taking for a week. I've not felt any difference after taking these, nor have I had any sife effects. I've been wanting to try Royal Jelly, Acetyl L-carnitine, Ginseng and St. John's Wort, so I've ordered these from iHerb.

I've also considered ECT, but I don't have any guarantee for it to work nor do I know if I can afford it.

One question I have is what do you guy fill your days with? For me, I watch a lot of TV, play video games, go for walks, and use the computer, but it's so boring. Time passes by so slowly... Even when I'm with friends I don't feel good, so I just wait for the time to go home.

One thing I think is kinda weird, is that I have no appetite. It's not just that I don't get hungry, I don't feel full either.. I could just eat and eat and eat.

It's just so sad... I used to be this girl full of energy who could run around every day being joyful. I used to love baking, working out, hanging with friends.. Heck, even going to school was fun. I wonder what it'll be like starting school again in a week. Haven't been there in half a year.

Anyways. Enough rambling. I really hope this anhedonia will go away soon. My doctor said it could take from a few months to a few years. I can't wait for years...

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I've stopped playing games, I am trying to reappreciate music somewhat again after Mirtazapine robbed that thing away. Basically I try to stay sober as I dont want to get fat and the "high" sucks and the lows afterwards. If I had access to grass I'd probably spend my day smoking it. As for today I probably wander pub from pub even if my so called friends don't contact me. It's my birthday tomorrow and saturday is today. I prefer to keep in good condition but it's to apathetic for that and drinking conflicts with trainingsresults. But good news! Selegiline has restored my penis 14-18 years too late or so (I mean I actually had a GF for 5 months 2004 or so). The psychiatric care is so worthless I am suspecting a cosmic joke with me as the but.

So except for drugs which I am unable to acquire my interest is set to nil. Thanks to doctors outside this hellforsaken excuse for a country I at least got selegiline which makes me feel better in a bitter way. One needs selfesteem to take oneself seriously enough to be bitter.

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I have heard of psychotic breaks caused by stress and, of course, there are those caused by stimulant use (stimulant psychosis), but it is not something that is necessarily permanent (though I don't know too much about the mechanisms behind schizophrenia). If your syndrome is anything like stimulant psychosis or stress-related, I would say it should fade with time. I know that anxiety can perpetuate problems, so letting go is one of the hardest and most important things to do - don't stress about things you can't change. I'm still struggling with blunting, but my belief in recovery and research into positive information about it has made things easier until recovery comes. I think we all hope the best for you, and I think we all should be supportive of each other!

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I'm going out on a limb here, but coming off of long-term benzodiazepine use can also cause anhedonia, as GABA puts a break on NMDA overactivity in regions of the brain that might inhibit reward, but I'm not sure that applies for you or not. My uncle has/had schizophrenia and has regained emotions coming off of his meds of several years, but it does take time. Living in the moment is really hard but once you get into a space where you feel like you aren't losing your mind about how horrible you are feeling and trust in recovery (finding evidence that it is inevitable and will happen over time), things slowly get better in my experience.

Also, rest in peace to Robert Williams who died today due to depression. In one interview he attributed his depression to previous use of stimulant drugs including xtc. Alcoholism also contributed to his mental illness

Edited by itstrevor
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I have been on selegine (emsam patch) for a few months now. Does seem to help a bit with motivation and functionability, but doesnt help anhedonia. I

My doctor yesterday decided to add mirtzapinine along with the selegine. I am a little scared because some people on here have had bad things to say about mirtazipine and also I am afraid of the weight gain/increased appetitite issue.

But I do remember seeing one post on here of someone saying mirtzapinine brought the color back to their life, so maybe there is some hope with it. I know everyones different so I dont want to take too much stock in a bad review as well as a good one. I will let you know how it goes.

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I think the soul destroying treatment for Robin Williams' depression could also be the reason he committed suicide. How many people in this thread are here because of SSRI's? Many. How many because of stimulants or alcohol? 2? 1? 0?

Psychiatry and Pharma are always getting away with it... Proving it is impossible. It makes me sick.

Where is Handsup? Another poor victim of depression? Don't think so...

Not saying it couldn't have been depression... But it annoys me that in the media the possibility that it's due to the psychiatric treatment, is not even considered.

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Does anyone know what happened to Hands Up??

I have been off sertraline now for a week and I only get the odd headzap. Nothing uncomfortable or distressing tho.

Yes I also believe psychiatric drugs can make you worse, especially the way the prescribing docs don't exactly know if and how they actually work.

Now I'm just taking b vitamin and amino with good results.. Libido still low but I am interested in talking to girls again..

I can also feel little emotions sometimes when watching films. They are definately there

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Hi-

After years of denial, I'm finally beginning my long road to manageing anhedonia and am wondering what blood panels/lab tests you'd suggest requesting from my MD in order to rule out the common and/or uncommon illnesses that can cause depression, anxiety and apathy. For example; TSH, lymes, vit d and b12, folate. Also, is there a certain way to request these panels without having to list them all? (Like a Vitamin Panel will cover all the essential vitamin levels). For Thyroid testing, is it important to specify a "free T4"? Please be as comprehensive as possible.

Thanks so much for your help!

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I've been suffering with this issue now for a good 3-4 months and as I'm very proactive in nature, I want to try and treat it and fix it asap.

I've never been on any meds of any kind (I take thyroxine but I don't think it's any how related to anhedonia despite anhedonia surfacing around the same time I was introduced to it) but I can sympathize immediately with this exact issue. I remember a three day period following a few days of random, unreasonable, severe anxiety over nothing where I just stopped enjoying things. I pursued the same interests but no actual internal pleasure response came through like It used to.

I can't immediately identify with depression (Although I suffered with it acutely many years ago) but I can definitely more than identify with anxiety + stress issues. Due to the random nature in which my anhedonia arrived, I'm searching my hardest for any kind of clarification and understanding I can get on it.

itstrevor, did your anhedonia arrive anything like what I said above? Has it improved at all? You seem to mention a lot of medications and I feel very uncomfortable reading a list of potential things I'll have to go on just to feel back to my old self. Is there no way of turning back on that switch yourself through psychotherapy, hypnotherapy/cbt/whatever? I really don't want to create more problems for myself then when I started with, which seems like a common theme with people suffering with anhedonia. Any simple advice about medication in the future? (What to avoid, what may help, etc)

Also may I ask, what are the possibilities of porn addiction causing anhedonia? A lot of the issues with porn addiction seem to centralize around the desensitization or ******* of D2 receptors in the brain causing an absence of pleasure in things. When I was first looking up my issues, I ended up there and was convinced it was my issue. I'm curious as to if it is a genuine possibility as both porn addiction and anhedonia seem to stem from reward circuitry issues/breakdowns.

Edited by D3anll
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Hi,

I'm so glad I've discovered this website, and this post.

I have been a long time sufferer of depression, and for the last few years Anhedonia.

So much so It doesn't even really register as a condition anymore, it's just me, sad little unenthused me.

I do not take any medication, I did go on a course of Citalopram for the depression, it had no effect as far as I could tell.

Problem I find is trying to communicate my lack of interest in life with loved ones, I must sound so very harsh from their emotive point of view. For example trying to communicate my lack of sexual interest to my boyfriend, I told him that without a sexual mindset sex feels obscure at best and grotesque at worst. He joked that if he didn't get some soon he'd look else where, I wouldn't blame him if he did, nor would I care.

My brother is totally high on life, one mention of any of these feelings I'm deemed negative and swiftly hung up on. Friends are a little more understanding, not that I reveal much, for the most part I just try my best to fake enthusiasm.

As I've said I am not on any medication, though I do find smoking a little illegal drug certainly helps, it gives me brief spells of curiosity, and enthusiasm. Aside from that i acquired a dog in January, I love her dearly, plus I get out the house a few times a day, the exercise and being surrounded by nature, cliche but a real help.

Can anyone recommend any other natural therapies they have discovered?

Thanks for reading.

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Hi,

I'm so glad I've discovered this website, and this post.

I have been a long time sufferer of depression, and for the last few years Anhedonia.

So much so It doesn't even really register as a condition anymore, it's just me, sad little unenthused me.

I do not take any medication, I did go on a course of Citalopram for the depression, it had no effect as far as I could tell.

Problem I find is trying to communicate my lack of interest in life with loved ones, I must sound so very harsh from their emotive point of view. For example trying to communicate my lack of sexual interest to my boyfriend, I told him that without a sexual mindset sex feels obscure at best and grotesque at worst. He joked that if he didn't get some soon he'd look else where, I wouldn't blame him if he did, nor would I care.

My brother is totally high on life, one mention of any of these feelings I'm deemed negative and swiftly hung up on. Friends are a little more understanding, not that I reveal much, for the most part I just try my best to fake enthusiasm.

As I've said I am not on any medication, though I do find smoking a little illegal drug certainly helps, it gives me brief spells of curiosity, and enthusiasm. Aside from that i acquired a dog in January, I love her dearly, plus I get out the house a few times a day, the exercise and being surrounded by nature, cliche but a real help.

Can anyone recommend any other natural therapies they have discovered?

Thanks for reading.

natural: Saint Johns wort (its a classic, for some works for some it doesent) , Rhodiola rosea (weak mao inhibitor, it comes from the golden shimmering root which smells of roses, id say it must be good :), Gingseng (for energy and stamina).

medical: from what i gather you're in northern europe, you should have access to moclobemide. its stimulating and well balanced

id kick the "certain illegal herbs" smoking, for me it didnt help... i gave kratom a go recently and it find it more interesting and less mentally dulling that "a certain illegal herb"

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Great i do have a tdcs machine. I can notice the depression setup improving cognitive functions and energy a little bit. Im also doing another setup that is more experimental also. I need to be more consistant with my setup tho and time will tell of the efficacy. So far it seems to have some potential but nothing ground breaking has happened yet. Its a very interesting technology and im interested in trying out new setup eventually.

What brand you bought? I got it from trans-cranial.com its expensive tho from them but i know its the best you can get. Ive heard bad things about the focus which is cheaper.

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I'm really not sure about the tds machine... Seems to be based on skewed studies if it claims to have that much of an edge on medications IMO. I would say that I see small improvements over time, but I am at the point of acceptance and moving on with life. I know it sucks, but I have a great deal of hope and evidence that it is not permanent, and having survived through extreme medication withdrawal (Parnate) and ECT, I would say that whatever I do have I am thankful that I don't feel like I DID. I had to go through all of that to reach that sort of relief and thankfulness to move forward.

I am not surprised that selegiline did not work (or at least work for long). As we have seen, dopamine signals reward WANTING and temporarily potentiates reward. After a few days of elevated dopamine spikes, tolerance sets in and there is no longer any hedonic effect - instead the effects are seen in increased perseverance, interest, and mental stamina. This is seen repeatedly with dopaminergics that amplify phasic dopamine spikes. Selegiline would probably have an even lesser effect on hedonia than traditional dopaminergic stimulants (which are also a terrible choice for other reasons).

I don't think I have any advice about sexual imagery other than obviously if your brain is telling you that you don't have any interest in something (even though you know you do), don't do it. In this way, you petition your brain "If you really want me to be interested in this, you are going to have to provide me a greater reward."

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Has anyone tried hypnosis type of therapies? I was reading about for PTSD how compared to even normal therapy, here's a snippet of the article:

The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially recognized hypnosis as a valuable and beneficial treatment as applied and used since 1958.the techniques that proved to generate the greatest success in providing lasting change were the following (listed in order of success rate):

Hypnosis93% recovery after 6 sessions (approx. 1 1/2 months @ 1 session per week).

Behavior Therapy72% after 22 sessions (approx. 6 months @ 1 session per week).

Psychotherapy38% recovery after 600 sessions (approx. 11 1/2 yrs @ 1 session per week).

The subconscious is the part of your mind burdened with the job of protecting you. It will do anything – even adopt negative behaviors – in order to keep you safe. When these protective measures no longer serve us we feel the need to change. This change is difficult to bring about because the subconscious mind is devoted to its imprinted perceptions. In its bypass of the conscious mind, hypnosis brings the subconscious to the forefront so that changes can be made via suggestions. Hypnotherapy helps change perceptions of memories, which in turn helps change perceptions of the self and hence, behavior. It’s all a very neat little package. The past cannot be changed or escaped, but our emotional and intellectual attitudes toward it can be radically altered. Change happens in the subconscious. Since emotions play a large role in our activity, thoughts and actions, they are an intuitive seat of transformation.

----

I think the stress and anxiety that puts the body into a state of anhedonia are rooted in a... dysfunction of fear processing. Our subconscious tells us to stay in a state of hypervigilance, and we never quite get out of that fearful state of being. I think hypnosis would make sense in telling the subconscious to .. calm down and be at peace. Sounds like it might be promising.

Edited by ecstazy
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