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


itstrevor

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I tried wellbutrin months ago only for 2 weeks. It made me more stimulated, motivated, alert , but didnt do anything for anhedonia. Kinda like how a normal person would feel after coffee. I stopped and realized for this type of depression, meds dont seem to help, and ssris are known for blunted emotions. So I guess we will see what happens with time.

Ive never done a drug or even smoked garden shrub in my life. Occasionaly drank. But not alot. I have a wicked sweet tooth and could eat all day if i wanted. I am in good shape, but maybe my binge eating played into this. I stopped doing that I eat healthy now and dont ever binge, but i used to when i was normal.

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^^ive tried welbutrin, abilify and a few other stim type drugs and like you, i feel more stimulated and energetic i guess..maybe a little more motivation but it felt artificial and it didnt help the core anhedonia at all..interestingly the stims did seem to help my anticipation of certain events but didnt help me enjoy anything if that makes any sense at all..after having been through this for a long time , ive learned there are numerous factors/aspects to the disorder..motivation, anticipation, enjoyment, energy all seem to have different pathways and to be able to hit them directly without messing up other areas(appetite, anxiety) is very hard..

Pks14-so how do you pass the time?what does your doctor recommend next?

the 20s are a very important time in ones life..maintaing the friendships you have is extremely important and maintaining some active social life is as well but this is all very hard if not impossible if you have anhedonia..

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Yes exactly, thats why I decided to not take meds. There is just too many things going on that control emotions/enjoyment. Fixing one problem will mess up another. My doctors recommend trying an anti depressant, but I dont want to. The people on here who have beat this, havent taken meds. I seriously havent read of one person on here that has gotten legit/sustainable results from a med. Im not looking to be artifically happy, I want to be sad when something sad happens, happy when something good happens etc etc. My plan now is to eat healthy and exercise and sleep well and hopefully over time it gets better. I am a normal 23 year old kid with a normal up bringing. Before this happened I was very passionate, warm, loving, funny etc.

I have done a good job of keeping my life together. I am pretty busy, I coach a youth hockey team, work as a strength and conditioning coach, have a girlfriend (who I started dating back when I was normal). Just got an offer to coach another hockey team. The world is at my feet Im just trying to keep it all together , but I think after probably the 2 year mark Ill give up. But until then I keep up with appearances, act completely normal in public, youd never guess if you met me. Its been 7 months, at the 2 year mark Ill probably just ask the doctors if they can put me in a coma or something, or Ill move to the mountains alone or something. Maybe they will make advancements by then, my doctor said they had just watched a presentation on new TMS system, so maybe that or ECT would be an option I dont know. Im gonna give it another 17 months of being healthy, advancing my life/career like I am, etc etc, then If im not better, I quit.

I used to have grand plans of having a family and a house with a porch, and I dont want to get married or do any of that if I cant feel anything.

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I have a question for anyone who will explain it to me. I never knew what anhedonia was, but what it describes is me when im on my medication. If im off my medication(not taking it) I'm an emotional mess. It sounds wrong but i enjoy being anhedonic rather than a sloppy emotional mess. When im emotional i can't control myself or my moods. I might be wrong in describing this, but this is the closest answer i've had to explaining how i feel with medication.

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ive never been an emotional mess but i imagine then you would at least be able to enjoy the positive moods, times of elation..with anhedonia, your world is grey, no good or bad times, its like you are stuck in neutral..it gets to the point where u basically end up sitting in a room all day as there isnt much reason to go out and do things other than to say 'you did so and so' over the weekend..

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OK, so. Risperidone:

currently at 2mg, planning to increase again soon.

During first two weeks, I felt more present in daily activities, i.e. engaged. I have become interested in a few things. I have read a few pages of interesting books here and there. Music is passingly interesting again, which hitherto defined my life. Not reached "pre-anhedonia" levels of interest, if such a thing exists. But ANY level of interest and enjoyment or satisfaction is an improvement because it has been completely closed to me in (at least) the past year, minus a few moments of reprieve during fleeting bupropion/adderall honeymoons. I have had the stirrings of desire to pick up the sketchbook or the guitar (though no action yet. Still, stirrings is better than nothing).

Have found simple humor funny, and have laughed at some things on tv, radio, or written, AND have gotten a bit tearful at maudlin narratives. This is a seachange. Especially so because I have been alone when they have occurred, and I have not had anyone else around to piggyback on their emotions, so to speak.

In short, feeling less wooden and more like a dynamic person. Sad to say that benefits have subsided somewhat after those first two weeks. Hope I can reclaim them with a dosage increase.

Has anyone else tried an atypical, having had anhedonia and an extremely flat affect? I would like to recommend it, but I have no idea about how different the pathologies of anhedonia can be, or whether the risperidone is directly affecting the anhedonia, or some larger symptomolgy, which then in turn affects anhedonia. I certainly have other depressive issues we're trying to treat.

edit: should add I felt some of these positives the first 36 hours after initial dose, if that's even possible.

Edited by Saros
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At some page long ago I found some treatment of Schizoid Personality Disorder. For the anhedonia Wellbutrin was given and for flat affect a low dose of atypical antipsychotic ( I think risperidone ). Sounds plausible that Neuroleptic acts fast as I know of someone else saying that she responded quickly and the mechanism of antipsychotic is not like SSRI which is said to work by downregulation of HT-receptors.

Maybe neuroleptic is a bit cleaner when it comes to dopamine than Benzodiazepine or perhaps it's the HT-2c / HT-2a antagonism which helps as HT-2c antagonism works by decoupling GABA interneurons from SerotoninTerminal (NDDI mechanism) at least that's what I think Stephen M Stahl is saying. One of the HT-2c sites are prefrontal cortex. Benzodiazepine zonks those and there seems to be some evidence that Prefrontal cortex is involved in some or many cases of depression (hypofrontality). I am unsure of pathogenesis but flat affect seems to happen to Psychostimulant-users(?), Schizophrenia and PTSD.

PTSD seems like a state of hypervigilance and it seems reasonable that catecholamine-levels "should "be high. There also seems to be some dopamine (D2) lowering activities from Citalopram (SSRI).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18925655

That could also help for getting flat. Too much = Downregulation = flat, too little or blocked activity = flat.

If it's about D2 then partial Dopamine D2 agonism like low dose Amisulpride or x dose of Aripiprazole could be a better bet than Risperidone but it's of course individual and practise comes first.

"This" has been brought up earlier in the thread concerned as "possible overstimulation of certain areas". I guess 98% of psychiatrist would simply call it "anxiety".

And btw they were drugging me for Schizophrenia "negative symptoms". 6-8 mg risperidone for like 2 years. I lost my faith in humanity after that.

Edited by General_Failure
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And btw they were drugging me for Schizophrenia "negative symptoms". 6-8 mg risperidone for like 2 years. I lost my faith in humanity after that.

Would you mind expanding on this, if you don't mind? Was the negative reaction due to indiscrimnate prescription of risperidone, and did it cause more problems? Thanks.

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They should have waited and observed for a week or two. It was mainly due to prescription. The drug most noticeably caused severe EPS and lethargy, it also caused a severe 4-5 year depression go untreated for another 2 years despite me as a first thing asking them for antidepressants. To it's "defence" it might have had some moodstabilizing properties or if that was when it was augmented with lithium. Being put on a SSRI after those years was like night and day. The first 2-3 weeks I actually looked forwards getting out of the bed. I don't know if there was some Risperidone left in the bloodstream which could have potentiated Fluoxetine or if it semi- "pooped out" after a while. Faith in humanity was meant as a bit melodrama but it's an eyeopener when one gets a bit "unlucky" in the hands of experts.

Edited by General_Failure
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How fast does a opiate addiction take to start. If I took one hydrocondone painkiller, to expirement to see if it helps anhedonia, is there a chance id become addicted? I dont want to become a drug addict , just want to see if it does anything.

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How fast does a opiate addiction take to start. If I took one hydrocondone painkiller, to expirement to see if it helps anhedonia, is there a chance id become addicted? I dont want to become a drug addict , just want to see if it does anything.

Varies between people. Addiction happens because you teach a brain there's a connection between pleasure and some thing. I imagine it's easier to forge that connection when the pleasure is much greater. The brain learns the connection, and continues to desire the stimulus even after a loss of efficacy. Paradoxically, it seems a loss of efficacy translates to the desire becoming greater. Time doesn't seem to help some people's brains un-learn that connection.

After one pill? I have no idea, though it seems unlikely. I'm not a physician. If I were you I would ask one. They can't take it away from you. If you're concerned about addiction, you might re-consider taking any. While a few may not be addictive, taking them regularly to manage depressive symptoms will stack the deck against you.

There are non-addictive dopaminergic anti-depressants if you haven't already explored them.

Edited by Saros
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Thanks for that info Saros. I havent tried any meds at all yet except bupropion months ago, but I only took it for 2 weeks. It helped libido, motivation, made me talkative, stimulated and outgoing, but didnt touch the anhedonia.

I am wary of opiates because I am not looking to just regain pleasure and euphoria. I want all the little feelings of life back. The feeling of the holiday season, and the warmth of it, and all the little things. Not just to be high/euphoric. But on the other hand I feel like I have nothing to lose and might as well start trying meds, as its been 8 months now without improvement.

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I'm finally starting to FEEL again!!! I can laugh and smile and enjoy simple things again. I feel more in love with my husband than I have in YEARS.

There IS hope!

I've been on a lot of drugs, but my psychiatrist upped my Welbutrin to 450 mg 4 weeks ago and I'm finally feeling better!

So these are the drugs I am on:

Geodon 80mg 2x a day

Lexapro 20 mg

Welbutrin 450 mg

I just wanted to post a success story here. I have suffered for 9 years...and it took getting a new psychiatrist to help me. My old psychiatrist pretty much thought if you weren't suicidal, you were good to go. My new psychiatrist told me that he was going to ATTACK my depression and anhedonia. He said that he doesn't do anything half xxxed (his exact words!) and that we WOULD find the right combination of meds that would help lift me out of the pits. He was right! I used to be on only 150 mg of Welbutrin, but that wasn't enough for me.

One very big bonus...I have totally lost my love of food, I'm very rarely hungry. I have lost 5 pounds in the past 2 weeks...that makes me very happy since I need to lose weight.

I hope those who have posted on this thread may continue to try meds...at least for me, I had to hit the right combination. I also continue to see my psychologist once a week for therapy. I know that meds only is not the answer for me, I need a combination of meds and therapy.

Be well!

Gayle

Edited by Gayle8675309
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Wow gayle........Congradulations and WELCOME!

Love your post and wish I had your new Dr. So happy for you!

May I ask what your dianosis is? I was on Lexapro for a long time but it never worked for my depression.

Wellbutrin is something I may re-try after reading your post. I had extreme anx but it was a generic & there was a rumer it was a bad batch as many people had very bad ractions. Anyway....my dose was too low just like yours. Do you have any s/e's from it?

I have never tried geodon and not sure what symptoms it treats. Think I have read that it causes weight issues which you mention, so don't beat yourself up?

IDK gayle.......just happy you are doing so well and finally getting the help you needed all along! 9 years of suffering &patience!

(My dr's have been the same as your old dr!!! Makes me so angry!)

Keep us posted re/ your progress. This is wonderful news for you!

Happy Thanksgiving :turkey1: :turkey: :thanksgivingpilgrim7lq: ............gravity

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Good for you Gayle that must feel great after all those years. Was your anhedonia complete 24/7 throughout that time? Or did it fluctuate?

Although your post is great news, there is one disheartening part. It took you 9 years and now a combination of 3 meds. Theres so many meds and things out there and seems like once you go on the mission of finding the right ones, it takes years to find the right dosages and combos. It also speaks to the fact that meds might be necessary, and the only way out.

9 years is so long, it makes me sick knowing that its even possible to go that long without feelings. Im only on 8 months and Its truely an unbearable condition.

Thats great you finally have an answer, let us now if it holds up! I hope I didnt come off as too negative, i wish the best for you.

Edited by pjs14
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Hi Gravity, thanks for your encouragment.

Hi pjs14. no you didn't come off too negative at all.

I'll try to answer your questions:

My diagnosis is Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), General Anxiety and PTSD (from childhood/early adult abuse) I'm not really convinced of the PTSD, but my psychologist and psychiatrist both say that I have it, so I guess I must defer to them.

My anhedonia has not been constant for 9 years, guess I should have been more clear. I've had a deep, deep depression for 9 years, twice so bad that I became suicidal and ended up in the hospital psych unit. But for most of my depression I COULD feel things...I felt very, very sad and hopeless. My doctors even suggested that I try ECT as no drug seemed to help lift me from the depression, and I was considering it.

My anhedonia started last year soon after I got out of the hospital for the suicidal thoughts. Although my depression was finally treatable especially with the addition of Geodon, I stopped feeling anything. I was neither sad or happy. I felt nothing. That's been about a year, and yes it's been constant...no "windows" of feeling times.

The Geodon was an absolute LIFE SAVER for me...and I mean that. I went into the hospital in August 2012 because I could barely restrain myself from suicide. The psychiatrist started me on Geodon and, I kid you not...in TWO DAYS I felt 100% better! It is a miracle drug for my depression. My only fear is that it was causing my anhedonia, since that started after starting the Geodon. But I couldn't stop the Geodon, as I know I would have killed myself without it. That was a scary place to be, wanting more than anything to die. Nothing seemed to help, not thinking of my husband or my daughter, nothing stopped the suicidal thoughts.

Here's an article on Geodon being used to treat depression (hope it's ok to post a link here, if not, I'm sorry):

http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20040324/schizophrenia-drug-used-for-depression

Now the Welbutrin 450 mg. The only side effect I am having is that it has taken away my hunger...it is very simple not to overeat, and as I said, I am losing weight. An added bonus. Some people report that Welbutrin makes them hyper and unable to sleep, but I take mine in the morning as one dose and have no troubles at all. I am on the extended release Welbutrin.

I'm a 49 year old female, with bouts of depression my whole life, but ever since my cancer diagnosis 9 years ago (I'm fine now) my depression was constant and deep.

I wish you both well, and hope that you can find some relief of your anhedonia!

Be well.

Gayle

Edited by Gayle8675309
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OP UPDATE 11/24/2013

Okay it's been a while since I've posted so I'm going to give an update. I went off Parnate and experienced excruciating withdrawals for about a month and ended up in the ward again for 3 weeks. I thought I was going to die. It gave me a bunch of psychosomatic symptoms like weird pulse up and down bp fever sweating etc. It was awful. The good thing is that I had a few decent/good cries, however, I was nauseated and vomiting and absolutely crazy. My moods were really up and down and all over.

Okay so they tried me on cymbalta. Amped me way up and made me worse (SNRI)

Next was Remeron. Good for sleep, right? Amped me way up and made me more queasy

Next was Abilify like I tried before. Caused more insomnia and amped me up

Okayyy then I called my relatives to see what they used. They use Zoloft. I was desperate due to the anxiety so I started taking it. First 25mg now 50mg. Not too high, and I'm not happy about it, but it precipitated what looks like a positive trend. Trying to stay off meds but looks like it's going to have to be there for a while to keep me stable. The good news is the brain can regain health in 6mos-2years so even if I screw up it's not hopeless. I know in a year if I'm on the right trend I'll be out. I just discovered that ANXIETY PRODUCES THE NUMBNESS. So taking stimulating meds = more numbness. No wonder I've been like this so long.

I know I was never going to take a SSRI, but I can't rely on benzos and I have nowhere else to turn here. I can at least cope with life with 50mg zoloft... for now. Also starting therapy.

Also tried Seroquel. Seems like the APs aren't for me. They really sort of even out moods in an annoying restrictive way and can increase anxiety. Don't take my word for it. Anyways, I'm back on meds again because I really am not too emotionally stable

Edited by itstrevor
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itstrevor...Welcome Back to your anhedonia thread/topic.....

Getting off of Parnate was pure misery for me as well. Almost impossible to describe.

Recently I replied to a PM from a df member who is considering Parnate and I said the same in detail.

Since then I've been feeling that maybe I was wrong :no: to say how awful it was to stop Parnate (for me) b/c I don't want to discourage anyone.from any treatment that may bring relief. I'm inspired by the many people who have had great success w/ Parnate and the other MAOI's

That said....your Parnate W/D nightmare validated my experience itstrevor So glad you re over the worst..

Guess it's true...Knowledge is Power.

Knowing what I know now...perhaps Parnate users might be prudent to plan on a slow W/D w/ Medical support if they find it necessary to stop taking the MAOI.

It's Important to remember we all respond differently! I wish everyone success w/ their treatments.

gravity :turkey1: :thanksgivingpilgrim7lq: :turkey: :thanksgivingindian5xs:

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Yup, and I think Im getting better. Currently I take: omega 3, multivitamin and minerals, mirtazapine 45mg (2,5 months now), venlafaxine (4rd day) and NAC (which is used to treat negative symptoms). English isn't my primary language, so sry 4 any errors :P

edit: And I dont have paranoid schizophrenia. Maybe, just maybe - simplex.

Edited by neur0nz
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OP UPDATE 11/24/2013

Okay it's been a while since I've posted so I'm going to give an update. I went off Parnate and experienced excruciating withdrawals for about a month and ended up in the ward again for 3 weeks. I thought I was going to die. It gave me a bunch of psychosomatic symptoms like weird pulse up and down bp fever sweating etc. It was awful. The good thing is that I had a few decent/good cries, however, I was nauseated and vomiting and absolutely crazy. My moods were really up and down and all over.

Okay so they tried me on cymbalta. Amped me way up and made me worse (SNRI)

Next was Remeron. Good for sleep, right? Amped me way up and made me more queasy

Next was Abilify like I tried before. Caused more insomnia and amped me up

Okayyy then I called my relatives to see what they used. They use Zoloft. I was desperate due to the anxiety so I started taking it. First 25mg now 50mg. Not too high, and I'm not happy about it, but it precipitated what looks like a positive trend. Trying to stay off meds but looks like it's going to have to be there for a while to keep me stable. The good news is the brain can regain health in 6mos-2years so even if I screw up it's not hopeless. I know in a year if I'm on the right trend I'll be out. I just discovered that ANXIETY PRODUCES THE NUMBNESS. So taking stimulating meds = more numbness. No wonder I've been like this so long.

I know I was never going to take a SSRI, but I can't rely on benzos and I have nowhere else to turn here. I can at least cope with life with 50mg zoloft... for now. Also starting therapy.

Also tried Seroquel. Seems like the APs aren't for me. They really sort of even out moods in an annoying restrictive way and can increase anxiety. Don't take my word for it. Anyways, I'm back on meds again because I really am not too emotionally stable

i knew from day one you were someone that needed serotonergic substances :) happy for you

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this bit

Okayyy then I called my relatives to see what they used. They use Zoloft. I was desperate due to the anxiety so I started taking it. First 25mg now 50mg. Not too high, and I'm not happy about it, but it precipitated what looks like a positive trend.

and this bit

I know in a year if I'm on the right trend I'll be out. I just discovered that ANXIETY PRODUCES THE NUMBNESS. So taking stimulating meds = more numbness. No wonder I've been like this so long.

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