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


itstrevor

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Also, I read through a few posts which I am trying not to do because otherwise other peoples' experiences effect my own, and despair is a really big trigger for me, but I really do not see master bates sion as harmful and as a trigger for anhedonic symptoms. Was the poster using any substances, have any stressful situations or life changes, or change habits (eating/sleep)? I'm not saying it can't happen but that certainly is a new one...

As far as motivation goes, sometimes when I am anhedonic I do things anyways because I don't really feel the dread associated with doing things I know I should (but then no reward as well). It's a feeling like "ugh might as well do something useful while I'm stuck like this."

So yeah slowly chipping away at this electric car/compressed gas vehicle that also runs off of biomass/trash gasified and put into cylinders for extended range. It does get tough at times - especially as the day progresses. Sometimes I feel that perhaps it is the setraline doing this to me as it kicks in - making me feel more irritable - but the thought of dropping my dose to nothing and risking having to go back on it keeps me motivated enough to continue with the ultra slow taper. 9mg to go...

Edited by itstrevor
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As far as ECT I highly recommend Dr. Kramer in Los Angeles. I had no memory side effects whatsoever and only mild nausea the first time. I don't really know if ECT is a good solution though because it's effects might be temporary. For me for some reason after ECT after months of being fine on parnate, my catecholamine levels suddenly raised to dangerous levels over the course of a few weeks. I did have a nice window after ECT like a week later though.

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Oh my god!!!!!

I have been reading Trevor's topic since like 1 in the morning and if I could I would have cried tears of relief !

Last year in September I had a traumatic experience and I ended up getting really down, I never really thought I would end up depressed but during those months I became so anxious so down that one day I woke up and even after I had resolved my stresses I woke up feeling really down. Then came extreme anxiety and the worst period in my life . I became depressed but I had resolved my issues but somehow couldn't get "up" again ..

It continued to worsen, everyday I woke up with intense sadness,couldn't talk and such horrible feelings I had never experienced .it was like my brain was fuzzing away, in the day time it would be like this and suddenly in the evenings it was literally like my brain readjusted and I would feel motivated again ,laugh again,felt positive and felt love for my people.

But whilst every night I thought "oh it's gone away" and sleeping normally at night I would wake up and it would be a real bad down again..I couldn't figure it out and was like "but I was ok last night and nothing's bothering me so what's happened" eventually it got worse that even in the evenings I I wouldn't feel ok

This event was triggered after extreme sadness,divorce and stress

Anyway the next few months were hell, I felt suicidal, It was like I couldn't recognise the world anymore ..slowly it got to the point where I was like "what's the point" in everything..

I took citalopram because I couldn't continue living like that..

Eventually the feeling down went away (I spent 6 monts in bed) I couldn't even work I'm off sick, everything that had mattered I couldn't care about, my job, a house ,my family all I felt was horrible

Anyway it did change slowly to the point where I could get up and I'm functioning

But everything u have described in anehondia is like someone is describing me..

I feel no emotion ,no attachment towards my family or anything materialistic .my job I used to love but I can't feel any motivation ..

I used to wake up in the morning and feel the birds singing and it would remind u of someting pleasant

I used to listen to music and it used to evoke so much emotion in me

I used to feel strong love for my ex partner and family

Now nothing ..first I thought oh this is part of depression but as the last two months have gone on I feel confused and suocidal because without feeling how can u live? How am I going to have a relationship if I don't feel that rush of chemistry

I used to want children but I can't feel anything ..there's no point in getting up because there's no feeling ..and day by day i feel even more distant like my emotions are a long gone memory

I read this thread hoping to come to the end where Trevor finds a cure and I can't beleive its been like two years he has still felt the same

I'm wondering if that's going to be me too and I am so scared

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Oh my god!!!!!

I have been reading Trevor's topic since like 1 in the morning and if I could I would have cried tears of relief !

Last year in September I had a traumatic experience and I ended up getting really down, I never really thought I would end up depressed but during those months I became so anxious so down that one day I woke up and even after I had resolved my stresses I woke up feeling really down. Then came extreme anxiety and the worst period in my life . I became depressed but I had resolved my issues but somehow couldn't get "up" again ..

It continued to worsen, everyday I woke up with intense sadness,couldn't talk and such horrible feelings I had never experienced .it was like my brain was fuzzing away, in the day time it would be like this and suddenly in the evenings it was literally like my brain readjusted and I would feel motivated again ,laugh again,felt positive and felt love for my people.

But whilst every night I thought "oh it's gone away" and sleeping normally at night I would wake up and it would be a real bad down again..I couldn't figure it out and was like "but I was ok last night and nothing's bothering me so what's happened" eventually it got worse that even in the evenings I I wouldn't feel ok

This event was triggered after extreme sadness,divorce and stress

Anyway the next few months were hell, I felt suicidal, It was like I couldn't recognise the world anymore ..slowly it got to the point where I was like "what's the point" in everything..

I took citalopram because I couldn't continue living like that..

Eventually the feeling down went away (I spent 6 monts in bed) I couldn't even work I'm off sick, everything that had mattered I couldn't care about, my job, a house ,my family all I felt was horrible

Anyway it did change slowly to the point where I could get up and I'm functioning

But everything u have described in anehondia is like someone is describing me..

I feel no emotion ,no attachment towards my family or anything materialistic .my job I used to love but I can't feel any motivation ..

I used to wake up in the morning and feel the birds singing and it would remind u of someting pleasant

I used to listen to music and it used to evoke so much emotion in me

I used to feel strong love for my ex partner and family

Now nothing ..first I thought oh this is part of depression but as the last two months have gone on I feel confused and suocidal because without feeling how can u live? How am I going to have a relationship if I don't feel that rush of chemistry

I used to want children but I can't feel anything ..there's no point in getting up because there's no feeling ..and day by day i feel even more distant like my emotions are a long gone memory

I read this thread hoping to come to the end where Trevor finds a cure and I can't beleive its been like two years he has still felt the same

I'm wondering if that's going to be me too and I am so scared

Did you already had the anhedonia before you started the citalopram? I imagine you were put on a relatively high dose, maybe it is related to that?

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As I mentioned before, once stabilized on citalopram (which is probably one of the better SSRIs because it is easier to come off of due to longer half life and milder action) wean slowly off of it while retaining the anti-anxiety effect (go as fast as your body will allow without symptoms returning or even slower). I'm in a fine state right now - anhedonic, yeah, a bit, but I'm still on an SSRI. It's not a permanent state, but anxiety, depression, psychotropics, and stress can perpetuate it.

Anxiety is usually due to negative feedback loops that grow out of conscious control. You feel terrible, so you feel anxious, so you feel terrible, etc. Acceptance (not giving in, just acceptance that it is there but isn't permanent or dangerous) helps healing occur faster. This is basically what they teach you in therapy. Anyways, I am now on less than 9mg of Sertraline without any withdrawals or anxiety whatsoever.

Also, yeah, I don't even really think about my condition or anhedonia anymore. That tells you how much I have improved. I do feel it increase when my sertraline hits peak plasma concentrations which suggests that it is related to SSRI use. I don't really care - which is a useful feature of SSRIs. They help you "chill" and not worry so much. I got so worked up and worried about the anhedonia and the thought that it might be permanent that I was perpetuating it.

Yes, I know it's easier said than done. You will probably feel terrible about it regardless, but with time, you will accept it and get better.

Another thing was that I made mistake after mistake. I took Abilify (which flattens my mood), Wellbutrin and other NRIs (which created anxiety), Parnate, benzodiazepines, and Stimulants. I know plenty of people who have taken Stimulants, benzodiazepines, and SSRIs who were blunted - some for years - came off of them slowly and returned to baseline. It does return to normal. Studies even show return of health in m-amph. users. The ashton manual mentions return of baseline in patients suffering from benzo w/d. Almost all members on Paxilprogress who thought they would never return to baseline did. I know people who were blunted on stimulants for a long time. My aunt was blunted on Abilify. Another person I met was blunted for 2 years.

Edited by itstrevor
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Obviously I shouldn't be the end-all opinion and that's why corroboration is so important - but going on this forum can act like a trigger of sorts - make you feel despairing. It really can't be permanent when I've read so many people and studies that show that it is reversible.

Do I look like a person who doesn't know what he's talking about?

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There is a reason that studies consistently show that return of symptoms and withdrawal syndrome (characterized by anhedonic symptoms) is much greater in Paxil (SSRI with VERY short half-life) than Prozac (MUCH longer half-life) and in those who taper too quickly. The fast tapering creates a state of shock in the brain and induces that negative feedback loop I mentioned (which begins to get out of control).

This negative feedback loop can be fed by anxiety and despair while the brain tries to readjust.

People often wonder how it is you cannot seem to control your own thoughts and how such a thing can "get out of control." The analogy I will make is that your consciousness is like the head executive of your body and brain - it does control it, but it can only focus on one thing at a time. Meanwhile the brain does many things at once and creates thought processes/filters things subconsciously. In this way, things can get difficult to manage.

Instead of thinking of the anhedonia as inherently bad, think of it as the brain resting and like being in a "bubble bath" or "cotton sheet" without any cares. If you have experiences extreme anxiety you will appreciate this. Obviously, it would be difficult to appreciate if it was permanent, but it really is not in all of the reading I've done.

Edited by itstrevor
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After many decades of suffering Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Anhedonia which were all almost always made worse, but never better, by a long list of SSRI's, TCA's, MAOI's it is hard for me to think of these 'cancers of the spirit' as being 'non-permanent'.

However....I bow to your expertise and hope for your sake that you are correct.

I agree itstrevor....wanting to die is an accurate way to describe severe, unrelenting, depression.

gravity

gravity

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Right now I'm currently feeling numb and can't seem to express any form of expression at all: feel like a zombie and half the time I don't even know what's going on. Currently on Prozac and not sure if it's a side effect to the medication or if I'm close to having a breakdown... it kinda makes me nervous. :verysad3:

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SSRIs and Antipsychotics can produce the "numbness," but coming off of them too quickly can induce a shock to the brain which causes protracted withdrawal (including more numbness). Staying stable and reducing at an appropriate rate is crucial. Prozac can obviously cause the numbing, and so can antipsychotics (though I have only seroquel and abilify under my belt - both of which did exactly that to me). Stress induced anhedonia takes time to reverse, but if given the opportunity to heal - it will. I know a person who lived in Cuba during the communist takeover and who was tortured and jailed and got better after becoming malnourished and nearly psychotic. The brain is simply wired to ensure survival and reward is vital.

Also, the closer you come to the end of the taper the more difficult it becomes because drug's effects become less even throughout the day and because of nonlinear dose/effect curves.

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I am noticing improvements in anhedonia more and more as I decrease my dose.

Edited by itstrevor
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Also, I would like to know all of those people out there in college that I no longer support the educational system in the United States.

Just to add to my disdain for the educational system - a friend of mine was asked an ambiguous question on a homework assignment. What is cos(195 degrees)? Seems simple enough, right? The only problem was that there were no parentheses in the possible answers provided, so the only way to arrive at an answer was to go through every iteration of possibilities to arrive at one that might work.

This is just a one-time thing, right? Just a slip up in the system. NO. In my time at university this type of bulls*** was an ongoing problem and is simply unacceptable. Many professors make regaining points lost this way unreasonably difficult and/or impossible. After all, you are just a college student and lucky to simply "be graced by having been accepted at ____ campus."

This is a repeated problem that I went into excruciating detail about in a link I think I posted somewhere here to my collegeconfidential thread. This type of thing produces baseless feelings of inadequacy in students which, after chronic exposure, can lead directly to anxiety disorders, extreme stress, and depression (this is not a baseless claim and studies among university students back this up as well).

THINGS LIKE THIS REALLY pi** ME OFF BECAUSE THERE IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM AND ANXIETY/STRESS/DEPRESSIVE DISORDERS RESULT FROM THIS SORT OF CHRONIC BULLs***.

TWO people I know had their transcripts lost at CSUCI. Students are forced to sign that if they are dissatisfied with the service provided, even after paying for education, there are no refunds. This type of thing would be unacceptable in almost any other industry.

Edited by itstrevor
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as far as being 'ambitious' umm no, i think its impossible to be ambitious and anhedonic at the sme time..ambitious people find reward in the things they are seeking out..a person that is truly anhedonic eventually gets to the point where they only do things that they HAVE to do, work, eat, sleep etc etc..they will not be seeking things out on a regular basis imo..

Not true... Absolutely you you can be ambitious and anhedonic at the same time. Ambition is the drive to seek more and more success (more and more pleasure), it is the drive/desire to experience pleasure. Anhedonia prevents you from experiencing pleasure, but it doesn't stop you from wanting it. To the contrary, the more you can't feel it, the more you want it. I have read rat studies, rats who have less dopamine receptors aka less ability to enjoy the food are the ones who worked the hardest for more of it. I am the most ambitious person I have ever met in my entire life and the also the most anhedonic person I have ever met. I have full blown anhedonia, to the point where I don't even have windows anymore. Also note that ambition and motivation are not the same thing. I am extremely ambitious yet have almost zero motivation. It is a very distressing state but don't think it's impossible. Every little thing I do feels like climbing a mountain. You wouldn't believe how hard I have to force myself just to complete the most simple tasks of day to day living. That a person could be as ambitious as me yet have as little motivation as I have is the epitome of irony.

i would like to know where you read this study on rats?i have read studies where rats were basically depleted of dopamine and they just sat there, barely even ate..the last thing they did was seek out pleasure..they didnt seek out anything..all i can say is that in my case and in many other sufferers case, when you are very anhedonic, your life closes in on you and it become pointless to do much of anything besides the bare basics..

if you are so ambitious, yet experience no reward time and time again, what keeps your ambitio so high?it doesnt make sense to me..look at the vast majority of shizophrenics with anhedonia, they just sit in a room all day..

your last sentence is bizarre, you say you are very ambitious yet have very little motivation..again, this does not make sense to me..

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I can comment on being anhedonic yet "ambitious." I seem to fall under the same boat. I don't have the feeling of motivation, ambition, or reward, but something in me still strives for things, despite knowing I wont get a real reward. It has now been a full calender year since I've been numb. In that time, I have started my own business, taken big steps in other industries of my life and will be graduating college in a few months. People probably see me as a real go getter, which I used to be, and still am despite being anhedonic. Ive actually found Im less inhibited than ever before. Probably because although I cant feel anything, I cant really feel dissapointment, and I feel like I have nothing to lose. Id strike up a conversation with anyone, while before I was a little more introverted. Ive found I need to keep busy and stimulated just so get by and not let the anhedonia rot me away. Also I think all of us in the back of our minds, atleast subconciously, think that one day we will have emotions and reward again. That makes us want to not keel over and die, but try to uphold things while we are numb.

I can't picture a day where my emotions come back. While numb its so hard to even imagine what a normal person feels like. I cant relate at all. Its too the point where I often forget that there is something wrong with me, and I dont think about my condition as much. I have an appointment with the best psych hospital in the world in a few weeks. Hopefully that helps and their doctors can help me. I really want ECT.

Edited by pjs14
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@ pjs14

This is remarkable to me. I myself also finished a university degree and hold a steady job, have a fairly active lifestyle, but my condition still takes a huge toll on my possibilities.

I just don't have the emotional energy to strike up a lot of random conversations. In fact I think feel people want emotions and and I don't have a lot of them. Is your social life unaffected? If so it's very different for me.

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@appn

I see what you mean. I do feel limited in many ways. Theres only so many jobs i think i could take on right now. I feel like I cant really learn new things. My social life is affected I do the bare minimum, I dont reach out to friends alot, Im no where near as romantic and loving towards my girlfriend. I used to be a very warm and romantic type. I think people who know me well can tell something is missing in me, but you cant tell for the most part I seem extremely normal.

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Answers To Curing Anhedonia/numbness/zombieness/no Emotions/apathy/no Libido. Collective Experiences

I was on a lot of antidepressants and nothing worked actually made it worse to the point of agoraphobia.

.

began taking focalin 15mg a day and within 2 days i had my life back and now i am off all antidepressants and benzos all i take is the focalin..

List of my experienced Focalin benefits: within days


Complete elimination of anxiety
Normal, clear thought process
Much better ability to express emotion
Creativity through the roof
Excellent motivation
Great enjoyment in nearly everything
Far greater social life due to increased confidence and ability to think (easier to converse, give advice, offer solutions etc)

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Hello there!

Very intersting topic, i have been suffering from anhedonia for the last 12 years. My anhedonia got induced by taking yhe antidepressant paxil for 1 year at 15... my anhedonia is the kind of when u feel like you have no self at all and no emotions (good or bad) and my mind feels empty all the time. I have to say that it changed a lot during the last 12 years and i had many different symptoms along it like anxiety, derealization, ocd, depression. But the anhedonia got progressevily worse over time and now all other symptoms are gone except the anhedonia or emotional anesthesia. I am now completely numb and dont even get reward from drugs or alcool anymore. Just one year ago i was working and was able to feel some small rewards whether from drugs or alcool. I no longer can work now and cannot feel anything anymore.

Ever since becoming totally numb i started having lots of suicidal thoughts because i just dont see the point anymore to live this meaningless life. I think in my case anhedonia has to do with downregulation of 5ht2a receptor cause by paxil when i was younger and for some reason it just got worse. Low dose psychedelic drugs would help alleviate anhedonia in the past making me temporaly more emotionally reactive but no anymore....it just seems like my 5ht2a receptors are fried now :-( i may try taking st-john wort long term as i heard it can upregulate those receptors but other than that i dont know any strategies to upregulate those receptors.

For anyone who feels his anhedonia is more like emotional anesthesia (feeling nothing good or bad) i encourage you to look for the 5ht2a receptor as i dont think emotional anesthesia has anything to do with dopamine but more serotonin and maybe try st-john wort. Low dose psychedelic can be helpful short term too but be careful, on low doses i never had any trip, i was just a bit more reactive emotionally. I will also try to get dbs in a near future as i feellike i am out of options. I did try a lot of approach, both conventional and unconventional and not much thing hepped my anhedonia. I think that ssri induced anhedonia is one of the worst kind of anhedonia to get rid off, especially if you got it when you were a teenager and your brain was developping.

Honestly i think its completely criminal for psychiatrist to give powerful psych drugs to kids who are developping their brains and personality. I never had any kind of depression or anhedonia before taking paxil, what i had was social anxiety but other than that i was a happy normal kid. Psychiatry destroyed my life and i bet most cases of persistant anhedonia are caused mainly by psychiatry and all their pseudo-science disorders and bulls***.

Good luck to all, i think anhedonia is the worst thing that can happen to a human person. Hell id rather be in a wheelchair than live this miserable existence. Best wishes to everyone and hopefully some of us will feel alive again. Dont be scared to try other unconventional approach because if you listen to your doctor you may not go anywhere because they dont know crap about anhedonia.

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FocalinXR is currently off label for depression as far as I know, but it does to my brain what the SNRI were supposed to do. I had no jitters, nervous, agitation at all. I was immediately better and after couple days 20 mg the depression was hugely shifted, mood stable, anxiety reduced and I even had a libido. Unlike Ritalin, it doesn't screw with sleep much - in fact,i dropped my benzos all together becauseit seems to calm anxiety instead of making it worse. I think FocalinXR will take stage as depression treatment for people who need it.

Wanted to share to anyone who is casting about for med. I also think this affect isn't like an ADD drug - doesn't just wear off after 10-12 hours, but seems to be affecting my overall brain, the way that antidepressants do. I mean raise the baseline over all. It's not generic in XR and I pay highest premium with insurance, but this is a med that is worth it. The action is so much smoother than Ritalin XR or Concerta (which built up in my system and made me mean.) It reduces appetite but I can live with that side affect - have lost a few pounds. wife asked me last night I was back on mood stabilizer, I'd been so much better last couple of months. I told her: no, my ADD drug has cured my depression. I had ADD all my life and it was never diagnosed..

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I've been this way for two years and three months. It's so very hard. I feel like this is the way I'm going to have to live for the rest of my life. It's like I have to live completely selfless because I still can affect change with my actions but I just can't feel anything from it. How about you pjs 14? How long have you had anhedonia? How did it start and how do you cope with daily living?

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