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


itstrevor

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Tingles how did it start? Mines been 12 months of full blown numbness and 13 months of when signs started popping up. Im coping alot better now than in the begining. Im like too numb to really panic about it. Its frusterating, I used to be a real religious person , and now I dont believe in god at all. Having anhedonia is like getting a glimpse of being dead. Hell couldnt be much worse.

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@pjs 14

I was under ALOT of stress. Then I didn't sleep and I had psychosis. I was put on zyprexa. I do not know if the anhedonia is from the psychotic breakdown or from the med because I'm on a really low dose. Before anhedonia I was the most loving and compassionate person and had a strong spiritual connection with God. I felt like God guided me through my heart. My kids always said that I lived in the pond of love because I felt so much love for everybody. I believed in love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness. Now there's nothing. I have to believe it's still real but it's like clouds covering the sky. The sun is still there you just can't see it. Love is still there. We just can't experience it so it doesn't seem real anymore. It's hard to contribute to the world when you can't feel love. Just to be able to feel a tinge of love or connection would be heaven. I guess we can still creative positive outcomes for others. You're able to do so much even though you feel like the walking dead. Congratulations on your business and soon to be graduation from college! That's really wonderful you're able to accomplish so much. Are you sure about ECT? Do you suppose it would help?

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Tingles, its funny, many on here seem to have been very loving and compassionate people before anhedonia. I was always prone to sadness. But it was almost a good sadness. Sort of like a quiet comfortable sadness. My heart would break for others, easily. In high school I would always stick up for kids who would get bullied and defend them. I was a confident, popular kid, captain of 2 sports, handsome, class vice president, honor roll student. So "bullies" would listen when I would defend the less confident. Since Ive graduated high school many of my old classmates have reached out to me thanking me for sticking up for them back in those days. In a non cocky way, I liked my personality, the man I was becoming and who I was. Insecurities for sure, but I liked myself and people were comfortable around me.

Here is one reason Ive lost faith in god being real. God is all about promoting love, compassion, generosity, selflessness. In a world where that can be hard to find, why would he allow people that have those qualities and can spread his values, to lose their ability to feel love or compassion. If he was real, I dont think this would happen to anyone. I know bad things happen to people, I get that. Ive always subscribed to the idea that adversity is good. My favorite quote and one I carried around in my wallet used to be "for in fire, gold is tested." But this is different. This isnt adversity. With adversity, you have your heart and soul still. You have your will, hope and faith to fight against it. This is different. Its not even something to fight against, its just, well, nothing. I think life's all a bunch of biological bulls*** and we were unfortunate enough to have some wires cross the wrong way in our brains.

So god, if you are real, thanks for turning a once warm, creative. loving kid whose main goal in life had nothing to do with money or cars, all I ever wanted was to be a loving husband and dad. To me, relationships with loved ones is what life is about. So thanks for taking that away from one of the few people who think that way and arent obsessed with material things. Thanks for turning me into an empty, numb, bitter, cynical shell of a human.

I want to bring change to the world, and be a difference maker but its so hard with this condition, as you all know. We are severely handicapped, yet no one knows it and we still have to act like the normal people. Sorry if this turned into somewhat of a vent.

Tingles, thanks for the kind words. And about ECT, I dont know if it will work, but nothing to lose right? What could possibly happen that is worse than this you know? It seems like it could work, jump starting the brain back to life. I dont think Im a candidate because I "havent tried enough medications for long enough". Ive tried a bunch, just quit on them pretty quick because they make it worse.

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Okay so my understanding is this. There is anticipation of pleasure, and then there is a termination of the pleasure loop. The dopamine spikes potentiate and cause pleasure anticipation, and then there is the reward itself which terminates the process (otherwise the loop just hangs in anticipation and ends up causing anxiety if the anticipation is not satisfied). You can anticipate pleasure while still being anhedonic. I'd say that on the Depressed-anhedonic-Anxious spectrum I am more depressed when I lose motivation and am in that "just sit there" state. When I am anhedonic it is harder to become motivated but I am blunted to the annoying heaviness that comes along with doing things.

I take that back, sometimes when I am so blunted that nothing matters I feel like "what's the point?" and don't do anything. Most of the time I do things anyways - most of them highly ambitious to just bide my time.

I am currently on about 4mg of sertraline. Still no w/d effects or return of anxiety. Focalin is a stimulant similar to methylphenidate (Ritalin). In my experience Ritalin worked for like 2 hours, then caused a crash. It also formed a tolerance quickly, raised heartrate, and seemed to be more trouble than helpful in any way. I really think that elimination of the factors that perpetuate anhedonia and then acceptance and patience are key.

I know someone who was prescribed ADHD medications and was in a blunted state for 2 years, dropped the meds, and got better.

I would also like to mention that I have given Inositol a try after reading that it helps by resensitizing serotonin receptors. I didn't try it long, but for acute exposure it did very little if anything useful, possibly made thinking more fuzzy and possibly made me feel worse (more blunted and irritable - maybe placebo?). Top Ramen had a much bigger anxiolytic effect than inositol (for me anyways).

For me the self-regard and feeling of sadness was a feeling of self-regard and regard/closeness to others which manifested itself in emotional sensitivity. I felt really connected, alive, and good. It was self-soothing. I think that anhedonia is really just failure to terminate the pleasure response properly. The anticipatory spikes fire but without the soothing/termination of the loop. Crying, orgasm, and feeling good are all soothing and seem to be almost the same sort of feeling.

I think there is a sort of distribution of people when it comes to recovery with a peak at 1-3 months recovery time and 80% recovered at like 1 year or 2 and the rest pretty much recovered within 5 years (usually due to polydrug use, stress, or other factors).

Edited by itstrevor
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trapped77; So glad you are experiencing positive results w/ focalinXR.

How long have you been using it and at what dosage? Was it primarily prescribed for ADD, Anhedonia or Depression? Amazing that it is helping in all three areas plus relieving your anxiety as well! I'm thrilled for you...or I would be if I wasn't Anhedonic & so ill w/ all four of these maladies myself. Don't know how much longer I can hang on after a lifetime of pain and decades of trying almost everything SSRI's ruined me.

Do you feel motivation or drive now?

Did you try Focalin IR first or just start w/ XR? I am not familiar w/ Focalin. Please...I would love to know more re/ your symptoms before and your results after taking FocalinXR in detail. Also could you go into more depth re/ how FocalinXR compares to Adderall? Is tolerance w/Focalin an issue?

Your reccomendation of Focalin is the only med I can recall mentioned in this entire thread that has actually had truly positive results on Anhedonia verified.

Did your Dr suggest Focalin to you? Swore I would not try another AntiDepressant med....but I'm ready to make an exception for Focalin. Is it hard to get subscribed?

Please help me/us by continuing to share your success here on this thread. Are you now able to function, get out of bed, clean your home and WORK?

I appreciate your message trapped77. Feel free to personal message me as I don't want to hijack itstrevor's amazing thread.

Wishing you well!

Sincerely; gravity

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Gravity...My journey is amazing in terms of discovery..Focalin is a miracle drug to me..

Check this out

2 years I was trying to figure out what was going on and not knowing what was causing the depression and anxiety was freaking me out..I actually was disappointed when I had a physical and the doctor said I was healthy because I wanted to find out what was wrong so I could fix It.

This may sound strange but I would have rather they found a tumor or dare I say cancer because it would at least gave me a reason for my depression and anxiety and then I could put together a plan of attack on finding a cure..

I am 55 years old now and back when I was in school no one ever heard of ADD back then we were just considered lazy or stupid it's sad but true..

My son has ADD and my brothers son has it as well so genetics plays a roll and when I think back to when I was younger all the impulsive things I did now makes a lot of sense..

I was put on Zoloft and it did work for anxiety but all I wanted to do was sleep and had no motivation or desire to do anything..my doctor kept upping the dose and it made my condition worse.

I got so bad all I wanted to do is sleep and I was convinced I would either die or be in a hospital because I was in such bad shape. I could not leave my house I had developed agoraphobia.I slept all day everyday and hated to wake up.

I started praying in January looking for some answers and god is true to his word because he lead me to the right medication.

The way i discovered focalin is that my son has ADHD and he takes it but his pdoc wanted to up his prescription from 10mg focalin to 15mg so he had these extra pills and yes I did the unthinkable I took one and within 2 hours I actually felt good and after a few days I was actually happy.

I was afraid to tell anyone in fear the pills may wear off and I would be back to square one but they kept on working.

my family members noticed I was smiling and sociable

The following week I met with my pdoc even he noticed a change and I told him about focalin and I wanted to stay on it and he agreed after testing me for adult ADD which is clearly what I had.

Focalin within 2 days made me feel the following

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)


I realize not everyone will feel the same but I guess that is what happens when you get the right medication.

I actually stopped taking the Zoloft and the benzos because i just dont need them and did not experience one side effect and no I am not suggesting anyone to do that but I just didn't need the medication.


Good luck to all and may god bless everyone if you feel like your doctor is not helping you or you have been misdiagnosed find another doctor if they do not want to hear about ADD because it was my therapist who said to me after I told her that I have never read a book because my mind drifts and I cannot remember a sentence she said you probably have ADD and at that moment a light went off. Good luck all and may god bless if anyone has any questions or comments by all means ask !



Focalin is not an antidepressant drug (but it should be) but a very clean almost europhroric stim used for ADD/ADHD without jitter's and all that racy stuff.

It is so good if I had to pay out of pocket which is $400 per month for 15mg twice a day I would find a way to pay for it.

I am so motivated I cat wait to get out of bed in the morning. I listen to music again plus I used to ne a competitive bodybuilder and I quit working out altogether because I did not care. Well I am now back training and may actually do another competition I feel so good.At age 55 I still have a 6 pack and can bench 400 pounds., I also take fish oil vitamins and whey protein plush am a certified personal trainer..

I used to have a busy life and now I can enjoy those things again..Thank you Jesus

Edited by trapped77
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@pjs 14

It takes a very strong, humane and compassionate person to stand up for classmates against bullies. You are to be commended. One of my favorite quotes is by Gandhi "be the change you wish to see in the world". I don't know how to practice that now with anhedonia. I didn't even know that who we are could be taken away. You are so right that there is nothing to fight against. There's nothing to muster in order to get through this like you would in other situations. It's just like you said... well, it's nothing.

I would be interested to hear how your psych appointment goes.

If I could I would send you and everybody else love, hugs and healing.

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Both Ritalin and Provigil combined with Fluoxetine actually reduced anxiety. Fluoxetine + Wellbutrin increased anxiety but did work for social anhedonia. I would blame the norepinephrineRI part of wellbutrin if it wasn't for reboxetine NOT increasing anxiety taken with Fluoxetine.

I don't believe it's that uncommon for psychostimulants to actually decrease anxiety.

Edited by General_Failure
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trapped77;

Thank You so very much for your informative reply. You answered most all my concerns and gave me a bit of...dare I say it...hope?

That's a very big deal......Hope is something I have not felt in decades. In fact, I could barely type the word it scares me so much!

trapped77......b/c of your kind reply I'm going to try Focalin and dare to hope.

Now the challange is getting my MD to give me a prescription to try it!

That and paying for it! $400 per mo is alot, however I've spent much more per month on SSRI's that were worthless so I will bite the bullet again.

I truly wish you the best trapped77! Please DO keep us posted re/ your progress on this med. Some people on an ADD forum speak of a terrible comedown and of becoming very mean, irritable as FocalinXR wears off...especially in children. Do you experience this comedown effect at all? How is your son doing on FocalinXR? Very good, I hope.

Your guidance is greatly appreciated. gravity

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gravity, on 29 Mar 2014 - 11:54 PM, said:

trapped77;

Thank You so very much for your informative reply. You answered most all my concerns and gave me a bit of...dare I say it...hope?

That's a very big deal......Hope is something I have not felt in decades. In fact, I could barely type the word it scares me so much!

trapped77......b/c of your kind reply I'm going to try Focalin and dare to hope.

Now the challange is getting my MD to give me a prescription to try it!

That and paying for it! $400 per mo is alot, however I've spent much more per month on SSRI's that were worthless so I will bite the bullet again.

I truly wish you the best trapped77! Please DO keep us posted re/ your progress on this med. Some people on an ADD forum speak of a terrible comedown and of becoming very mean, irritable as FocalinXR wears off...especially in children. Do you experience this comedown effect at all? How is your son doing on FocalinXR? Very good, I hope.

Your guidance is greatly appreciated. gravity

Gravity, try Focalin it has changed my life I hope it will for you as well...keep me posted and thank you :- ) I take 15mg twice a day and the 15mg tabl t is now available in generic so it is a lot cheaper. Insurance will cover it so I pay a $5.00 co pay for a 1 month supply 60 tabs.

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Okay I am on no sertraline now. I'm not on anything. Now I'm just going to wait. I have no anxiety or depression. I'm hoping the anhedonia will gradually fade.

A quick word about dopaminergics - for me the antianhedonic effect quickly forms a tolerance within a week and leaves me more simulated, but irritable. In many people including myself, it causes problems. Increased anxiety can induce anhedonic symptoms similar to those felt on an SSRI. I use ritalin like maybe one a month as break in small amounts, but chronically, it seems to do more harm than good.

Web ritalin or other simulats kick in, I feel less anxiety and less anhedonic, but after they wear off, negative symptoms are amplified greatly for about 5 times as long as the benefits were felt.

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Dopaminergics are very fun on acute administration because they peak interest and reward anticipation while also potetiating reward and reward salience, but THEY DO QUICKLY FORM A TOLERANCE TO THIS EFFECT. What comes up must come down. If you don't come down the brain compensates with forming a tolerance.

It is fun though while it lasts. Then it's worse than before. I would especially advise against amphetamines

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This is going to be one s***ty waiting game but it's the only thing I really have left to do at this point -.-

It kind of sucks because I meet cute girls and KNOW I like interacting with them but FEEL NUMB and NOTHING. I know getting frustrated just makes me more numb and anxious. It's really difficult to learn how to just "let it happen" and not get those "negative energy spikes."

It has always scared me reading the horror stories of people left like this for years on end. I pray that I do not have the same fate.

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For me the focalin does not crash like you would with a illegal drug high with extreme euphoria and you wanted to absolutely die hence the addiction..

To I take the focalin plus a cup of coffee and within 30 -40 mins I feel good,motivated ambitious slightlu europhoric and a sense of well being. I suffer no anxiety at my mind does not race like it normally does.I can focus on one thing and here is the best parti can read something and have the words come alive..I did notice over the weekend I had a little to much alcohol with it and felt good but maybe alitte too good almost mania..So I have to either not drink or only a little while on it..

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Can I ask for some advice.

Short version: I was with a man who has this. He is a great guy, and we had an amazing relationship. But things started to get serious, and it pushed him to retreat as he wasn't able to handle his mental state that was amplified by the relationship. We broke up 6 weeks ago. Since then he has been in constant contact with me. But I just asked him how he was feeling, and he is still unable to commit to anything as he does not feel well.

So, my question is, is there anything I can do? Staying friends with him without knowing what will be has been hard on me. In other situations I wiould just end it, but is it better that i stay supportive? Is there anything I can do to help him recover?

Thanks!

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Can I ask for some advice.

Short version: I was with a man who has this. He is a great guy, and we had an amazing relationship. But things started to get serious, and it pushed him to retreat as he wasn't able to handle his mental state that was amplified by the relationship. We broke up 6 weeks ago. Since then he has been in constant contact with me. But I just asked him how he was feeling, and he is still unable to commit to anything as he does not feel well.

So, my question is, is there anything I can do? Staying friends with him without knowing what will be has been hard on me. In other situations I wiould just end it, but is it better that i stay supportive? Is there anything I can do to help him recover?

Thanks!

Just be there is all you can do. Offer advice when asked and try not to be judgmental..You sound like a wonderful person being there for someone especially a former partner..

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Well I saw my psych today and told him that I was off my sertraline. He seemed taken back by it and surprised that I could have come off of it without becoming anxious or anything. No withdrawals. No problems. I took it slow and steady and I knew from studies showing that prozac produced less rebound or discontinuation problems than paxil that this was most likely the case.

Now that I have been off of sertraline for a few days I feel highly blunted. My guess is that this is from downregulated receptors. Word of mouth (which isn't always reliable) seems to indicate most people re-regulate receptors in 1-2 months. My doc said the same, but, like all the psychs I've dealt with, is sort of dismissive about the numbness/anhedonia and tells me to "try not to focus on it." I agree, but it is still an important issue.

I guess I should hope for the best and expect the worst.

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Hi everybody,

All my life I've been looking for something that worked for me, but nothing. No supplements or drugs. But when I heard about deplin, researched a bit about, and found MTHFR mutation. I have not done any testing due to the high price, or deplin took that from what I saw and a very high dose and needs other supplements.
So I started taking methylfolate and methylcobalamin. Something finally began to change for me, especially in anxiety, OCD.
I decided to research the supplements for this disturbance, and found a compilation of recommended supplements and dose on average also recommended, Methyl-Guard Plus by Thorne. Feel differences, but not enough, especially in dopamine what I think is my primary problem. Still not spent a month.
Try please search in this area may be to help you. I am still in the baby steps in the matter, and accept advice.

All the best to you guys

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Needhelp4him,

I feel you on this. I have found that it's best not to give advice to the person suffering from anhedonia. Hard as heck not too because you see a loved one suffering but truly best. From what I'm learning, imagine ground hog day, everyday. Nothing changes. Waking up to be greeted by nothing. Looking forward to yup you guessed it, nothing. The only thing that I found helpful for my spouse was to not tell her it's going to be ok. If I'm able to keep her busy with walks or activities. Not judge her. And except that she's not going to be in the mood. :) she does seem to enjoy massages though she is not able to emotionally recognize that. When I kept her busy, she started acting like the person I've always known. Good luck. Anhedonia affects the people around the one suffering thru it greatly. Stay strong, albeit respectful.

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Hi this message is mostly for people who had anhedonia for years or even decade like me (12 years). Those who ha e it for less time may still recover naturally but its not gonna be my case. What do you think about the deep brain stimulation treatment? The current popular dbs treatment doesnt really interest me as it target area 25 (the sad and depressed area) and relieve sadness and severe depression which is not what i have. There is another experimental treatment tho in germany that is very interesting. This treatment is also for depression but in this one they target direcrly the reward system. This treatment is still in early experimental phase but the first study had a stunning 90% success rate over severly treatment resistant depressive. They are now doing the phase 2 studies. I contacted the doctor in charge of the research and he said if all go well the treatment should be approved by 5 years. Here is a link to the results of the first study: http://www3.uni-bonn.de/Press-releases/sensational-success-in-patients-with-major-depression

Some of you may not like the idea of getting an electrode into the brain etc....but honestly my anhedonia is so bad that i would be more than happy to let them open my skull if it could make this anhedonia go away. As for now, this seem to be by far the best treatment possible for anhedonia. I am still wondering tho if this treatment would generate emotions or simply pleasure? Can you feel pleasure without any emotions at all? Whatever it seems to be the best bet for me and a good reason to not off myself. Getting the treatment is another big problem.

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I've had this issue for nearly 4 years now, with some minor improvements of late. Honestly, I don't know that much about the neuroscience behind this stuff and I'm not a therapist, but I think most of you have entirely the wrong attitude towards recovery.

For most this is a stress-induced condition. It makes sense that if you batter your nervous system continuously for an extended period it will become dulled to any further stimulation. Any homeostatic system can only take so much before it lacks the resources to return to its norm. Now if you're constantly trying to flee from this dulled feeling (I need some magic pill! I need to feel again! I need to get on with life like everyone else! etc. etc.) is it any surprise that your anhedonia has become chronic?

You're loading so much more stress onto a system that just can't handle it anymore! This isn't some weird brain-parasite that will only die when you find the right chemical to **** it. It's your body functioning how it's made to function; it's crying out for a break from all the worry but you just won't let it be!

I'm not saying don't take meds or that meds can't relieve this condition. But if you're in the habit of trying to flee from your feelings all the time you may well just negate any positive effect they could have anyway.

Neither am I saying that you just have to resign yourself you a life of numbness, as that's still just adding to the worry. I'm just saying let yourself be! Practice watching your inner state without judging it so negatively. You don't have to become a master of mindfulness or anything like that. Just let go a bit more.

This site has helped me a lot: http://www.anxietynomore.co.uk/ I know many of you will be thinking 'It's not that simple! I know my brain is too messed for so simple a solution.' But do you really know? How do you know? Cos it feels that way? Read what that site has to say. You might be surprised.

Edited by noravank
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You are right, most people have anhedonia because of stress, but not me unfortunately. I got it after taking a sir at 15 for a year and it never went away. Not only that, it also went worse and worse year after year for no reasons at all. Even if my life was alright, like I was active and seeing friends, going to school etc... It was still there all the time and getting worse and worse. What I do in my life has no impact at all on anhedonia and by the way I have no anxiety at all. I am simply completely anhedonic and indifferent. I know my problem has no psychological issues at all, only messed up brain chemistry. I never had anhedonia before ssri not even depression. I was put on ssri for social anxiety and it just screwed up my whole life. I became a completely different person after ssri and I hate this person, this is not me at all. Hence why I'm looking for deep brain stimulation.

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Yeah I acknowledge it can be induced in other ways. But how do you know a change of attitude won't help you? Have you ever tried? You say you have no anxiety, but: 'honestly my anhedonia is so bad that i would be more than happy to let them open my skull if it could make this anhedonia go away' and 'I hate this person, this is not me at all'. If someone else had written those words, would you say they don't have any anxiety? You sound very anxious indeed to me.

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