Anhedonia is defined s a loss of ability to experience pleasure. Short and to the point, this mental problem can lead to very serious effects.
Anhedonia is defined s a loss of ability to experience pleasure. Short and to the point, this mental problem can lead to very serious effects. The inability to enjoy pleasure is often associated with other health problems, including depression. Individuals who suffer from anhedonia often find that their life is œemotionally empty.
There are three variations of anhedonia known to physicians. The first is called motivational anhedonia. In this form, individuals will have a total lack of desire to engage in enjoyable activities. The second form is called consummatory anhedonia, which is characterized by the inability to feel enjoyment after performing the actual activity, which normally would be considered enjoyable. The final form of anhedonia is known as sexual anhedonia. This refers to the situations in which a man or woman reaches an orgasm during sexual activity, yet receives no sense of pleasure.
What is anhedonia?Typical symptoms of anhedonia include: when an individual experiences a perpetual ˜flat mood', they will have little motivation to do things due to a lack of variation in mood; or if there is no sense of gaining any positive rewards for accomplishing tasks, they may experience a loss of sex drive and no longer feel enjoyment from activities they once found enjoyable. There are a number of possible causes for anhedonia, and individuals are typically not born with the problem. Some speculate that anhedonia is a result from social learning in which individuals learned to associate certain experiences with lack of pleasure. An example of this can be that a recovering addict has learned to identify life away from drugs as being without pleasure. Another possible cause is chronic depression, or people who have difficulty processing happiness due to a problem with the brain's reward system. Anhedonia is also known to occur in individuals who suffer from mental disorders such as schizophrenia, post partum depression, bipolar disorder.
For those in recovery, after chronic and long-term substance abuse, anhedonia can be common and dangerous to some degree. In the early stages of recovery, most individuals experience some degree of anhedonia, due to the sudden shock of not abusing a mind-altering substance. This is considered normal; however, when anhedonia persists weeks after completion of a detoxification program, it can become a larger problem. It is well known that many people relapse during or after rehab, returning to their previous addiction or perhaps move on to a new one. Anhedonia can play a major role in relapse, considering that if a person feels absolutely no pleasure during recovery they will not see any point in continuing the program or remaining sober. In extreme cases, their perception of sober life can be much more miserable than their life in addiction. Furthermore, recovering addicts who suffer from persisting anhedonia will have trouble absorbing any information or guidance they receive during or after treatment. Pleasure is a vital component in learning and growing after rehab, the lack of pleasure can act as a negative reinforcement towards completing rehabilitation and a positive one towards relapsing.
In some cases persisting anhedonia in recovering addicts may be an early warning sign of an underlying mental illness which will necessitate a dual diagnosis during rehabilitation treatment. The best way to deal with anhedonia is to provide knowledge on the disorder. It is important for individuals to understand that they will not feel the total lack in pleasure forever. It may be that taking antidepressants can help an individual suffering from anhedonia. Medical advice is an important step in dealing with and getting beyond anhedonia. It's also true that regular physical activity can help regain the sense of pleasure, such as exercising for stress relief.
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