In short, anhedonia is the inability to experience pleasure during activities that you used to enjoy. Meaning that if you used to LOVE snowboarding, but now it just seems like too much work, and even when you get up on the hill you just wish you could go back to bed.
Anhedonia is a big loss in our life. I mean it can feel like we can’t enjoy anything anymore.. Food could lose its taste or just seem bland, it could rob us of our social life, or even enjoying sex.
It can be part of many mental illnesses even though we mainly hear it talked about with regard to Major Depressive Disorder (it can be part of schizophrenia, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, BPD, etc). It can also harm our relationships because if nothing seems enjoyable, we can be hard to be around, or not up for as much as we used to be
Why does it happen: Dopamine is what makes us feel good. It’s responsible for attention, movement regulation, and our emotional responses. Lower levels of dopamine in specific parts of our our brain has been connected to anhedonia. They have also connected lower levels of serotonin and GABA to anhedonia as well. We also know that feelings of joy, excitement, and reward come from specific parts of our brain. These parts are called the Mesolimbic Dopamine Pathway and the Mesocortical Pathway. It involves various parts of our brain, like the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and many more. So if there are any abnormalities to these parts of our brain they could be causing our anhedonia, or are at least one part of this very complex problem.
I’m Kati Morton, a licensed therapist making Mental Health videos!
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