It’s not normal to avoid doing things we love, like getting together with our closest friends or doing our best in our studies or jobs. Most of us go back to being ourselves once everything has been resolved. But, people suffering from anhedonia — the incapacity to experience pleasure — are unable to do so. It also applies to those experiencing apathy. They lack the desire to do something or don’t care about the world around them.
Both apathy and anhedonia are typically (but not always) signs of depression and other mental health conditions. If you find the above explanations relatable and are wondering how to get rid of these feelings, keep reading!
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What is Anhedonia?
Most individuals anticipate certain aspects of life will bring them happiness. Perhaps you prefer holding someone’s hand, riding your bike, and taking in the sounds of the ocean. However, anhedonic people are unable to experience joy from the things that used to bring them happiness. Those persons have diminished interest in past hobbies and lower capacity for pleasure.
Anhedonia VS Apathy: Are They Same?
Anhedonia is distinct from apathy in that whereas apathy relates to a lack of drive or energy investment on multiple levels, anhedonia is the lack of a specific feeling: pleasure. But it may also be a sign of indifference. A person may suffer both apathy and anhedonia at the same time.
An apathetic person lacks interest in several facets of life, such as routine daily activities and social interactions. Although it is frequently observed in varying degrees in healthy individuals, it is also a sign of certain mental health problems, including depression.
What You Should Pay Attention to
The symptoms of apathy or anhedonia are obvious; even a friend or relative may comment that you don’t seem as interested or engaged as you once did. The following symptoms are used to characterize anhedonia and apathy:
- Social withdrawal
- A decline in interest in previous hobbies
- Daily activities are less enjoyable
- An inability to do everyday tasks due to lack of energy or effort
- Relationship problems or a lack of relationships
- Lack of interest in physical intimacy or a loss of libido
- Planning your activities based on other people’s suggestions only
- Lack of the desire to experience new things, interact with new people, or learn new things
- Putting your problems aside
- The inability to feel emotions when good or bad things happen to you
Consult a doctor after completing the free ADHD assessment online to evaluate your symptoms.
Types of Anhedonia and Apathy
There are various frequently discussed forms of anhedonia and apathy. Mentioned below are the main categories of both.
What Causes Them?
Increased anhedonia or apathy can be caused by procrastination and poor motivation, while these issues may also result from changes in brain chemistry. Several medical illnesses can cause apathy and anhedonia, including the following:
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How to Treat Anhedonia and Apathy?
Both symptoms can be managed in different ways, depending on what’s causing them. Changes in lifestyle and self-care practices may help people manage their overall feelings of apathy, but symptoms brought on by underlying medical or psychological issues require the attention of a healthcare professional. This may entail medicine, psychotherapy, or a mix of the two for various diseases.
When anhedonia or apathy is linked to a disorder like depression or anxiety, your doctor might advise psychotherapy. One method for addressing the underlying beliefs and actions that might lead to feelings of apathy and low motivation is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
There are currently no drugs expressly approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of anhedonia or apathy. However, certain apathetic disorders are manageable with medication. Depending on the most likely reason for your continued indifference, your doctor or psychiatrist will advise a particular drug. Several options include:
Apathy and anhedonia are typically fleeting and may appear and disappear occasionally. The following personality or routine modifications may be quite successful in the long run:
- Sleep sufficiently
- Reduce psychological stress
- Exercise daily
- Limit the use of electronic devices
- Replace negative thoughts with neutral ones
- Keep a gratitude journal daily
- Try doing something you once enjoyed
The Bottom Line
If you have anhedonia or apathy, you should try to participate more in activities that increase your levels of the feel-good chemical dopamine. The symptoms of anhedonia may improve if the underlying cause of the disorder is addressed. With the support of a mental health professional, anhedonia is not necessarily a lifelong condition.